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Germany Politics

Looking at the state of British politics, where politicians are branded “traitors” and judges called “enemies of the people”, with Tony Blair's former chief of staff.
www.bbc.co.uk | 7/12/19
A newly released German government intelligence report for 2018 finds a high level of danger from ISIS returnees.
www.foxnews.com | 7/9/19
Until now, payments to Holocaust survivors stopped when they died — often leaving their spouses without a major source of income. The German government has now agreed for the first time to extend compensation.
www.dw.com | 7/2/19
Vonovia is not concerned the 10% rent freeze planned by Berlin's city government for the next five years will dampen profit forecasts. But it did warn that money for renovations could be spent elsewhere.
www.dw.com | 6/25/19
The U.N. envoy for Afghanistan says all peace efforts including a new initiative by Germany and Qatar for talks among Afghans must be directed at starting formal negotiations between the government and the Taliban.
www.foxnews.com | 6/19/19
Ending foreign influence on Muslim religious leaders' education is a long-term goal for the German government. A new study might lead the way for training local imams, if all parties involved are willing to participate.
www.dw.com | 6/18/19

Only one flag flies over Hell, Michigan, and it’s the pride flag, according to rapper Elijah Daniel. The comedian-turned-musician said that he purchased the unincorporated town Monday, and that his first order of business was to change the town’s name to “Gay Hell” as a protest to the Trump Administration.

“I am now the owner of Hell, Michigan. I bought the whole town. And my first act as owner, I have renamed my town to Gay Hell,” Daniel said on Twitter. The gay rapper, who uses the stage name Lil Phag, said he was inspired to purchase Gay Hell after the State Department denied U.S. embassies and consulates’ requests to fly rainbow flags during Pride Month this year.

Also Read: Gay Hollywood: 41 Out and Proud LGBT Stars (Photos)

Daniel previously served as mayor of Hell for one day in 2017 and proclaimed a ban on straight people. The town’s website says that anyone can pay $100 to be “mayor for a day” in a package that includes a T-shirt, devil horns and a deed of ownership to one square inch of the town. 

The comedian, who announced his own brand of “gay weed” earlier in the month, bought the mayor title for three days, which allowed him to temporarily change the town name, local business owner John Colone told Mashable.

In his first hours as mayor, Daniel tweeted: “Gay Hell, Mi has everything. A library, a place to lock your love in Gay Hell and even a WEDDING CHAPEL TO GET GAY MARRIED IN HELL!” he wrote.

Also Read: 'The Lavender Scare' Film Review: Doc Explores Government's Pre-Stonewall Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination

He also specified that in Gay Hell, the only flags that can be flown are rainbow flags. In early June, three American diplomats told NBC News that embassies’ requests to display pride flags on their official flagpoles were denied by the Trump Administration. Embassy officials in Israel, Germany, Brazil and Latvia were among those who requested permission, according to NBC. Embassies were given blanket permission to fly the pride flag during June under the Obama Administration.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Pose' Renewed for Season 3 at FX

LGBTQ Hollywood: 18 Stars Who've Come Out Since Last Year's Pride (Photos)

