Category Archives: Headlines – News

Vote!

To safeguard democracy certain countries, like Belgium demand all people to come to vote when there are elections. In Belgium voting is compulsory and one is expected to bring in your thoughts on how the country or the European Union is run.

It is easy to complain that things are not going like you would love to see them going. But when giving your opinion the governement can take your voice into account and can have an idea what the people really want. Voting is the way to give your opinion and to give a signal to the ones governing if they are doing their job all-right or doing it wrongly.

It is up to each citizen to take his or her responsibility and to contribute to the working of the state- or political system. Not fulfilling your citizens duties is showing discontent for those in charge and not willing to take up a voice for those in need and for those who can’t speak for themselves (illiterate, poor, to young people but also plants and animals).

For years lots of people have fought to get a fair vote. Many have offered their life in name of democracy, freedom, equality and liberty, all matters we should protect and give highly esteem.

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To remember

Between 23th and 26th of May 2019 European Parliament newly elected.

  • Every single vote contributes to the outcome.
  • Politics = enormous impact on our lives > influence every aspect of our life
  • co-determine + co-decide => co-choose the politicians > possibility to control future of politics

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Preceding

You Are Called To Stand Up, Even If You Are Standing Alone

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Read also

A Voice to give in May 2019

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Related

  1. INEC releases photo samples of ballot boxes for 2019 elections
  2. On Voting
  3. Stolen Elections
  4. Time for Annie to Get her Gun: The Winds of Change Are Not Carrying Democracy
  5. Here Are the Alt-Right Figures Trump Thinks Are the Innocent Victims of Censorship
  6. Everything on Muskegon County’s ballot for next week’s Election Day
  7. Europeans 2019, in France, a poll on crisis background of yellow vests

My Creative Space

Between the
23th and the 26th of May 2019 the European Parliament will be newly elected.
But, like in every election, not each citizen who has a vote uses it. If you
need some motivation to go to the ballot box, keep on reading.

1. Every
single vote counts. Full stop. We live in a democracy. Every vote is counted
and contributes to the outcome.

2. Politics
is all around us. It has an enormous impact on our lives. Not only huge
decisions like taxes and pensions but also decisions as minor as the shape of
your banana are made by politics. They influence every aspect of your life as
they set the rules you then have to live by. With your vote you choose and influence
the politicians who make politics that influence your life. If you want to
co-determine how your life is influenced, you have to co-decide…

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You Are Called To Stand Up, Even If You Are Standing Alone

There are several religious people who say Christians may not be involved in politics or even may not go to bring out their vote.

In Belgium voting is compulsory, and not going to the ballot station is a criminal offence, as such each Belgian is expected to have his say and foreign residents in Belgium, are welcome also to give their voice so that there can be worked at a democratic country, where everybody can have his say.

This month and especially on the 26th of May each resident of Belgium and those living in the European Union, should think about what they want to do and what position they want to take in this world.

Everybody should know that there are animals and plants plus enough people who have no voice and that it is important that people come up for them.

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To remember

What are you waiting for? ….  That ache inside you in sign enough.

  • We lean into “be still” + ignore call “to do”.
  • heartbeat of Love = action. Love = action. >Love cannot exist without action.
  • in the doing = change the world.

God already gave you mandates:

  • care for the poor and the orphaned and widow;
  • fight against injustice;
  • proclaim the gospel;
  • worship;
  • love others the way you want to be loved;
  • relentlessly throw all of who you are at the feet of Jesus.
  • Don’t make exceptions for yourself.
  • Don’t make excuses.

speak it out loud.

Speak up even if it means you are the only one left standing.

 

You want to change the world? = Go home + love you family. Be bold. Love the broken. Call out evil every single time.

Fight for the children who cannot fight for themselves.

Love risks everything to see truth + justice thrive.

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Read also

A Voice to give in May 2019

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Related

Vote

She Writes It Plain

If God has called you to it. Do it.

