Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

ZARA needs our help



Sad but true.  The NGO ZARA (Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus Arbeit), which is famous for its fight against racism in Austria, is also fighting for its survival.

The org just celebrated its 10th anniversary last month. Unfortunately, the 1000 or more people who attended the party couldn’t save the org as 200 people supporting members are missing. There’s also lack of donations coming in. Due to lack of funds several projects have been turned down or simply cancelled.

Can we blame it on the recent financial crisis where many workers either lost their jobs or businesspeople losing faith in the economy. For many of us who earn the minimum wage it is pretty hard to part our hard-earned money. But somehow it is strange and dreadful to think that the Austrian government tried to save banks and reluctant to punish large firms that made a fool out of the people. Non-government organisations like ZARA and co. don’t receive any penny nor other means of support from the establishment except from the Greens and the socialists and other groups and individuals that promote the same ideals like ZARA. Because of the org’s mission to eradicate racism and help the victims of racist attacks in the country, the conservative politicians don’t see it as useful to their aims.

A huge bulk of ZARA staff is made up of volunteers. If we want ZARA to continue its work we must help the org to survive. If not now, then when? Or else it would be all too late.

Paraflows 2009 / Check it out

paraflows 09 – Festival for Digital Art and Cultures
10. – 20. September 2009

The city of Vienna has a long tradition of interventions and actions in the public space. With this year’s topic URBAN HACKING, the fourth paraflows festival continues this artistic investigation of the public and urban space of living. What is more, paraflows 09 will shed light on the role played by digital media when it comes to exploring, questioning, and shaping the urban infrastructure.


Symposium URBAN HACKING: Cultural Jamming Strategies in the Risky Spaces of Modernity
Paraflows at Metalab

And yesterday happend a really great MP3 experiment… check out the full recording

Michael Jackson tribute event in Vienna: Cancelled!

Michael Jackson tribute is not going to happen in Vienna

MJ tribute is not going to happen in Vienna and he probably wouldn't care

I pity all those guys who bought tickets, which cost from 63 to 518 euros, to see the Michael Jackson tribute in Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna. After it was announced, big names in music biz started to came up. Madonna, U2, Stevie Wonder. Guess what? It won’t happen anytime soon.

On Tuesday the producer George Kindel and Jermaine Jackson initially presented “some of the artists” (13 so far). Michael’s brother and initiator, Jermaine, felt insulted that the Austrian media dubbed these artists as B-listers. On the other hand, Mr. Kindel claimed that he and his business partner didn’t name any names and it was the Austrian media that invented the famous musicians. Grammy winner Mary J. Blige huge in Vienna? In the US, perhaps. And Chris Brown? Isn’t this guy in trouble now after he has been accused of punching his girlfriend Rihanna a few months ago? Natalie Cole found the whole thing iffy.

In fact, it is indeed iffy. On the first day it was conceptualised, commerce and pure marketing were clearly plastered on this event. It was a vehicle for Michael’s brother and some people to make money. It was not love and respect that drove them to do this. And I wonder why Vienna? “Michael loves castles and his music is majestic” was the reason they gave. And I thought of massice traffic, and thousands of promotion for the city. But does Vienna really need this?

It turns out it is already cancelled. The place might not be anymore in Vienna, but Jermaine determined to push it through in London: “We will hold the concert in the city that he himself chose for his comeback concerts but, due to his tragic death, he was not able to do.”

Vice Mayor Renate Brauner pledged to finance the event 600,000 euros, yes, that’s your and my money. Though today she and her people from the Wiener Tourismus stated that not a single cent flowed into the event.

Are you disappointed that the MJ tribute is not going to transpire in Vienna on Sept. 26?

Chain of Lights or Lichterkette

Lichterkette am 18 Juni, 19 Uhr

Lichterkette am 18 Juni, 19 Uhr

If you live in Vienna, or if you happen to be in the city on June 18, perhaps you would like to drop by and join. There will be a protest against the growing problem of racist activities in the city, or Austria, for that matter–from the politics, the media and the society.