'Arthur' Season Premiere Reveals Mr Ratburn Is Gay

www.thewrap.com | 6/18/19
The annual Weapons Export Report registered a 23% drop compared with 2017 according to media sources. The government says the decrease is a sign of Germany's "restrictive and responsible weapons export policy."
www.dw.com | 6/13/19
State premiers in eastern Germany want to end crippling sanctions against Russia. With the far-right Alternative for Germany gaining ground in the east, that position has more to do with politics than anything else.
www.dw.com | 6/11/19
Ruling parties in Germany performed badly in the recent EU vote, prompting speculation that Angela Merkel's government could fall. A new opinion poll shows Germans want the CSU/CDU and the SPD to stay together.
www.dw.com | 6/11/19
The leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right party is warning that Germans risk ending up with a left-wing government if they vote for the Greens, who surged in last month's European Parliament election and are now level with or ahead of Merkel's Union bloc in several polls.
www.foxnews.com | 6/9/19
After lampooning Germany's traditional parties in the EU elections, the satirical party "Die Partei" is sending two representatives to Brussels. But when things get serious, where do the jokes end and the politics start?
www.dw.com | 6/7/19
The German government is underlining its position that the question of World War II reparations to Greece has been settled, after Athens asked Berlin to enter talks on paying compensation.
www.foxnews.com | 6/5/19
The Greek government says it has asked Germany to enter negotiations regarding Athens' claim for reparations from the two world wars. Germany hasn't been willing to reopen talks, saying the issue was settled long ago.
www.dw.com | 6/4/19
Greece's government says it has asked Germany to enter talks on paying huge reparations Athens claims Greece is owed from World War I and World War II.
www.foxnews.com | 6/4/19
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending her government's advocacy of creating "European champions" in business in the face of sharp criticism from the country's main industry lobby group.
www.foxnews.com | 6/4/19
The resignation of Social Democratic leader Andrea Nahles reveals the drastic toll that long-term problems have taken on Germany's oldest political party. Part of the SPD's woes lie with Angela Merkel's government.
www.dw.com | 6/3/19
Leaders of Germany's junior governing party are meeting to consider the way forward after its leader quit abruptly, raising new questions about the future of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government.
www.foxnews.com | 6/3/19
Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators peacefully marched in Berlin amid a struggle to define the line between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. The government urged people to show support for Jews and Israel.
www.dw.com | 6/1/19
Frankurt (Oder) picked a Left mayor in 2018. In the EU elections, however, the voters went the opposite direction, opting for the far-right Alternative for Germany party. Why? DW’s Marcel Fürstenau went to find out.
www.dw.com | 5/31/19
Germany's interior minister has said in an interview that he can't "trust" populists like Italian counterpart Matteo Salvini. He also said that he would retire from politics at the next election, like Chancellor Merkel.
www.dw.com | 5/30/19
The special committee met in Berlin to discuss future climate action after the issue featured prominently in Sunday's EU elections. But critics say the government is dragging its feet on an urgent topic.
www.dw.com | 5/30/19
That the German government's anti-Semitism commissioner advised Jews against wearing a yarmulke is a scandal. If Felix Klein is right, then German society has a fundamental problem, writes Michel Friedman.
www.dw.com | 5/29/19
Members of the Yazidi minority in Germany are taking the federal government to court. They say Berlin isn't doing enough to bring German "Islamic State" supporters captured in Syria to justice.
www.dw.com | 5/29/19
Germany's political establishment has not adapted to the pivot to politics by social media stars. The failure to tune in to younger generations was likely a reason why mainstream parties lost significant votes last week.
www.dw.com | 5/28/19
Angela Merkel has admitted that anti-Semitism is a problem in Germany — just as the country's government was forced to backtrack over comments it made about Jewish people wearing their religious skullcaps in public.
www.foxnews.com | 5/28/19
In Germany, at least, Europe-friendly parties are the winners of the EU vote. However, the SPD's defeat is so devastating that it puts Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition in danger, writes DW’s Editor-in-Chief, Ines Pohl.
www.dw.com | 5/26/19
The German government is to send a high-level diplomat to Tehran as tensions between the US and Iran intensify, threatening a prolonged conflict.
www.dw.com | 5/23/19
Until 20 years ago, wolves had been wiped out in Germany. The population is growing again. When can farmers shoot them? And how can they be protected? The government has come up with new rules.
www.dw.com | 5/22/19

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Holger Michael and his wife Hilary recently hosted Government officials, diplomats, honorary Consuls and other guests to a reception marking the 70th anniversary...

www.nationnews.com | 5/19/19
More than 6 million adults in Germany struggle when it comes to reading and writing simple texts in German, a new study has found. Education campaigners say the government needs to do more to promote reading at home.
www.dw.com | 5/7/19
Complaining about the costs, the head of telecoms giant Vodafone in Germany has called on the government to invest in "last mile" broadband connections. Germany has been slow to speed up its internet networks.
www.dw.com | 5/5/19
Over half of the 24,000 far-right extremists in Germany are potentially violent, the Interior Ministry has said. The opposition FDP wants extremists tracked where they communicate: in online game platforms.
www.dw.com | 5/3/19
Germany's independent Digital Council is looking for answers to the digital future. One of the group's members tells DW why Germany is already on the right path, despite the country being known for its bureaucracy.
www.dw.com | 5/3/19

Phillip Youmans’ “Burning Cane” took home the Founders Award for best narrative feature at the 18th annual Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday, with star Wendell Pierce earning Best Actor. Youmans is the first African-American director to win the Founders Award and the youngest director to have a feature in Tribeca – he wrote, directed and shot the film at age 17.