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Trump’s rhetoric is infusing a culture of Anti-Semitism

“It’s clearly a sign that Trump’s rhetoric is infusing a culture of Anti-Semitism and hate against Jews and any group that doesn’t fit into the White Nationalist mindset.
These days are a very crucial time for American Jews to fight back against all threats made by extremists who are very ignorant about history and hope to keep us paranoid and scared.”

Eric Morris Eskenazi

 

Also in the U.S.A. Jews are frequent targets of hateful vandalism.
Here are some numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s report on hate crimes in the U.S. in 2017, which show how much of the hate crime vandalism reported in the U.S. that year targeted Jews.

Instances of hate crime vandalism: 2,325
Instances of hate crime vandalism targeting Jews: 691
Proportion of hate crime vandalism that targeted Jews: 30%
Proportion of Americans who are Jewish: Around 2%

Read more:

  1. White Nationalism Is Spreading In The Orthodox Community
  2. Spike In Anti-Semitic Vandalism: What You Need To Know
  3. Think About The Spike In Anti-Semitic Vandalism

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Political affairs, Quotations or Citations, Welfare matters

5 years presenting articles for you

On the 26th of March 2014 this blog started with calling you welcome at “Guestwriters for you” at a site on which we hoped to offer readings from several writers with different ideas. Our hope was that both the lifestyle magazine Stepping Toes and this “Guest-speaker” corner would be able to find writings by different authors, who could deliver material of interest for many.

At Marcus Ampe his personal WordPress blog could be found his own personal political views and at his religious sites, like Our World and his ecclesia site Free Belgian Christadelphian Ecclesia people could find articles written from his Christadelphian view as a Brother in Christ. Though well aware there are not enough Christadelphians willing to share interesting writings and thoughts from non-trinitarian but also from trinitarian and even non Christian writers he invited others to join the platform to create a readers digest of interesting articles on the World Wide Net.

Five years later we can only say we are a little-bit disappointed that not many writers presented themselves to write about historical, ecological, science and lifestyle matters like fashion and architecture, but also none who wanted to write about arts and / or education. So many subjects are not yet tackled at this blog.

We still would love a variety of articles about many aspects which may concern us to build up a better life. Once more we call for people to join us and to share their thoughts. Together we can build at better living conditions for everybody around us, humans but also animals.

We are convinced that whatever religion you may have, from whatever country you may be, whatever race you may have, we can and should be able to live together in peace. For that reason Marcus called for blogwriters to join the Movement Bloggers for Peace. But also there, not many were willing to connect.

At first we at the end of each article we presented a list of articles of interest by others. We stopped doing that, because of the continued complaints and several people asking us to take them out of the list (because the did not want to be associated with us – though they should not have to be associated with us). They should have been aware we provided free advertising for their writings and had many of our readers sent to visit their blog. This not being appreciated we thought it better then to keep our readers at our own place and at our own affiliated blogs.

In 2014 we had 234 articles published getting us 1847 visitors offering us 3 124 views. 296 articles the year after got 4 333 views and in 2016 7 782 views could be reached and 358 articles added. A dip in 2017 brought us 5 018 visitors for 395 articles, the site catching 6 888 views. With lesser articles for 2018 (366) we could reach 5 751 readers with 8 260 views. On February 9, 2018 we got our best views ever.

Up to today we have 1 736 posts which caught 22 211 visitors giving us 33 061 views. We are thankful we may count on 304 followers by Word Press and 3 per e-mail. – which is not much -. The 616 followers on Social Media do not always deliver readings, and as such we can not cunt on them really. We are in any case very grateful for those who are willing to take the time to read and to react at the writings. Thank You!

In case you know much about styling, fashion, gardening, interior decorating, inner being, psychology, anthropology, history, political analysation, arts, you are always welcome to present yourself as a guest-writer for us.  Even when you like to bring articles of other people to our attention you are welcome to let us know or to share them with us as an author presenting guest-writings.

Five years should be the sign we are getting out of our baby-years. You as reader may help us to grow.
Not only come to visit us regularly. Let this site be known by others. Let us know what you would love to see or find at this site, or give us some guidance to make this site better. All advice is welcome. Do also know that we do not mind some encouragement now and them. We are thankful for those few who do not mind to click the “Like” button. Thank you very much for that small but oh so important sign that can give us some encouragement.

