Mittwoch, November 29, 2006


swing it baby

The big hit, the number one demand at my local children parliament is the “korbschaukel” a swing that is essentially a basket. All kids seem to want it, and the ordinary swings that I used to swing on as a child seem to be totally uncool. So see this as a tribute to the new generations of swingers.

Dienstag, November 28, 2006


never forget

The term "euthanasia" (literally, "good death") usually refers to the inducement of a painless death for a chronically or terminally ill individual. In Nazi usage, however, "euthanasia" was a euphemistic term for a clandestine program that targeted for systematic killing institutionalized mentally and physically disabled patients or those who supposedly have ill genetic heritage, without the knowledge or consent of themselves or their families. Children with disabilities or diagnosed as idiots (some of them even healthy but bedraggled), brought to Vienna’s “Otto Wagner Hospital” am Spiegelgrung, a specially designated paediatric clinic, were murdered by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation. Some 800 infants, toddlers, and juveniles are estimated to have been killed between 1940 and 1945. The deaths of hundreds of Spiegelgrund children were accelerated through lack of food and neglect. The drugs they received sometimes helped to bring on fatal pneumonia - which could then be registered as "death from natural causes". Today I attended the annual commemoration ceremony where letters of parents were read, who wanted to get their children out of the hospital again; of children that wrote to their parents and clinical records of the victims. After the children were killed, body parts such as their limps, but mainly their brains were kept for scientific purposes; their remains were only buried in 2002.
It is really hard to put my speechlessness into words.
Find out more about it here

Donnerstag, November 23, 2006



Don't need the sun to shine
To make me smile
Don't care if it's dark outside
And though the rain may fall
No I won't care at all
Don't need a rocket man
To help me touch the sky
I don't need to fly a plane
To get this high
Don't need the sun to shine
To make me smile

Mittwoch, November 22, 2006


benedict XVI

Pope Benedict is considering whether to allow Catholics to wear a condom to protect themselves from AIDS. A study was carried out on the use of condoms, both from the scientific as well as the moral point of view. Vatican experts say the study is seen as a potential opening towards the use of condoms, which are strictly forbidden under current church rules.

The United Nations released its annual report on the spread of the disease on Tuesday. It said AIDS is spreading with worrisome signs of resurgence in some countries that were trumpeted as successes in combating it. But the prevalence of HIV among young people has declined in eight African countries, showing that prevention efforts can work.

An estimated 39.5 million people are now living with HIV, the report said. Of that total 4.3 million became infected this year. There have been 2.9 million AIDS deaths in 2006, the highest number reported in any year. The comparable figures in 2004 were 36.9 million living with HIV, 3.9 million new infections and 2.7 million deaths.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, infection rates have risen by more than 50 per cent since 2004. The number of new infections in the US has remained stable at 40,000. In China, official media reported that HIV/AIDS cases have grown by nearly 30 per cent this year.

Maybe it would indeed be time for the Catholic Church to get real.

Dienstag, November 21, 2006



This is a tribute to the boys. The boys I spent my Sunday night with. We started off with really bad M-TV dating shows, climbed via you tube into the olymp of David Hasselhoffs pop songs and then…. There we were… the mood, the late night, the sugar overdose. We were singing along Disney musicals. “Mary Poppins” (my personal favourite), “Sound of Music” (yes, I have a faible for Julie Andrews). We also did “Pete’s Dragon”, “Bedknobs and broomsticks”, “Chitty chitty bang bang” (Dick Van Dyke might be my true early childhood love!) and ended up with the “little shop of horrors”… to quote Vallie Frankie “Oh, what a night. Why'd it take so long to see the light? Seemed so wrong, but now it seems so right.“


alla olika alla lika

I have finally been to Stockholm. So far I have been in Sweden several times and weeks, to Lund, Malmö, Göteborg, Skelleftea, Lulea, Bommersvik but never to Stockholm. Now, finally I made it. I was invited by LSU, the Swedish youth council to take part in their launch activity for the Swedish “all different – all equal” campaign. It was in an arty little café on the waterfront, with really good jazz music and some good dancing for the evening. The most fascinating thing for me – being Austrian, having seen a right-wing conservative government for the last 6 years, was the Youth minister who spoke at the event. Nyamko Sabuni, 37, Sweden’s new integration and equality minister, came to Sweden with the age of 12 fleeing from Burundi together with her father, a political dissident who was in prison much of her early childhood. She is a black Muslima who was already active in 1995 in the first „all different – all equal“ campaign. A centre-right government in Austria would never ever have such a young, strong and opinionated person that is not even born in Austria as a minister. But not enough, she is really powerful and unconventional – she said on a TV interview “I’m in politics, the ultimate aim has to be to become prime minister.” Not many dare to say the truth so openly!