Korean director Bora Kim’s “House of Hummingbird” won for best international narrative feature, and Ji-hu Park won best international actress.

In addition, Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin won for their documentary feature “Scheme Birds.”

Here’s the complete list of winners.

Also Read: 'XY Chelsea' Film Review: Doc Tackles Chelsea Manning's Very In-Progress Story

U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 U.S. Narrative Competition were Lucy Alibar, Jonathan Ames, Cory Hardrict, Dana Harris, and Jenny Lumet.

Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature – “Burning Cane,” directed by Phillip Youmans. The winner receives $20,000, sponsored by AT&T, and the art award “Bloom” by Fred Tomaselli.

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Haley Bennett in “Swallow”
Jury special mention: “For her always surprising and deeply engaging work in “Stray Dolls,” Geetanjali Thapi.

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Wendell Pierce in “Burning Cane”

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Phillip Youmans for “Burning Cane.”
Special Jury mention: For work that took us to the icy coasts and sweltering kitchens of rural Maine, Todd Banhazl for “Blow the Man Down.”

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film – Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy for “Blow the Man Down.”  The winner receives $2,500. Special jury mention: “To a story of a woman finding her biological family and her logical family on the highway, Ani Simon-Kennedy for “The Short History of the Long Road.”

Also Read: 'Framing John DeLorean' Review: Meta-Doc Takes Various Tracks to Explore What Drove the Carmaker

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 International Narrative Competition were Gbenga Akinnagbe, Angela Bassett, Baltasar Kormákur, Rebecca Miller, and Steve Zaillian.

Best International Narrative Feature – “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed and written by Bora Kim. The winner receives $20,000 and the art award “Easter” by Eddie Kang. J

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ji-hu Park in “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA).

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film – Ali Atay in “Noah Land.”

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film – Cinematography by Kang Gook-hyun for “House of Hummingbird (Beol-sae)” (South Korea, USA) directed by Bora Kim.

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film – “Noah Land (Nuh Tepesi)” written by Cenk Ertürk (Germany, Turkey, USA). The winner receives $2,500.

Also Read: 'The Kill Team' Film Review: Nat Wolff's Soldier Has a Crisis of Conscience in Afghanistan

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 Documentary Competition were Drake Doremus, Robert Greene, Julie Goldman, Andrew LaVallee, and Cheryl McDonough.

Best Documentary Feature – “Scheme Birds “(Scotland, Sweden) directed and written by Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $20,000, and the art award “Oil Lotus Woman” by Shepard Fairey. J

Best Cinematography in a Documentary Film – Cinematography by Yang Sun, “Shuang Liang for Our Time Machine” (China) directed by Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang. The winner receives $2,500.

Best Editing in a Documentary Film – Editing by Jennifer Tiexiera for “17 Blocks” (USA) directed by Davy Rothbart.  The winner receives $2,500. Special Jury mention: “This brave film uses editing to reveal narrative layers that weren’t immediately apparent, challenging and surprising viewers along the way. The special jury mention goes to ‘Rewind.'”

Also Read: 'Woodstock' Film Review: Anniversary Doc Takes Boomers on an Evocative Trip Down Memory Lane

BEST NEW NARRATIVE DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jurors for the 2019 Best New Narrative Director Competition were Stephen Kay, Bill Keith, Justin Long, Piper Perabo, and Mélita Toscan du Plantier.

Best New Narrative Director – “The Gasoline Thieves (Huachicolero)” (Mexico, Spain, UK, USA) directed by Edgar Nito. The winner receives $10,000, and the art award “Love Trap” by Walter Robinson.

BEST NEW DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR COMPETITION:

The jurors for the 2019 Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award were David Cross, Orlando von Einsiedel, and Kathrine Narducci.

Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award – “Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden) directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin. The winner receives $10,000 sponsored by CNN Films, and the art award “Indigo Rocket Over Tribeca” by Stephen Hannock.

THE NORA EPHRON AWARD

The jurors for the 2019 Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, were Debra Messing, Chloë Sevigny, and DeWanda Wise.

The Nora Ephron Award – Rania Attieh for “Initials S.G. (Iniciales S.G.)” (Argentina, Lebanon, USA) directed by Rania Attieh, Daniel Garcia. Rania receives $25,000, sponsored by CHANEL, and the art award “Alison the Lacemaker” by Swoon.