On the 8th of April 2019 we still call everybody welcome who some way comes along this site.
Hopefully it shall not stay by a one visit.
May we look forward to more than one visit?

Welcome to this club of Bloggers for Peace and Understanding

 

Thank you very much for coming along this site and reading our articles.

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Anti-Semitism in Austria 2018 study results

Wolfgang Sobotka, president of the lower house of the Austrian parliament, presented the results of the “Anti-Semitism in Austria 2018” study in Vienna last week. It surveyed 2,731 respondents older than 16 including 604 Muslims.

Asked whether they agree with a statement blaming anti-Semitic persecution of Jews on their own behaviour, 19 percent of non-Muslims agreed. In the Muslim group, 45 percent of the respondents endorsed the statement.

Arab respondents, who made up half of the Muslim group, were slightly more likely than Turks, who made up the other half, to agree with the statement.

In the Turkish group, 28 percent agreed that “Jews still need to answer for the murder of Jesus.” The figure was 17 among Arabs and 13 among non-Muslims in the study.

Ten percent of non-Muslims agreed with the statement that “a lot is exaggerated in news about concentration camps” from the Holocaust. That figure was 41 percent among Turks and 35 among Arabs.

Asked to react to the statement that “Jews control international commerce,” 39 percent of non-Muslims concurred. The figures were 63 and 64 percent among the Turkish and Arab groups.

European governments rarely commission such aggregated surveys, which some perceive as discriminatory and which are illegal in some European states.

Karoline Edtstadler, state secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, said in a statement about the report:

“We will focus anti-racism efforts on immigrant children,”

the TRT Turkish news agency reported Tuesday.

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Historian Deborah Lipstadt Assesses the New Anti-Semitism

Historian Deborah Lipstadt has published an accessible and comprehensive book about contemporary anti-Semitism called “Antisemitism: Here and Now.” The book, in which she spells anti-Semitism as “antisemitism” for reasons she outlines—is structured as a series of letters she writes to a fictional student and colleague — both of whom are composites of people Lipstadt has taught and worked with at Emory University in Atlanta.

Lipstadt, the author of books on Holocaust denial and the Adolf Eichmann trial, has experienced anti-Semitism as a result of confronting Holocaust deniers. In the early 2000s, she prevailed in a defamation lawsuit brought by David Irving, one of the more prolific and notorious Holocaust “revisionists.” Her victory was dramatized in “Denial,” a 2016 movie starring Rachel Weisz.

Lipstadt writes that anti-Semitism is challenging to define:

“It is hard, if not impossible, to explain something that is essentially irrational, delusional, and absurd.”

She recently spoke to JewishBoston about her new book and the ongoing scourge of anti-Semitism around the world.

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Is today’s anti-Semitism “old wine in new bottles?”

On some level, it is old wine in new bottles. There are certain aspects of the stereotype which continue to exist and don’t go away. What’s different today is a number of things. First of all, it’s coming from the right and the left simultaneously. That’s different. At the same time, we’ve got a third source, and that is Islamic extremists who have been responsible for dangerous, deadly events in Europe. In some sectors of the Muslim community, it has become embedded among people who wouldn’t think to do anything violent but think evil things of Jews. This combination is different, but the charges are classic.

Actor Rachel Weisz and author Deborah Lipstadt on the set of their film “Denial,” a Bleecker Street release. (Photo credit: Liam Daniel/Bleecker Street)

Actor Rachel Weisz and author Deborah Lipstadt on the set of their film “Denial,” a Bleecker Street release. (Photo credit: Liam Daniel/Bleecker Street)

In your introduction, you write, “By the time this book appears there will have been new examples of antisemitism.”

In some ways, the book is a work in progress. I was sure by the time it was published there would have been a number of instances that could have appeared. Five weeks after I hit the send button, Pittsburgh happened.

Speaking of ongoing anti-Semitism, what inspired you to write a book about it?

