Josef S. was sentenced yesterday by the Vienna Criminal Court to a prison sentence of one year (eight months of which are conditional on a three-year probation) for breach of peace (as ringleader), attempted aggravated assault and aggravated criminal property damage. [Update: The verdict is not final and may be appealed.] The prosecution against Josef was an attack on the rights of free speech and free assembly. His conviction is a disgusting perversion of law and justice. Continue reading
Ten years ago, I returned from my student exchange year in Texas. When I got out of the plane in Vienna, I had lost a lot of weight compared to the time I boarded my US-bound plane a year earlier (this is very unusual for exchange students – especially those in the USA). Immediately after my arrival, my family and I went on a two-week holiday in southern France. There, I drank up to nine liters of water or juice a day and went to the bathroom accordingly often. I ate loads of food but still lost weight. I was tired, quiet and glum. Reading books was hard because my eyesight was strangely distorted.
After our return home, we called my uncle, a doctor. He told us to go to the hospital immediately.
Note: Many sources and links in this article are in German. These are marked with [DE].
Xenophobes march through Vienna
On 17 May 2014, the parafascist “Identitäre” movement staged a demonstration[DE] in Vienna. The group advocates xenophobia, race- and faith-based policy[DE], ethnic cleansing[DE] and a “return to traditional, Christian European values”[DE]. Up to 200 people from Austria with support from France, Germany and Hungary marched through town to wave their flags and disseminate their hate speech. It was the first significant right-wing demonstration in Vienna in years[DE]. Among others, Ludwig Reinthaler attended, a Neo-Nazi from Upper Austria whose political party was barred from participating in elections due to the imminent danger of re-engaging Naziism[DE].
Several organizations more or less from the political left (among them the University of Vienna Student Union) sought to block the Identäre march to demonstrate that they are not tolerated here. That strategy had been successful before in Germany, where even the President of Parliament participated[DE] in a sit-in to block a Nazi demonstration.
Vice News provides a very brief summary in this video:
Police collaborates with Identitäre
The Vienna police made all efforts to enable the Identitäre to carry out their march. Under the guise of enabling the Identitäre’s legal demonstration, the police guided them around the counter-protesters. When the pressure from the counter-protest increased, one police officer told the Identitäre “Friends, it’s getting tight. […] I suggest we go to the subway and end this.” (My translation from the original German quote[DE]; emphasis added.)
At some point, the police seized a banner from the counter-protesters. The Identitäre posed with this banner a few hours later, without any explanation how they got hold of this confiscated banner.
At the end of January 2014, my girlfriend and I traveled to Israel, primarily to see Jerusalem. It was a great trip full of inspirations and great impressions. The following are some of the photos I shot there.
All were taken with my Hasselblad 500 C/M (with an 80mm, 150mm or 250mm lens) or Hasselblad SWC and on Kodak Ektar, Kodak Portra 400, Ilford HP5 400 or Ilford SFX 200.
I would like to single out the Kodak Ektar, which has become my favorite film to shoot by far. Its crisp clarity and lifelike, yet still vivid colors are simply amazing.
Smartphones are almost ubiquitous today and have replaced the traditional stopwatches as timekeeping devices for many debaters around the world.
Most smartphones have a stopwatch built in, but Chuan-Zheng Lee of New Zealand wrote Debatekeeper, a very useful app for Android phones which makes timing debates easier and more convenient for judges, timekeepers and speakers.
The program currently includes the British Parliamentary format as well as several other parliamentary debating formats. One great feature about Debatekeeper is its extensibility. It is trivially easy to use additional debate formats by writing a short and simple XML file and putting it on your phone.
With a view to the upcoming German-Language Debating Championship (2013-05-30 to 2013-06-02 in Munich), I wrote a file to use the Open Parliamentary format in Debatekeeper. Open Parliamentary Debate is an indigenous German format based on BP and invented by debaters of Streitkultur Tübingen. Its most notable features include two teams with three speakers each and three “Nonaligned Speakers” who get to speak for 3.5 minutes before the Whip speakers and may chose to represent either the Government or Opposition side.
You can now download the Debatekeeper OPD file. I also wrote a file with all human-readable text in German. Installation on your phone is easy (the following description was copied from Chuan-Zheng’s site):
You should create a directory called debatekeeper on (the root directory of) your phone, and place the XML file in there. It must have the file extension .xml. If you give your file the same name as one of the built-in styles, then your custom file will override the built-in style. Otherwise, Debatekeeper will just add it to the list.
Many leftist individuals and groups like to use the acronym ACAB as a slogan. It stands for “All Cops Are Bastards” and, obviously, expresses disdain for the police. Similarly, purported pacifists and anti-militarists use the slogan “Soldiers Are Murderers” (which appears to be more common in German-speaking countries).
Both slogans are strong, generalized statements. As such, they label an entire group of people and, by their internal logic, do not allow for any exceptions. This is the basic reason why these and similar slogans are not just factually wrong, but actually advance goals counter to those of the people most commonly using the slogans.
I recently heard the following:
Antizionism after Auschwitz is, necessarily, antisemitism.
It got me thinking about a question which, I believe, influences many discussions on the Shoa (Holocaust), on the establishment and status of the state of Israel and on antisemitism:
Is (or was) the Shoa a historically unique occurrence? Continue reading
When thinking about a recent spat on my Twitter timeline (involving protests against traffic tickets perceived as unfair), a train of thought I have had many times already surfaced again:
Theory: People accustomed to continental civil law system don't fully appreciate purpose + potential of lawsuits. I'll blog about it…
— Florian Prischl (@flo_p) July 11, 2012
My music collection is probably larger than the average person’s, but pales in comparison to the vast archives of some of my friends. In late 2011, I noticed that it also hardly grows. I buy maybe four to eight CDs and four or five vinyl records (usually Drum & Bass twelve-inch singles) per year. I can’t remember the last time I downloaded music via file sharing, and I bought my first digital record only a few weeks ago.
By hardly expanding my collection, I seldom listened to something new. That gap was filled mostly by radio (especially Ö1’s and FM4’s late night programming) but ever since I have been working full-time, that is out of the question all too often.
That is why came up with the following New Year’s Resolution:
New Year’s Resolution: Each week, listen to at least 2 musicians/bands I’ve never listened to before. #musiclove
— Florian Prischl (@flo_p) Januar 11, 2012
Did you know that over 5000 European Jews had to flee Europe over the Alps in 1947, two years after the end of World War II and the Holocaust?
I did not, until 4 years ago. That’s when I first went on the Alpine Peace Crossing, an Alpine hike commemorating the flight of these Jews and dedicated to all refugees worldwide.
My father, brother and I participated again this year, along with about 170 others the weekend of 30 June. Continue reading