Friday, December 5, 2008


December 5th is a special day in Austria. Usually of more importance in the rural areas: The Krampus Day.

For quite some time a lot of people have been working on their devil masks. Now in these days it's time to show up with these. Yes, things like these happen in Central Europe ;)

Good masks are carved out of wood.

No limits to anyones phantasy. However the devils do not wear any signs that could be connected with offensive sexual content.

The Evolution of Devils ;)
(when everything evolved why not them?).

The facial expressions could pretty good reflect the standard typical mood of some social network members. (Not you, of course).

As a devil has to make much noise, here's some equipment to produce it. Krampusse wear chains too. However this doesn't have something to do with SM-treatement. (SM=Sado-Maso).

Some 'devils' seem to 'have' great appetite. Watch out that you don't become a dinner for them.

Yes, pictures of an exhibition. I will try to get some 'live' ones on Sunday (very difficult and dangerous), if it works I will post them here, so come back.

Furs of foxes. The use of Fox Furs let's me think of a lot of Chinese Fairy Tales in which Foxes do play an important part. People can turn into foxes. These foxes can be dead people or something like Zombies. Usually they don't bring nice presents.

This guy got brains, so watch out for what he's got to say.

On December 6h is the 'Nikolaus Day'. He can show up at decent peoples houses, asks the kids if they've done good and behaved well and if they did they get some sweets. Before the sweets got invented he would give to them apples (no computers) and nuts.

Krampus traditions are mostly practised in the mountain regions of Austria (well some hills might work on it too). Therefore some Krampusses look like mountain spirits.

No, it's not KISS, though they seem to work on it.

As I said ... pictures of an exhibition.

So pray for me, that I'll survive this evening ;)

Oh, this one seems to like you too!

If you need a devil avatar you can help your self at:
Only 99 $ per Avatar which you can donate
to a any charity organisation. ;) of your choice
hm, however you can make it yourself cheaper.

You can see some of them in action on youtube:

Monday, December 1, 2008

AIDS HIV Africa BloggersUnite

Can you 'see' Aids in Africa?

Following the call of and BlogCatalogs BloggersUnite Action to post about HIV/AIDS I'll share some direct impressions (& photos) from Malawi Africa. I can do this as some of my children are and have been working there in rural areas for two years and have been interacting with the people right on the ground among the rural masses.
To summize this post:
AIDS is not just a disease that kills people,
it's a danger for a society in itself.
Tags (or whatever) for this post can be for example:
"Health, Africa, Society, Aids, HIV, Development."

First, some words about this action.
December 1st, is World Aids Day. ( #WAD08 ). Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV. In the United States an estimated one million Americans are living with HIV. is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Blog Catalog for Bloggers Unite on World AIDS Day 2008. This event encourages bloggers from around the world to dedicate their blog posts on December 1, 2008 (World AIDS Day) to issues related to HIV/AIDS.

Malawi is a beautiful country with beautiful people
like other African countries.
View from mount Mulanje (all photos by my children).

The Tuchila River

White people are interesting.
An European tourist who visited the country, the national parks etc. said: "We've been now around for 28 days in Africa, but I've seen no one with AIDS."

Some tourists that come to Africa even think that AIDS is just a fairytale, because they haven't seen anyone with AIDS.

Yes, when looking outside the Adventure-Africa-Safari-Busses you can not see that children are infected.
From a letter of my daughter: "The people that got infected with AIDS haven't got that written on their foreheads. If you shake someones hand, take a child into your arms, you don't know if that person or that child got AIDS.

And also when you get to know people from the country, they don't greet you with:
"Hey I am Chisomo and I have AIDS."

When you live among the people, and when you check it, how many people in the villages are dying, THEN you realize that AIDS is no fairy tale.

The carpenters are constantly busy with the construction of coffins for adults and children. There are many 'Coffin workshops'. Mostly you see a dilapidated sign on a simple house where someone is busy to saw a tree with an old saw.

