Wednesday, 27 February 2008

222 times thanks!

I would have never thought that there would be so many voters, but yet, 56 of you have been so kind to help me choosing the three pictures left. These are the winners:

2 7


The exhibition is going to start after Easter (March 25th). I will be posting all pictures online by then.

Many many thanks for the 222 votes! You are really the best! :)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

I need your help!

A couple of months ago I was proposed to exhibit some of my photographs in divinotinto (dass muss sünde sein) in Salzburg. The exhibition will have 11 pictures, and I need your help, because so far I just have been able to choose 8. I do not seem to be able to pick the other 3, so I decided to make a poll among my dear readers! :)

Each one of you has 4 votes. You can distribute them as you wish (4 to one single picture, 4 votes to 4 different pics, 2 and 2, ...). Leave me a comment, or send me an e-mail. You may visit my flickr album and leave your comments there!

The deadline to vote is Tuesday, 26th of February.

Photo 2
Photo 8
Photo 1
Photo 5
Photo 4
Photo 6
Photo 3
Photo 7

Many many thanks! :)

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Winterly Reflections in Orange

Winterly Orange Reflections

Sunday, 17 February 2008


A couple of months ago there was a burglary in a jewellery store in Salzburg. It happened during the night, and the only images of the perpetrator (from a video surveillance camera nearby) showed a masked person breaking through the shop window and taking goods worth around 10.000€. There was no way to find out the identity of the masked robber (it looked like a man, though).

Interestingly enough, the jeweller seemed to have a really extraordinary sixth sense to know, in spite of the mask, in spite of the darkness, in spite of the blurry images, the nationality of the one who robbed him. Or, at least, the geographical location of the robber's home town: to the East of Austria. He (the jeweller) wanted to share his feelings about European Union politics with everyone passing by, and thus displayed a sarcastic "EU-Osterweiterung lässt grüßen!!!" ("Here comes the EU enlargement to the East!!!") on his broken window.

Austria has always been among the countries most opposing accession of any other country to the EU. In fact, Austria is more against the accession of any country (with the sole exception of Croatia) than any other European country. According to Eurobarometer 2006, 62% of Austrians are against the accession of Macedonia, 59% Bosnia-Herzegovina, 73% Albania and 65% Serbia. Only 5% of Austrian people favours the accession of Turkey to the EU. Just to compare, 24% of Greeks are in favour of a Turkish accession.

In an Eurobarometer poll in 2005, 73% of Austrians thought that cultural differences were too significant to allow a Turkish accession. The EU25-average was 54%. Interestingly enough, 60% of Austrians told Eurosearch 2006 that "religion is irrelevant to the question of whether a country should be permitted to join the EU".

What's striking, though, is that other debates on EU enlargement have been masterly lead by Austrian politicians. Eurobarometer polls in 2002 showed 34% of Austrians in favour of a Croatian accession and 51% opposed, whereas 2005 55% favoured it and only 40% opposed. On the contrary, in the case of Turkey, 2002 had 32% of Austrians in favour of an accession and 53% opponents. In 2005 the ratio was 10% (in favour) to 80% (against). There has been little or no effort from politicians to favour a Turkish accession in the past few decades, and now, with support at an extraordinary low level of 5%, no one is willing to address the issue for fear of making themselves easy targets for their political opponents.

Of a population of 8.3 million people, 9.4% are foreigners. Of these, almost 88% are from outside the EU, especially the Balkans and Turkey. A Turkish embassy survey showed that 52% Austrians blame migrants in Austria for problems of integrations. That means, the root of the problems is the refusal by immigrants to integrate. 45% do not believe there is any solution to the integration problem of the Turkish community.

I think that, when it comes to integration, there is some homework to do for both parties. First of all, knowing each other and accepting each other. Me learning your language is not enough. You have to get to know my rituals and, even though you may not share them, at least understand that they are important for me, and respect them. Accepting, and not just tolerating, because to tolerate means an implicit censorship. When it comes to integration, though, I think Austrians are more or less willing to do their part depending on what my passport says.

There is an Italian restaurant in Salzburg, where we are not able to speak German at all, because they don't understand us. They only speak Italian, but this does not seem to bother any of the numerous Austrian guests. They are even celebrated: "Oh, how funny! They can't speak a single word German! They are soo lovely..."

Can you imagine the same comments on a Turkish kebab?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Stop egging around!

I've always found eggs very funny. Don't know exactly why, probably because they are round and, somehow, perfect. That's also how I feel about some words.

I guess that's what I like so much about today's favourite word. It's in Austrian dialect, which I've always been told one cannot write, but I'll give it a shot. The word is umaeiern.

uma is the Austrian rendition of the High German herum (meaning "around"). Ei means "egg". Umaeiern (or herumeiern) means something like to waffle, to mess about, like in "Tats nicht so umaeiern und entscheidet ihr euch doch!" ("Stop messing about and take a decision already!"). A literal translation, as usual, does not work well. "To egg around" sounds really funny, though!

Incidentally, in Spanish one would say "marear la perdiz" (lit. "to make the partridge sick"). How about that?

Friday, 1 February 2008

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Follow the Yellow Brick Road