I wrote an article right after Gaza happened the summer of 2014 for The New York Times op-ed page. What struck me was the degree of anti-Semitism that got mixed up in opposition to that war. But it wasn’t just the war. There was the 2006 murder of Ilan Halimi. In 2012 there were the murders at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Then there was the shooting at the Jewish Museum of Brussels just before Gaza. Anti-Semitism was coming back in a way that deserved attention. The Times article was very popular, and my agent asked where my book proposal was. I sent him a brief proposal as a favor. He came back to me shortly afterward and said he sold the book. That’s how I came to write a book about anti-Semitism.

You talk about what I describe as “low-voltage anti-Semitism” that can happen casually at dinner parties or in dorm rooms. How do Jews deal with that?

While this book has received mostly amazing reviews, like any author, I tend to linger on the one or two negative ones. One of the reviews said I should not have told my fictitious student Abigail that when she encountered anti-Semitism among her roommates to go back and have a discussion. The reviewer said, “I would have told her to find new friends.” That’s the wrong answer. We’ll run out of friends very quickly if we do that. There is a lot of misunderstanding of what anti-Semitism is and what constitutes it. Our job should be to try to explain that to people. However, when you call me a termite [as Louis Farrakhan did] because I’m a Jew, I’m not going to try and educate you anymore. We have to discern between ignorance and what is absorbed from the ethos sphere, and the committed anti-Semite.

What do you say to young Jews participating in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement? And what are some of the anti-Semitic tropes associated with BDS?

Many people on campus who support BDS probably couldn’t find Israel on a map. I don’t immediately brand every person who supports BDS as an anti-Semite. Some people erroneously equate BDS with their parents’ votes against apartheid. But if you drill down to what BDS is all about it, it calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. That is anti-Semitism. As for the tropes, it’s this talk of power, control and money. It’s the anti-Semitic stereotypes put into a Middle Eastern context. A few days ago, people said the seven Labour lawmakers who resigned over anti-Semitism in their party were being paid to do so by Israel. If that supposition weren’t so dangerous, it would be simply absurd.

Antisemitism

(Courtesy image)

Are anti-Zionists and anti-Semites the same?

They are backing into each other. If you look at each of them in 1935 or 1945, they are not one and the same. Bret Stephens had a great article about the difference. I second what he says very much. Look at the division and we now see something quite distinct. We see something that has become this hostility to Israel. Opposition to Israeli policy is not anti-Semitism. It’s important to recognize that. We’re talking about a myopic view that all the troubles in the world are the Palestinians’—the only one at fault in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is Israel. Something is wrong with that.

I recently heard a story about a student in a New York City public high school who asked her teacher to sign a letter of recommendation for a summer program. She brought him the form, and when he saw it was for Israel, he said he wouldn’t write a letter for her. She asked if he would write a letter for a program in North Korea, China, Myanmar or Sudan, and he said yes.

Something is wrong when your singular focus is on one country. Something is wrong when you look at this complicated situation in Israel where there are wrongs on both sides. We see a dedication to Palestinian organizations that have a major commitment to the destruction of Israel within their charters. And you have to ask, why this myopic view? That’s when you come to anti-Semitism.

It’s almost Purim, and your middle name is Esther. Do you feel you have a Queen Esther-like role in the Jewish community?

Someone once sent me a quote from the Book of Esther where Mordechai comes to Esther to tell her she has to approach the king, or our people will be murdered. She initially says she can’t go to the king because she will be killed. But then she does talk to him on behalf of her people. In fighting deniers and anti-Semitism, I don’t feel I’m a queen of anything. What I do feel is very gratified that I’ve been given a chance to do this work. I wish anti-Semitism were an old problem, but there’s an urgency to understand it. People are so grateful and appreciative that I do that. I feel humbled and thankful that I’m getting this kind of reaction. I’m not a Queen Esther, but I have been given a similar gift of being in the right place at the right time. This enables me to contribute to an important battle.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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The danger of having less than 25 000 Jews in Belgium

Most of the countries that have their Jewish population dropped below the 25,000 level over the past 70 years were in Arab and Muslim countries including Morocco, Egypt, Algeria and Iran, as those countries effectively expunged the Jewish populations due to anger over the founding of Israel. The total population from all of those Arab and Muslim countries now stands at 27,000, just north of the 25k mark (15k in Turkey, 5,800 in Iran, 2,000 in Morocco and Tunisia 1,000).