The immune system of people that got infected with AIDS is so bad, that they die of more or less serious illnesses like, for example, pneumonia.
Newspapers report like this:
"The (famous) singer of this or that African Music Band has died because of pneumonia". They won't mention AIDs, 'AIDS' is still a tabu-word.

So ... a lot of people are dying, mostly under 40 years of age. Many of those people are parents. They leave children behind. Children without AIDS, children with AIDS.
This leads to a society where there are lots of children and adults are few. Therefore some speak of Malawi as a 'state of children' because half of the population is under 15 years old. Imagine that!

Many rural areas remain inertia, because the parents no longer had the opportunities to share their knowledge. The orphans usually find shelter at some 'other relatives'. Those 'other relatives' are grandparents or older siblings', people who cannot pay school fees.

AIDS is thus not simply a problem in Malawi (or Africa), which leads to many sick and suffering people, it is a problem which is changing the whole structure of society and especially to the detriment of children.
However, there are already many programs that try to tackle this problem (eg development programs, education programs, AIDS support groups, etc.). There are helpers.

So what does it mean for a country to have lots of people that suffer from AIDS?

It means:
* People don't get old. They just die away.
* A lack of older people.
* Less help in families.
* Less grandparents can help in caring for children.
* Less teachers.
* Less workers.
* Less thinkers.
* Less experience.
* and you can continue this list ...

Facing AIDS - World AIDS day 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Refugees Austria Political Asylum

Content Overview: * Refugees in Austria, * Austrian Organizations that help refugees, * Never forget (persecution of Jews in Austria).

This post is joining (a part of) BlogCatalogs BloggersUnite action to raise awareness for refugees.
"Bloggers Unite is an attempt to harness the power of the blogosphere to make the world a better place."
"The core cause of Bloggers Unite and Refugees United is information. Information leads to empowerment."

To be a refugee has a lot to do with having ('owing') a well founded fear of persecution for many reasons.
The official definition:
... a well founded fear ...

Since 1945 around 2 million refugess have come to Austria. Most of them moved onwards to other countries, 700.000 chose to stay in Austria.

Because of its geographical location, for some time, Austria WAS one of the most important countries in Europe to receive those that fled worsening conditions in their countries.

Culminations in the movement of refugees were also caused by conflicts in neighbor states of Austria like Hungary (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and Yugoslavia (1994).

For example: 1994 there were around 60.000 refugees from former Yugoslavia in Austria. Just for orientation: Austria got 1961 7.09 million inhabitants and 2007 8.32 million inhabitants.

Refugees from Hungary, 1956

Well I don't want to give you a too 'rosy' (optimistic) picture of the situation for refugees in Austria. It's one thing to want poltical asylum and it's another one to get it.

The refugee camp 'FlüchtlingsLager TraisKirchen', first place for refugees to Austria.

Some numbers can show this (Source: UNHCR)

Year Applications Got political asylum
2007 11.879 4936

2006 13.349 4063

2005 22.461 4650

2004 24.676 5208

2003 32.359 2084

2002 39.354 1073

2001 30.127 1152

2000 18.284 1002

Such tables are and have been subjects of intensive debate of the political parties. Generally it can be said that attitudes are kind of moving 'to the right'. Thus meaning that the whole political landscape has become more 'reserved' in giving political asylum to each and every refugee that manages to 'land' in Austria. This mostly out of the necessity to win elections because ... as it seems ... Austrians and especially people in Vienna have become pretty critical of 'AusLänder' ('Land' = country, 'AusLand' = from outside of the country).

Recently also the percentage of refugees coming from Iraq and Afghanistan has risen.

I will not go into any more details here. Further information can be easily found at the UNHCR and other places.

Now I hint to some Austrian Organizations that do help refugees and that are very concerned about HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EVERYBODY EVERYWHERE.

Besides governmental institutions the Austrian Caritas is caring for accomodations, lodging, supervision and mentoring. It's important for this organizaton, which is closely related to the Catholic Church, to not leave refugees alone but that refugees are able to live humanely.

