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Home arrow In Brief arrow Strasbourg Region, Alsace, doesn't want to become ... "ALCA(PONE)" area !?

Strasbourg Region, Alsace, doesn't want to become ... "ALCA(PONE)" area !?

Written by ACM
Saturday, 11 October 2014

 

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*Strasbourg/Bordeaux squr./Angelo Marcopolo/- Most Strasbourg Region, Alsace's People don't seem to like at all for their Historic land, with its Symbolic and specific role for EU Integration through the Historic Franco-German Reconciliation, to be suddenly submerged inside a much larger but Artificial conglomerate, made by adding together 3 Different Regions, including Lorraine and even Champagne-Ardennes, which might, perhaps, have an interesting point into bringing together 4 Borders to other European Countries, (from Switzerland and Germany up to Luxembourg and Belgium, throughout France's North-Eastern frontiers), as the Socialist Chair of Strasbourg's Urban Community, Herrmann, recently argued at a meeting with the local Press Club, but, nevertheless, risks to look quite .. fishy with its Strange scheduled Name of ... "ALCA", which would inevitably remind Chicago border-city's World-famous Chief Gangster "ALCAPONE"...

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This became clear during a Popular Mass Demonstrations of critics, mainly from the Center and Right side of the Political Spectrum, which was added Today to another, previous Protest also from Rightists and/or Regionalists, representing all in all a large Majority in Alsace, considering also of the fact that even some Socialists, and particularly "Greens", are, them too, critical of the current Government's Draft Bill on ReGrouping France's Regions, that the Senate might oblige the National Assembly to soon review at a second, and crucial reading soon.

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- "PACA Region's Chairman Vauzelle, (from the Southern Marseilles area), used to tell me that Nobody  knows "PACA", while, on the contrary, Picardy, Ardeche and Cote d' Azur, are quite Well known", denounced from the outset Alsace Region's President, Philippe Richert, who has a unique Experience as also former President of Lower Rhine's Department and former Minister for all France's Territorial organisations.

 

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- Similarly, nobody would know what "ALCA" (the controversial planned "Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne/Ardennes" Super Region) might be, while our Region, Alsace, is already well known, both throughout Europe and Internationaly, he pointed out, calling rather to  "develop our own piece of France, and piece of Europe : Alsace", as he stressed, largely applauded by an enthousiastic Mass Demonstration of some Tens of Thousands of People gathered at Strasbourg's Bordeaux square, right in front of Regional TV's HQ "France 3 - Alsace", and close to the European quarter where CoE and ECHR, as well as EU Parliament's buildings are located.  But the desirable Administrative Simplifications and Economies could be better made otherwise : i.e. by merging together the 2 currently existing Departments of Lower and Superior Rhine, inside a revigorated Alsace Regional Council, Richert proposed instead, backed by an impressive gathering of Local and Regional elected politicians, from Mulhouse and Colmar up to Strasbourg itself and many Villages.

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Indeed, Alsace is one of the  few Regions to have had a special Pavillon of its own at the International area of Shanghai's 2010 World Expo, has the biggest ratio of Foreign Investments in France after Paris' Region, holds a notoriety as Host of the PanEuropean CoE, with its Court of Human Rights, EU Parliament's full Plenary Sessions and Ombudsperson, EUROCORPS' Army HQ, is at the forefront of the Franco-German Integration at the core of EU's €uroZone, including with the "OberRhein (Superior Rhine)" Tri-National project, together with Switzerland, has the only French University out of Paris which is rated among the 100 Best in the World by the Shanghai Academic Ranking of Universities, with 3 Nobel Prize winners active, exports its "Elsass" Café trademark by Henri even up to Moscow or Japan, etc.,, as well as its famous traditional White Alsacian Wines and Beer "Kronenbourg 1664" (recently bought by Danish Giant "Carlsberg"),  has recently got its own, private TV station : "Alsace-20", and is quite well known in Brussels and throughout the World as one of the most performant and pittoresque French Regions, neighbooring wonderful German "Black Forest" and Swiss Bale areas, etc., thanks also to an active "Alsace International" organisation.

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    - Idenity issues were highlighted even ...Musically by American Singer Liza Doby's "Who are we ?" latest Album. After softly promissing to "love, unconditionaly" her new homeland : Alsace region in North-Eastern France, Doby almost prayed for the region's future, with her "Sankt Amarin" song, before concluding, timely, with a critical "I don't need a Doctor" at all, with the satirical "Dr. FeelGood" song, obviously percieved now in Strasbourg as a denunciation of some "Dr. Frankestein juniors", too hastily rushing to excessively heavy operations over Regions' remake, dangerously cutting and/or grafting these or those Regions together, even without taking any necessary precaution beforehand...