On Thursday, after a two-month trial in the Belgian capital, 12 jurors found the 33-year-old guilty of the four anti-Semitic murders during a shooting spree at Belgium’s Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24, 2014. It was not the first incident against Jews in that country, but it may be considered as the first terrorist attack by IS and the turning point for many Jews to feel not safe any-more in Belgium, because the country from then onwards started also showing an evolution to the far-right and anti-Semitic groups.

Kölner Karnaval Nazi-propaganda against Jews – Germans making fun of Jews in the 1930s

Aalst Karnaval 2019 Joodse Karrikaturen – Recycled puppets for 2019 Aalst Carnaval

We can question of the depiction of Jews in the carnival of Aalst would be of similar intent to what could be seen in Germany in the 1930ies. The stereotypes and images found in Nazi propaganda were not new, but were already familiar to their intended audience. You can not ignore that it reminds us of the Nazi-propaganda during the rise of Nazism. If that carnival group wanted to have a sabbath year, why did they spend so much money on such puppets? Such depictions are just provoking and are adding to the trouble atmosphere which is growing in Belgium.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish organization headquartered in the US, believes that Aalst Carnaval defiles the reputation of Belgium as the host country of the European institutions. This is stated in an open letter to Federal Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem (CD & V). The federal government must, according to the director of international relations Shimon Samuels, patronize the Aalst carnival group publicly.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an NGO that collects it worldwide for the interests of Jews.

‘We are disgusted by the images of the parade during the carnival on 3 March in Aalst’,

is the letter to Minister De Crem.

‘With stereotyping and hateful images of Jews with bags full of money and hook-noses that are reminiscent of Nazi collaborating Belgium.’

Also the Jewish community was very chocked with those images, which reminded of the years before the 2nd World War.

parade float at the Aalst Carnaval in Belgium features caricatures of Orthodox Jews atop money bags, March 3, 2019 Aalst Carnaval

B’nai B’rith International termed it “disgusting.” Both umbrella groups of Belgian Jews filed a federal complaint for incitement against the group, called Vismooil’n, saying the float looked like Nazi propaganda.

Even the European Commission slammed the display, with a spokesperson saying

“It is unthinkable that such imagery is being paraded on European streets 70 years after the Holocaust.”

Why do those people from that group Vismooil give the impression that Jews are the cause of the rising prizes?

Joel Rubinfeld, the president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA.

“Prices are rising, so who do they blame? The fat, greedy Jew,” he said.

Not only on a Facebook page of carnival enthusiasts, we could see lots of “anti-Semitic humour”.

One blamed

“the sad Jews, closed off from the rest of society in Antwerp, who have no sense of humour.”

Another referred to Jews as “dick cutters,” adding they are

“whiners with sausages for ears and woolly curls on their heads.”

Commenting on Jewish anger over the float, another wrote:

“Later you wonder why Jew hatred is growing …”

For Rubinfeld it is

“What’s happening in recent years at the carnival is a symptom of a wider problem, which the return of 1930s anti-Semitism, alongside the upgraded version that we’ve become used to, that targets Israel as a substitute for Jews and visa versa.”

At the moment there is an American petition concerning the Aalst Carnival on the Unesco-heritage-list to remove its status as an intangible heritage. What the carnival group the Vismooil Sunday has shown, with the Jewish decorated float, in any case does not fit with the norms and values that Unesco stands for.

We must take the “view on the Jews” seriously. We may not ignore a serious peril of a growing negative stance against Jews and Muslims. In europe there is a growing tendency to have bad jokes about Jews and to point the finger as if they would be part of the present problems.