Refugee Service: FlüchtlingsDienst der Diakonie

Since 1991 the 'AsylKoordination Österreich' (asylum-coordination Austria) fights for the rights of refugees, for a society without discrimination and prejudices.

The pressure group SOS Mitmensch fighting and working for the enforcement of Human Rights with the goal of equal opportunities and equal status for all people ... so also and in special: refugees.

Anti-fashistic No-Racism.Net is watching the rightist scene in Austria.

Chances (projects) for refugees at the employment or man- (woman-) power market. (Only for 'approved', 'acknowledged' ... refugees.

And if you want to put yourself into the shoes of a refugee you might like to play this online game: LastExitFlucht


There was also a time when people fled away from Austria or when it would have been better for them if they had done it. Exactly 70 years ago on November the 10th in 1938 the Jewish Temple in Vienna looked like this:
Jewish Temple of Vienna (burnt by the mob) after the night of the 'NovemberPogrom' 1938

In the night from November the 9th to November the 10th 1938 Austrian Citizens attacked fellow Citizens (Jews) for the reason of racism, hate ... and propaganda. People got mobilized and a lot of damage, A LOT OF DAMAGE was done. Yes ..., sorry doesn't fix it.

The sign also says: "Don't shop at Jewish stores ..."

Soooo .....
Formerly a Nazi Propagand Poster of Adolf Hitler

... be awake, watch the 'signs of the times' and maybe distrust leaders that seem to be very ... charismatic ...
Maybe think to help and care about & for ... refugees.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Butterfly Award Effect Symbol

Yesterday I received a 'butterfly award' of Hicham (Cairo-Egypt) and will pass this award onwards to 10 bloggers.

Though I live in a beautiful mountain area, butterflies are rare here (now). And of all the thousands of photos I made this year I just got a handfull of butterfly pics.
Here is one: Can you find the butterfly? You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

The butterfly is exactly in the middle of the photo.

"It has been said ..." hm, I always liked to mock about the chaos theory, however a lot depends on the perspectives ... Nevertheless in taking daily walks and looking to the ground, the floor seems to be a perfect chaos of dying leaves. Or maybe I have misunderstood something :)

As I said above, the reason for this post was the message from Hicham, a fellow blogger and friend from Cairo-Egypt, that I'd gotten the 'butterfly award' which afterwards (of course :) led to some reasoning about the activity of blogging itself as well as to some other inspiring, uplifting and encouraging aspects.
The Blogger as a butterfly, you saw it in the first photo above: the butterfly wasn't easy to discover. The resting butterfly (just a blog in itself) can sometimes hardly be seen, one has to search for it and has to know what he/she is searching for.
Much more easily we can see the butterflies when they flatter around from flower to flower (leaving comments and thus also meaning referring to itself, but also giving feedback and seeds to the visited flowers (also blogs). So this is the picture of the blogger as a butterfly and blogs as being flowers.

Before I announce the winners just a few words to the

Award’s Rules

* Put the logo on your blog;

* Add a link to the person
who awarded it to you.;

* Link 10 other bloggers
to whom you give this award to.

The winners are (alphabetically):

Another thing that immediately presses into my mind (this seems to come from educational brainwashing :) in connection to butterflies is the so called butterfly effect.
The butterfly effect which is spiritually at home in the chaos-theory sais something like: "If a butterfly claps its wings in one part of the earth, then something else happens in another part of the earth. Or so.
The butterfly is a symbol of: change transformation resurrection the soul ... more to butterfly-symbolism.

You'll find some links here that have more elaborated words than mine. So what the butterfly effect could describe is that doings and happenings in one part of the world can have an effect or cause an event in another part of the world.
Change one thing, change everything!

Some of the pics above I cut out the Oasis video: "Stop Crying Your Heart Out". Well, hehe, we bloggers and twitters will still do that ... :)
Nevertheless here is this inspiring video:


At another blog I put a playlist about Butterfly effect videos plus a short touching story about a caterpillar. Hope you enjoyed this post. Please bookmark, stumble digg mix etc. it and again:
Congratulations to the winners. Are burdens our blessings? Comments are very welcome!

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