lessons to learn

I learned about housing projects with elective affinity, that make sure older people do not get lonely and single parents have the chance to have good family-like care of their kids - but voluntarily. Back to the commune!
I was reminded of the different sleeping rhythms of parents and kids. When the kids are young they get up at 6am when every person on the whole wired world still wants to sleep. But parents do not forget these days, once their children are teens or even older, they take revenge and wake them up every morning – to go to school or on weekends to have family breakfast! Evil.
I was explained that divorce is probably more difficult for a child then not having a second parent from the beginning on. Nothing there to miss.
I thought of how spoiled I was by not having a sibling for the first 9 years of my life.
I also found out that my tether is getting stronger and longer and I am not so quickly at its end, especially compared with mothers’… oi … scary, some stressed mums’.
I learned how to watch TV to get smarter (-which just confirmed that me watching sesame street, 1-2 oder 3, Löwenzahn and Sendung mit der Maus was really usefull)
I discovered that the up-to-date pet is the praying mantis.
And in the end I was introduced to a research on hungry man finding chubby women more attractive then man who have had enough food.
All in all I can say I had a really salutary weekend!

Samstag, November 18, 2006



thrown into a state of agitated confusion

Donnerstag, November 16, 2006


twin city

I have finally really been in Bratislava.
Welcomed by friends I got to speak at a conference organised by the National Youth Council (RMS) on Non-formal Education. Slovakia is about to decide on new legislation on life long learning, so RMS invited all kinds of stakeholders to their conference and about 100 youth workers, people from the National Agency, teachers and professors came. So I guess this was quite a success.
But the even better part of my visit in Slovakia was the guided tour on the castle and through the old town by friends. I really enjoyed to get a better idea about what Vienna’s twin city is like.

Montag, November 13, 2006


Closing of YFJ General Assembly

First of all let me express my sincere thanks to you all, for the trust you have shown in electing me President of this organisation and for your continuing support and belief in the European Youth Forum. It is an honour and a privilege to work for you and with you, and I hope to be able to repay the trust you have shown with honest and open leadership.

There is something about Europe that moves me – this continent, which is at once grand, solemn and sentimental. When recalling the idealism and faith shown by the founders of the European project, and their vision of a peaceful Europe, I know that today – almost 50 years after the treaties of Rome - this is not enough to justify the EU to our generation and those even younger: we are living in different times. I know, too, that an appeal to sentiment is an unsatisfactory basis on which to solve the practical, contemporary challenges Europe faces.

Today, headlines and news seem to be filled with talk about the prevention of tensions between cultures and the “war on terror”. Frankly, this fear driven debate worries many young people.

Moreover, when we hear about the “war on terror”, or the “war on drugs” for example, it almost sounds as if some decision makers actually think that war is something good and positive. But did any of you start working in a youth organisation or as a volunteer to be part of a war?

While young people are often seen as those most susceptible to influence and of having their opinions and ideas swayed by trends, it is we, in fact, that can provide a sense of stability and cling to a long-held vision of peace and cooperation. We are the ones that have already understood that the diverse identities of Europe’s citizens are an asset for our future and are key to our continent seizing the opportunities offered by the processes of globalisation.

We have to question the trends that position the fight against terrorism as a legitimate reason to commit Human Rights violations and why current public debate seems to have forgotten that peace and human rights are values worth striving for. We have to question why we are letting fear and insecurity deepen division and exploit our differences.

Peace, in itself, will not remove the pain of torture, is of little help to someone who is dying of hunger or cold, and may not comfort those who have lost everything because of senseless deforestation. It, peace can only last where human rights are respected, where people have enough to eat, where they have a roof under which to live, and where freedom and liberty reign.

Poverty is still the greatest polluter of humanity. Our generation has developed an understanding that poverty is an outrageous violation of human rights; and that the solution is a global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals are ambitious, but they are not unreachable. There is an urgent need for a renewed commitment from political leaders and a real commitment for the full and effective involvement of civil society in the decision-making that will affect us.

Social justice will only be reached when governments and institutions set a concrete agenda for creating a fair and equal society where everyone matters; an agenda that sets its basis on equal access to resources, goods and services, where a stable relationship between economy, human rights and environment is reached.