Two students initiated this event. From their website, it says:

Austria 2009: Election campaigns with rabble-rousing posters at every turn.
Selective misinformation by political parties and several media. Extrem right-wing fraternity members in important functions and institutions.Assaults on victims of concentration camps… all this is ordinary
… Ordinary? It doesn’t help to worry about.
We don’t think that contempt for mankind and discrimination would be ordinary. Let us point the way:
PRO respectful coexistence
PRO humane treatment for all
PRO joy at diversity instead of isolation in simplicity
PRO civil courage instead of averting our eyes
PRO fair discussion instead of mendacious propaganda
with a PROtest campaign followed by a chain of lights round the parliament on
June 18th at 7 p.m. There will be a programme with music groups and speeches, followed by the encirclement of the parliament. We will provide torches.

If you have a Facebook account, visit their Events page and be counted as one of the protesters.

Bier und das MQ

Wir wollen eine Bring-Your-Own-Beer Trinkaktion im Hof des Museumsquartiers
veranstalten. Dazu müssen wir Leute und die Presse mobilisieren.

­ ORT/ZEIT: Samstag, 20. Juni 2009, 18.00-18.05 Uhr. Innenhof des
Museumsquartiers (Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Wien).

­ VORGEHENSWEISE: Ab 18 Uhr wird 5 Minuten lang während des Trinkens
regelmäßig laut zugeprostet!

­ ZIELGRUPPE: Alle, die ein Interesse daran haben, ihre mitgebrachten
Getränke weiterhin im MQ trinken zu dürfen.

­ GRUND: Das MQ ist ein öffentlicher Platz und wird mit unseren
Steuergeldern finanziert, im Jahr 2005 mit ca. 11 Mio. Euro. Wir sehen
nicht ein, wieso wir dazu gezwungen werden sollten, das Bier vor Ort zu

Es haben sich schon mindestens 2 facebook-gruppen gegründet und es gibt ein
geplantes protestereignis:

Just another victim

As the story of Mike Brennan unfolds, which I am pretty sure you know very well by now, I have the strangest feeling that if you are  a foreigner in this country who is not from the USA, the UK, etc.,  you are f*cked. Seriously.

Just by looking at the number of victims before Mr. Brennan, they shared the same thing–they were all black and all of them came from Africa. Their voices were too low for the whole society to hear. Though Mr. Brennan’s case has created a buzz surrounding this awful incident, the Viennese Police’s “apology” is half-hearted.

The simple question “Is there racism in Viennese Police” from last week’s “Club 2” was left unanswered by the head of the police. Instead we heard propaganda and beating-around-the bush declarations that they are doing their best to combat it. True, they are doing their job but why they cannot accept is that there are bad apples in the force and somehow racism exists in the structure.

Someone told me I would have a difficulty if I were an African woman. Hearing it was not easy to digest but I understood where he was coming from.  I believed him. It is not easy to be a black person in Austria. It is not easy to be a black person in the US. It is not easy to be a black person in Asia.

But over the years, I’ve been seeing a pattern on how Blacks and Latinos are portrayed in the world of videogames and Japanese animation.

The pattern that I had noticed where how Blacks were portrayed and it carried onto other fighting games. Blacks were usually portrayed as brainless boxers and wrestlers. To add a bit of diversity there were Blacks portrayed as kickboxers and capioerists. But that got pretty old after awhile, yet the Japanese still continued to portray Blacks in that fashion. That was how they stereotyped Blacks.

And if we believe the Biber article that came out weeks ago, the blacks belong at the bottom  of the ethnic hierarchy of Ausländer in Vienna.

Wieder mal die beliebte „Neger raus“-Schmiererei in der U-Bahn entdeckt? Wenn ja,  muss der „Autor“ dieser Kritzelei nicht unbedingt ein „echter“ Österreicher sein. Bei den Jugos und Türken sind die Schwarzen in der „ethnischen Hierarchie“ ganz unten angesiedelt. „Der Schwarze“ lebt ohne Papiere hier, Asylstatus abgelaufen. Er dealt mit Drogen aller Art, am Urban Loritz Platz, vorm Flex und am Karlsplatz. Sonst sitzt ist er mit seiner Gang im Volksgarten, raucht einen Ofen und macht fette Schwaboweiber an. Aufenthaltsvisum gegen Riesenschwanz, da kriegt jeder was er will.