Vile comments made by elected officials (including in the US, UK and Iran) attacking Jews and basic Jewish human rights in those two remaining outposts – and defended by senior politicians – rises to the level of attempted genocide of the Jewish people. {FirstOneThrough}

We cannot stay silent and should speak up. We also should show non-Jews that there are different Jewish communities with different lifestyles. But also Jews could come to see that in Christendom and in Islam there are very different groups with totally different ideas. Not all those different groups have a grudge against the other. There are enough religious and non-religious groups who are willing to live together in symbioses. Best way not to make people so afraid they find it better to leave the country is making sure they all feel welcome and can trust each other.

It is up to the governement to make sure that those people who are a danger for democracy are disciplined.

In Belgium the politicians and the police should also show they are taking certain matters seriously and should further protect all of the Jewish community. But also in the Jewish community Jews should make work of it to communicate better with each other and to accept the different sorts of Jews in this country.

Also let us think about why there are now 17 countries with over 25,000 Jews which is half of the total that existed when Israel was founded in 1948.

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Find to read:

  1. 25,000 Jews Remaining
  2. A Hebrew-Christian movement
  3. Jeshuaists = Juifs pour Jeshua ou Jésus Christ
  4. Marchons avec courage!

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Filed under Headlines - News, History, Religious affairs, World affairs

a Call to stop the growing anti-Semitism

It is not new. Already several months we can see there is a growing anti-Semitism again in France and Belgium. The home to the biggest Jewish community in Europe, France , represents around 550,000, a population that has grown by about half since World War Two, but anti-Semitic attacks remain common. Government statistics released last week showed there were more than 500 anti-Semitic attacks in the country last year, a 74 percent increase from 2017.

Alarming it should be that it seems that the Jewish communities across West-Europe feel much more endangered that non-Jews think they are.
A 28-country survey by the European Commission, published last month, revealed a gap in perceptions between those in and out of the Jewish community.
According to the report, 89% of Jewish people said anti-Semitism had “significantly increased” over the last five years. Only 36% of non-Jews believed the same.

Among the incidents arousing worries of renewed anti-Semitism was a torrent of hate speech directed at Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut during a Saturday march by yellow vest protesters.

In recent incidents, swastika graffiti was found on street portraits of Simone Veil — a survivor of Nazi death camps and a European Parliament president who died in 2017. The word “Juden” was painted on the window of a bagel restaurant in Paris, and two trees planted at a memorial honouring a young Jewish man tortured to death in 2006 were vandalized, one cut down.

Friday , two youths were arrested after they allegedly fired shots at a synagogue with an air rifle in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles, where a large Jewish community lives. Sarcelles mayor Patrick Haddad told BFMTV on Tuesday that prosecutors believe the motive was anti-Semitism.

According to sociologist Danny Trom, author of “France Without Jews,” thousands of Jewish people leave France every year because of anti-Semitism.

“This is a low-intensity war, perhaps, but let’s not forget the murder of children killed at close range by Mohamed Merah in a school,”

Trom told French magazine Telerama, referring to the 2012 slayings of three children and a teacher from a Jewish school by an Islamic extremist in the southwestern city of Toulouse.

In West Europe since the dawn of time there have been Jews. In the previous century they had a terrible time, but one would have thought after that period everyone would want that human scandal to remain covered for good. Though the last few years it seems there are again seeds of weed sawn. Now, the pressure is such that several Jews are led to consider their country inhospitable.

In a tweet last week, Olivier Faure, first secretary of the Socialist Party, first called on people to gather in Paris for a protest on Tuesday. The event was later organised with the endorsement of more than 50 political parties, unions and associations.

No official number has been reported, but similar demonstrations were reported in 60 cities including Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes.

Thousands of people rallied across what should be “the Land of equality” (France) after a surge of anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks that culminated on Tuesday with vandals daubing swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on dozens of graves in a Jewish cemetery.

Political leaders from all parties, including former Presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, gathered in Paris filling the Place de la Republique, a symbol of the nation, to decry anti-Semitic acts with one common slogan:

“ça Suffit” = “It is Enough!”