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     - "In fact, Alsace might, perhaps, fit well with Lorraine's Moselle department, but not so much with its Meuse and/or Vosges parts, and certainly not with Champagne-Ardennes' region, as far as Historic and Cultural identities and particularities are concerned", told "EuroFora" Richert's Brother, Pierre, with an astonishing, almost identic twin-like resemblance to the President of Alsace Region, while proudly holding its traditional flag...

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    Indeed, specific realities as such of Franco-German BiLingualism inside Elementary Education, the "Concordate" which gives a special status to Historically recognized Religions (as Christian, etc), the so-called "Local Law", which has, in particular, a special regime for Social Security, for the creation of Associations, etc., together with Geography, crafted by the Natural landscape of Rhine valley, from its Swiss sources all way through the Mountains of "Vosges" and "Black Forest" in the French and German side of the River, respectively, as well as the Economy and the abundance of pittoresque small-medium Villages accross mainly Rural areas, (etc), form integral parts of Alsace Region's own characteristics.

 
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     + Even on a European level, "Alsace would better work on Franco-German relations, while Lorraine should focus on Luxembourg, Belgium and Sarre" (a semi-French speaking area at nearby Germany). "That's better both for France and Europe", advised wisely the experienced long-time former President of EU Parliament's biggest Group of MEPs, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, and currently New Head of the EPP Party, headquartered in Brussels, Joseph Daul, speaking to "EuroFora", while personaly participating (disguissed as a grassroots Farmer) in a very Popular free distribution of fresh, home-grown Agricultural products of the area, which made many People happy...

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    From Young representative, freshly elected Municipal and Regional politician Elsa Schalck, up to ... "Miss France 2012", superbe Red-haired Alsacian Delphine Wespeiser's Mother and Father, representing to Strasbourg's Demonstration their Daughter, obliged to travel to Shri Lanka, Canada, etc, who posed smiling proudly for an "EuroFora" Photo, the overall atmosphere of this exceptional Popular Gathering united both Aged and Young People, including several young couples with their Children, Citizens and Municipal, District and/or Regional elected representatives, Consular Chambers, etc., in a rare mix.

 

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    In conclusion, Alsace Region's President Philippe Richert, invited all participants to sing, all together, France's National hymne, known as "la Marseilleuse", which has notoriously been created historically in Strasbourg, inspired from the "Rhine army" saga in the Past, before it was brought, through the Rhone valley, until Marseilles city, from where it won its National prestige thanks to an important group of revolted People who succesfully fought their way up to Paris during the Historic 1789 National Revolution which established the nowadays Republic since then. Consistently, the Demonstration for Alsace region ended with a Flight of "Blue, White, Red" Baloons, French flag's colors... 

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(../..)

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 politkovskaya_gongadze_adali_400

Hu Jia's prize brings SAKHAROV's wife to "EuroFora" on murders of Journalists Politkofskaya, Gongadze and Adali :

- Elena Bonner : "All Journalists' murders must be fully investigated", without Double Standards.                                                                                    

During a special Mega-Event to celebrate 20 Years of SAKHAROV Prize for "Freedom of Thought", attributed in 2008 by EU Parliament to jailed Chinese Cyber-Dissident Hu JIA, the move was reinforced by strongly criticizing the persisting impunity in three cases of Journalists' Murders, such as POLITKOVSKAYA in Russia, GONGADZE in Ukraine, and ADALI in Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.

Any bureaucratic doubt about whether Cyber-dissidents like Hu JIA might have, or not, a right to be protected as all Journalists must be, particularly when they take risks to search, find and publish original and critical News on issues of general interest to the society, could not resist to the emotion provoked by the message of his Wife, Zeng JINYAN spectacularly transmitted at a big screen in EU Parliament's hemicycle :

- "The most important and most interesting thing he did was to ... say the Truth :.. to write about the phenomena he observed... He never stopped Publishing.. on websites, so that the Public could learn about the reality .. and understand it.  In my view, this has been his greatest contribution", stressed the young wife of the jailed man, eager to cite also the cases of other critical journalists who faced various kinds of "harassment".

 - "Welcoming all those who have suffered for defending Human Rights", EU Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING, who had invited to Strasbourg all former Sakharov prize-winners from various Countries throughout the World, said that "China needs Europe, and Europe needs China : A great nation" with which "we want to have a good relationship", "association and ..friendship". "But we are never going to stop our fight for Human Rights, and No Government can expect this from us".