Europe today needs to reconnect its priorities and pre-occupations with the challenges its people face; and policy answers to these challenges must be determined. Establishing lasting peace and combating poverty and unemployment demand an emphasis on education and cooperation, and we must remain cognisant that these will not be easy tasks; whatever solutions we come up with will require consensus among groups with divergent interests. That means everybody has to contribute, and this is why, in the interest of all European youth, the work of each of us, individually and collectively, is so fundamental for the achievement of these goals.

Through times of genuine change in the European and global sphere, the Youth Forum - now 10 years old – has proved to be resilient and is building cooperation in the face of division. As of tomorrow, we are 95 Member Organisations and over the last two years, have seen more then 130 people elected or appointed for different working structures of the organisation. With such strength we must not be bystanders, but be actors at the forefront of social change.

By virtue of this strength, and of our diverse membership and resources, the Youth Forum is a very privileged organisation, and this privilege places a large responsibility on the new leadership of the organisation. Asking the right questions and scrutinizing systems and procedures to ensure accurate and efficient results in implementing our aims is indispensable. Many of you have done just that during this GA, reminding us, for example, of the urgent work that needs to be done in the field of gender equality, calling for greater political analysis of our own work, or for better communication of the motivations behind decisions that have been made.

You have also adopted strategic priorities and a work plan and the new bureau will lead the implementation of these plans at your service. It is a great honour for me to work with the newly elected bureau on this, as I wholeheartedly believe that the new priority work areas will help us to mobilise our resources in the best possible manner whilst still upholding the character of a diverse youth platform.

Whilst we have to remain conscious that this is just a starting point to realising the vision and ambitions at the centre of the strategic development, fortunately there is no need for us to reinvent the wheel. The outgoing Bureau has done a great deal of work that we must now consolidate and follow up on, and as a new leadership, we must recognise the legacy that we have been left, as we move forward. Allow me now to thank all the Bureau members for their hard work over the last two years. While difficult at times, it has also been fun and happily, I can genuinely say that I learned a lot from each and every one of you.

Let me close with the words of the civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman:
It's time for greatness -- not for greed.
It's a time for idealism -- not ideology.
It is a time not just for compassionate words, but for compassionate action.

Mittwoch, November 08, 2006


new try

this time - because of numerous popular request: new words with descriptions

1. to curry favor; behave obsequiously.
2. to seek favors from (a person) in an obsequious manner; fawn over.
3. Also, brown-noser. a toady; sycophant.

affected or produced by effort; not natural or spontaneous; forced: strained hospitality.

1. the act of scintillating; sparkling.
2. a spark or flash.
3. Astronomy. the twinkling or tremulous effect of the light of the stars.
4. Meteorology. any small-scale twinkling or shimmering of objects that are viewed through the atmosphere, caused by an interception of the observer's line of view by inhomogeneities in the atmospheric refractive index.
5. Physics.
a. a flash of light from the ionization of a phosphor struck by an energetic photon or particle.
b. random fluctuation of the amplitude, phase, or polarization of an electromagnetic wave.
6. (on a radar display) a slight, rapid shifting of a spot of light or the image of an object about its mean position.

1. to inspire or possess with a foolish or unreasoning passion, as of love.
2. to affect with folly; make foolish or fatuous.
3. infatuated.
4. a person who is infatuated.

Freitag, November 03, 2006


new words

Perceptive, scrawny, rancour, emulate

Donnerstag, November 02, 2006


the mosque

A couple of days ago I was in a mosque with a community project. The aim of the meeting was better cooperation between social work, city administration and the Muslims active in the mosque and around which largely have a Turkish origin and migrant background.
It was my first time ever in a mosque, which had funny side effects such as the unexpected taking off of my shoes (which was no problem at all, but I had no shoehorn and almost did not get back into them again).
So we sat down together discussing urgently needed social measure such as literacy courses for women, basic German courses for adults, the joint use of the youth centres Internet café (adults and unemployed on weekdays in the mornings, youth after school and weekends) and such things. We set up a pool of translators for school – parent interaction, which is difficult enough as almost no teachers speak Turkish and many parents do not yet speak sufficient German. All of these things small and hardly surprising measures and projects. But there was one thing that did surprise me. There was a strong request to install an insolvent and delinquent debtor counselling and support service. My initial thought was – clear: poor work conditions, big families – no surprise that there are debts. But the problem raised at the meeting did go beyond this. Many people who do not speak German and who are unemployed do spend a lot of their time in betting shops. Those betting shops have the lowest prices for drinks and – you do not need to understand German in order to bet – and to loose money. So there will be a network created between a creditor rights and support organisation, the diversity and integration department of the city and the mosque as interlocutor to this specific groups of debtors. As we say in Austria “druchs red’n kumman d’leit zom” vague translation: “trough talking people get together”.

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