Could it happen to Barack Obama too? Haderer has the answer. (Link via Biber)

Police brutality and Barack Obama

The Mustache (Part 3)

He is back!

He is back!

Seen along the Margaretengürtel, Fifth District, the last of the series. The Jörgi is back. He has promised he would only go to Vienna if the Austrians made him their chancellor. Your choice.

Tomorrow is Election Day. So go out and vote my dear Austrian friends.

Trevor Paglen: state secrets, covert military bases, disappeared people

Trevor Paglen will give a lecture performance on Monday (8 PM) at Metalab (Rathausstraße 6). It’s part of the Paraflows festival.

Trevor Paglen is geographer and artist and he takes us on a road trip through the world of hidden budgets, state secrets, covert military bases, and disappeared people: through a landscape that military and intelligence insiders call the “black world.” Over the course of his talk, Paglen leads us from “non-existent” Air Force and CIA installations in the Nevada desert to secret prisons in Afghanistan and to a collection of even more obscure “black sites” startlingly close to home. Using hundreds of images he has produced and collected over the course of his work, Paglen shows how the black world’s internal contradictions give rise to a peculiar visual, aesthetic, and epistemological grammar with which to think about the contemporary moment.

More info:
Trevor Paglen’s homepage

Doctor, doctor, I am sick

Doctor, doctor I am sickLike what they announced, and what I have heard from my general practitioner’s recorded message, there’s no Ordination tomorrow. Almost 15,000 doctors will join the nationwide protest.

I don’t feel well. Wonder why I am blogging for the heck of it. But I don’t have to talk nor go anywhere today so… Nevertheless, it is not the good time to fall sick tomorrow.

So chin up there’s always the next day.

Doctors’ demo (link in German)

Integration on Tour

All right. So the Innsbruck tour was not that successful. Overshadowed with the agonising story of the Albanian-Kosovar Arigona Zogaj and her deported family and the protesters asking the way Günther Platter, the Interior Minister, handled the case(s) of well-integrated immigrants (illegal or not, refugee or otherwise), the ministry’s project “Integration on Tour” will be in Vienna starting tomorrow until May 29, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Started in April, the program aims to bring the ministry closer to the migrants. The Wanderaustellung travelled all the way from Bregenz and since then in different 25 stations. Last stop will be in Wien.

Part-public relations, part-information dissemination, I am still pondering its usefulness to me as a foreigner living in Austria. But I will be there just the same.

This is to complement the release of the yearly report on immigration and the bad press the ministry has received. The motto is “Gemeinsam kommen wir zusammen,” an idea to make the integration for foreigners and natives easier.

But as well know, integration is a two-way street. There’s more to blah-blah and press releases.

Vom 26. bis 29. Mai wird die Ausstellung von 9:00 bis 18:00 Uhr in Wien Station machen. Um 10:00 Uhr gibt es eine offizielle Begrüßung bei der Vertreter/innen aus dem Politik- und Sozialbereich vor ort sein und über ihre Erfahrungen zu den Themen Integration und Migration berichten werden. Miriam Hie vom ORF wird die Tour moderieren. Wir würden uns freuen, wenn Sie uns bei der Wanderausstellung besuchen.

Die Termine für Wien:

26. Mai 1100 Wien, Columbusplatz

27. Mai 1150 Wien, Stadthalle

28. Mai 1160 Wien, Brunnenmarkt (Brunnengasse 68)

29. Mai 1220 Wien, Donauzentrum

Die Wanderausstellung informiert über die wichtigsten Zahlen und Fakten zum Thema Zuwanderung in Österreich:

– Wie hoch ist der Ausländeranteil? Wie hat er sich entwickelt?

– Wie schaut es in meinem Bundesland aus?

– Woher kommen die Zuwanderer und warum?

– Wie sieht die religiöse Vielfalt in Österreich aus?

– Was für Integrationsherausforderungen gibt es zu den Themen Bildung, Sprache, Arbeitsmarkt und Wohnen?

– Welche wichtige Rolle spielt die Gemeinde bei der Integration von Zuwanderern?

– Was können wir tun, damit ein friedvolles Zusammenleben in Österreich möglich ist und bleibt?

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