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of Peace, if Human Rights are left out. In fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.

    It's in this spirit that MEPs adopted, on Thursday, a Resolution denouncing that "the criminal
investigation and trial following the murder of (a) Journalist ...raises serious concerns with regard to transparency and respect for the rule of law", when a "brutal killing has not yet been fully investigated and solved in a satisfactory way".

    The text refered to dissident Journalist "Anna POLITOVSKAYA", a critic of Tchechen conflict, killed some years ago in Moscow, where Russian Authorities have found, arrested and are currently judging two executants, while also searching to arrest also a 3rd one, allegedly escaped in Belgium. But they have not yet found the instigators.

     Similar texts were adopted recently also on dissident Ukranian Journalist Georgiy GONGADZE's murder, for which Ukranian Authorities have at least found, arrested and condemned 2 executants to 12 and 13 Years of jail, but not yet the instigators. For that purpose, they recently accepted an International Experts team to participate to the investigations.     

But, it's only for the Murder of dissident Turkish Cypriot Journalist ADALI, in the occupied territories of Cyprus, that Turkey has NOT yet found ANYONE responsible, and even claimed recently inside CoE that it would be "impossible" to do so !    

These astonishing differences exist despite the fact that ECHR condemned alike Ukraine and Turkey with 2 Judgements on the same year : 2005, for the murders of  Journalists GONGADZE and ADALI, strong critics of Corruption in Ukraine, and of Ankara's policies on mass-influx of Turkish Settlers in the Occupied Territories of Cyprus, respectively.    

Regarless of that, CoE's Committee of Ministers, who is entrusted with the duty to supervise execution of ECHR's judgements, has just asked Ukraine's Government to reply to further questions on Gongadze's murder before March 2009, while Turkey, curiously, got a longer postponement for answering questions on Adali's murder, until June...   

A comparison of these cases, raises serious questions about Double Standards :

------------------------

On TRANSPARENCY :
--------------------------
    On Gongadze's murder, CoE's body speaks even about the participation of
"an INTERNATIONAL group of Experts" in the Investigation, (f.ex. of "Tape Recordings"), accepted by Ukraine.
    On the contrary, on Adali's murder, CoE is obliged to repeatedly ask (for a 2nd
time) Turkey whether, at least, it informed the victims' Family, or not...
------------------------------
- On EFFICIENCY :
-----------------------
On Gongadze's murder, CoE formally "recalls that the Committee (of Ministers) ..URGED the Ukranian authorities.. to TAKE ALL NECESSARY INVESTIGATIVE STEPS TO ACHIEVE CONCRETE and VISIBLE RESULTS in the INVESTIGATION, aimed at the Identification of the INSTIGATORS and Organisers of the Murder", and "STRONGLY INVITED the Ukranian Authorities to provide information on the PROGRESS IN THE INVESTIGATION", before MARCH 2009.

But, on Adali's murder, on the contrary, CoE's body merely .. "took note" of the "arguments presented by" Cyprus, which denounce the absence of any proof of new "investigation" by Turkey. Following Turkey's own suggestion (!), it simply "noted" that there is "no limitation period" for "any new element" to "lead potentialy (sic !) to a Re-Opening of the Investigation". Without saying who might find any such "new" fact, since Turkey stoped searching... It also POSTPONED the issue until .. JUNE  !
-----------------------
 - On the PUNISHMENT OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE :
----------------------
 -  On Gongadze's murder case, Ukranian Authorities already arrested and condemned, at least 2 suspects, to 12 and 13 Years of jail. And on Politkovskaya's murder at least 2 suspects are judged, and a 3rd one "wanted".

On the contrary, on Adali's murder case, the Turkish authorities simply claim that "it had not been possible to obtain new .. information .. on the basis of which criminal charges could be brought against ANY person" !...

Moreover,  a LETTER sent by Turkey ...2 Years after CoE's 2006 call to re-investigate anew Adali's murder case, is totally EMPTY of Facts ! As Cypus' Delegation denounced earlier, Turkey's Letter ONLY CLAIMS that a "New Investigation" was made without any result, but does NOT even cite ANY FACT to prove it :

F.ex.,on the crucial issue of the "MOTIVATIONS" behind Adali's murder, noted by ECHR, Turkey MERELY CLAIMS that "all allegations  were investigated; without result", but OMITS ANY FACT TO PROVE IT !..(It doesn't even remind which were these "allegations").. .