Protestors during a rally in Paris' Place de la Republique

The French have enough of racist acts and of discrimination and hate for others

French President Emmanuel Macron, after he had visited the vandalized Jewish cemetery in Quatzenheim, a small town in the northeastern Alsace region, said he felt shame at the sight of the defaced grave markers. He clearly was very much impressed and the grieve and disgust for what had happened was on his face. Macron observed several moments of silence in front of the vandalized graves while local Jewish community representatives stood by.

“We will take action,”

he promised.

Afterwards he went to the Shoah Memorial, a Holocaust museum in Paris, to observe a moment of silence with parliament leaders, and said

“Every time a French person, because he or she is Jewish, is insulted, threatened — or worse, injured or killed — the whole Republic” is attacked.”

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*https://www.bbc.com/news/av/embed/p071cd8v/47300117*

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Holocaust memorial cobblestones laid around Europe – and beyond

In the 1990s, Gunter Demnig decided victims of the Holocaust should return to their homes, at least figuratively.

Today, more than 70,000 so-called Stolpersteine have been laid around Europe – and beyond.

As a 71-year-old man, spending more than 200 days a year travelling around Europe and beyond for his project, meeting young people, politicians and relatives of those he strives to commemorate, Demnig .

According to some it would not be a respectful manner to commemorate the victims, seeing as they are literally being walked upon, or even kicked. For that reason the southern German city of Munich decided against having the Stolpersteine. Instead, after much arguing, Munich chose to install plaques and steles across the city instead.

Demnig says he does not agree with the logic that his project means the victims are kicked over and over again.

“The Nazis were never content with kicking, they had a whole extermination and murder plan.”

And even if people did want to kick the cobblestones, they have been designed so that this action makes them “ever more shiny.”

“You can walk over them, to polish the stones even more, to preserve the commemoration, and honour them,”

Demnig says.

The artist says he could “never” imagine stopping his Stolpersteine project. Despite being officially retired, he says he will continue.

“We need them now more than ever,”

he reasons, thinking of the rise of far-right rhetoric and populism across the world.

“Especially when some people from the AfD [far-right Alternative for Germany party] get up and say, ‘We don’t need to remember the Nazi period, that was birdshit,’ then we have to say: Now more than ever.”

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Going to the end of 2018

Once again a year has gone by. Everywhere we heard about fake and other bad news. sometimes we forgot that there could be something like “Good News”. Though we do hope we could give some light in a certain darkness.

Our ecclesia in Heverlee received very bad news in June. We had to leave the place for Starbucks and Burger King taking away our facility to meet and to have our Breaking of Bread at those premises. At the moment we use brother Marcus his living room in Leefdaal and the bar at the Warande in Tervuren, but that public space is not ideal or practical. It would be nice if we could find a better solution.
For Nivelles and Mons nothing changes and for baptised members there is still our internet meeting Sunday morning, though now one hour earlier than last religious year.

Financially the red ciphers grew. Brother Marcus and Steve paying already a lot from their private funds, but next to rent, publishing, internet, copyrights we also have mounting portocosts. In Belgium there seem not to be many people interested to help us in our preaching work. Several people three-monthly receive our paperwork magazine “Met Open Bijbel” and receive the books they request for. But none ever thought or thinks about contributing something to cover the costs.

In case you want to help our preaching work, this shall be very much appreciated. Any gift is welcome, at BE37 9730 6618 2528, with notice “Ecclesial help”.

Remarkable things are happening around us and as we circulate our English printed newsletter today we see France troubled with rioting on the streets, the UK Government hamstrung by its perplexing Brexit challenges, a White House which lurches from crisis to crisis, New Zealand having to apologise for the murder of a backpacker – and in many other places suffering, hunger, displacement and fear. Even the hardest heart cannot be unmoved by these things. Whatever the remaining days of 2018 may bring, let us hold fast to the promise of Christ’s return and be encouraged by the bright prospect of his glorious reign. Mankind’s many insoluble problems will then, finally, be at an end. For “all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord”.

We wish you a lovely end of the year and a good new start for 2019.

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