+ On ECHR's astonishment that the Turkish Occupation regime didn't produce any "BALLISTIC REPORT" on the Shots which murdered Adali, Turkey again repeats, 12 years later, that, still, even until now, "it  was not possible to obtain the BalisticReport"...

- As for the astonishing absence of key-WITNESSES' Testimonies, denounced by ECHR, Turkey agains repeats various pretexts avoiding to reveal anything, (Fex. that a person "left" the Occupied Territories  "on 2002", or that another witness was heard, but without revealing nothing of what he said, etc).

Turkey obviously "FAILS TO MEET THE CRITICISM made BY THE COURT" for lack of any efficient Investigation in Adali's case, concluded Cyprus' Government.
---------------------------------------------
Replying to our Question which COMPARED these 3 outstanding cases of "JOURNALISTS MURDERS", Adali, Gongadze and Politkovskaya, in order to avoid "Double Standards" by asking from Ukraine and Russia more than what is asked EU candidate Turkey, many European personalities were critical /

They criticised Ankara's recent claim at the CoE to stop investigating, because it would be "impossible to find anyone" responsible for the 5 bullet shots which killed Kutlu ADALI in front of his Family Home, contrary to the other two Journalists' murders, where Ukraine and Russia at least arrested the executants, searching now for the instigators :
----------------------------------

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    - "Where was that ? In Turkish Occupied Cyprus ? WITHOUT ANY DOUBT : Any murder of Journalist should be investigated in full ! All these Murders must be investigated !", replied the famous SAKHAROV's wife, Elena BONNER to our question on Adali's case, compared to Gongadze and Politofskaya.

    Elena Bonner spoke us EXCLUSIVELY shortly after being honored by the President
of EU Parliament on the occasion of 20 Years of her husband's SAKHAROV Prize.

    A strong personality, Sakharov's wife even had to struggle against an anonymous EU staffer who, astonishingly, tried to stop her speaking when h heard our question on "Turkey" (!) : - "Please, let me translate, she continues
speaking, don't stop us !", had to cry Sakharov's daughter, (a Journalist
herself), who was translating her mothers' reply, (obliged to speak louder to
make her voice heard despite the harassment).. (= + Audio Proof !)

    Earlier, Elena Bonner also fustigated "Double Standards" at another case, on
Western countries' attitude vis a vis Kosovo and the Kurds : -F.ex. "You have
recognized a few 400.000 Kosovars as an "independent" country, but you still
deny that to 30 millions of Kurds in Turkey !", she denounced.
-----------------------------
    - "This (ADALI's murder) is an issue which should be pursued by the Committee
for Human Rights. That's why we have one, and it's its duty to examine cases of
Journalists' murders as the one you referred to. You should bring the case in
front of that Committee", suggested in reply to our question on Adali, EU
Parliament's President, German MEP Hans Gert POETTERING.

    - "It's impossible  to achieve goals of PEACE, if HUMAN RIGHTS are left out :
in fact, Peace and Human Rights are intrinsequaly linked", added POETTERING.
--------------------------------------
    + "For us (European/International Federation of Journalists) it's clear :
Whenever a Journalist is Murdered, the Investigation should continue until
those Responsible are found !", replied earlier to another question on ADALI
EFJ/IFJ's Secretary General, Aidan WHITE.

    Speaking as a matter of General Principle, White asked us for "concrete data"
on the execution of ECHR's judgement on Adali case, in order to "look at it in
depth" and "make a formal statement", in comparison with the other Murdered
Journalist case, also pending at CoE's  Ministers for completing its execution,
on Ukranian Gongadze.
----------------------------------------------------
     From EU Rapporteur on Human Rights, vice-President of EU Parliament Liberties' Committee, MEP Giusto CATANIA, we were told that, since there is an ECHR judgement in both Adali and Gongadge's cases, "Turkey must naturally execute the judgement and make a full and efficient investigation, until those responsible for the Journalist's murder are found and punished".

    Even if "we (Catania's "EuroLeft" Group) support Turkey's EU perspectives, this does not mean that Ankara should not behave properly. On the contrary, it means that they have to meet tough conditions, particularly on Human Rights", was added on the occasion of Adali's murder case.

    Moreover, "since you raise the issue of Mr. Adali's muder as a part of a Series of Journalist's murders, including fex. Gongadze, Politkovskaya, ao., tthen we (EU) could also act together with CoE's Commissioner on Human Rights, Thomas HAMMARBERG, it was suggested.

    - "We (EU) must step up efforts against the problem of IMPUNITY : Real Peace cannot exist without Justice",  stressed also this week at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, French Minister on Human Rights, Mrs Rama YADE.
------------------------
                     

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