SHORT FILM COMPETITION CATEGORIES:

The jurors for the 2019 Narrative Short Competition and Animated sections were Maureen Dowd, Topher Grace, Rosalind Lichter, Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Phoebe Robinson, and Jeff Scher.

Best Narrative Short – “Maja” (Denmark) directed by Marijana Jankovic. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Amy Sillman” by Amy Sillman.

Special Jury Mention: “The Dishwasher “directed and written by Nick Hartanto, Sam Roden.

Shorts Animation Award – “My Mother’s Eyes” (UK) directed and written by Jenny Wright. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Balloon Dog, Magneta” by Jeff Koons.

The jurors for the 2019 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competitions were Dr. Kevin Cahill, David Krumholtz, Kathy Najimy, Sheila Nevins, Agunda Okeyo, Aaron Rodgers, and Buster Scher.

Best Documentary Short – “Learning To Skateboard In a Warzone (If You’re A Girl)” (UK) directed by Carol Dysinger. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “28 Millimeters, Portrait of a Generation” by JR. Special Jury Mention: “An unflinching and delicate portrait of a loving father with a haunted past who bravely decides to stand up to the powers that be in Ferguson, Missouri in St. Louis Superman.”

Student Visionary Award – “Jebel Banat” (Egypt) directed and written by Sharine Atif. The winner receives $5,000 sponsored by Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, and the art award “Chrysler Building” by Jane Dickson.
Special Jury mention: “Set in rural China, this stunningly cinematic short Pearl (Zhen Zhu) follows the strife of a small family down a path of rupture and loss.”

STORYSCAPES AWARD

The 2019 Storyscapes Award, presented by AT&T, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology, jurors were Lisa Osborne, Paul Smalera, and Adaora Udoji.

Storyscapes Award – “The Key” (USA, Iraq), created by Celine Tricart.  The winner receives $10,000, presented by AT&T.

TRIBECA X AWARD

Previously awarded last week were the 2019 Tribeca X Awards, sponsored by PwC. Tribeca X recognizes excellence in storytelling at the intersection of advertising and entertainment. The jurors were Nabil Elderkin, Kim Gehrig, Jason Kreher, Kinjil Mathur, Patrick Milling-Smith, and John Osborn.

Feature

The winner of the Best Feature Film was awarded to “Almost Human” for The Carlsberg Foundation. Directed by Jeppe Rønde.

Short

The winner of the Best Short Film was awarded to “The Face of Distracted Driving” for AT&T. Directed by Errol Morris for BBDO New York.

Episodic

The winner of the Best Episodic Film was awarded to “History of Memory” for HP. Directed by Sarah Klein and Tom Mason for Redglass Pictures, The Garage by HP.

VR

The winner of the Best VR Film was awarded to “The 100%” by Stand Up to Cancer, HP and Intel. Directed by Hernan Barangan for Springbok Entertainment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Apollo' Launches Tribeca Film Festival With a Look at a Theater, a Community – and Politics

Old Photos Change Lives Forever in Tribeca Doc Trailer 'History of Memory' (Exclusive Video)

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro to Reunite for Career-Spanning Tribeca Talk

www.thewrap.com | 5/3/19
Seven Saudi soldiers are to receive officer's training from the German military starting in July. But some lawmakers have accused the German government of turning a blind eye to Saudi's brutal campaign in Yemen.
www.dw.com | 4/29/19
Lindner helped the FDP return to Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in the 2017 elections. But he turned down an opportunity to form a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel after the vote.
www.dw.com | 4/27/19
A new study has found that residents in Germany's south have twice as much disposable income as those in the north and east. Experts have called on the federal government to act.
www.dw.com | 4/24/19
An Afghan refugee in Germany has unsuccesfully sued for compensation after being held in prison for 27 days. Both the federal government and the state of Bavaria have been absolved of wrongdoing.
www.dw.com | 4/18/19
As Germany cut its growth forecast again for 2019, the government is set to boost company research and development. Both big and small companies would be able to claim annual bonuses.
www.dw.com | 4/18/19
The far-right AfD insists on subverting the German government's official stance on Crimea. But experts say that has less to do with regional peace efforts than with the spread of populism in Germany.
www.dw.com | 4/17/19
German authorities have indicted a Sri Lankan man suspected of involvement in killing 15 captured government soldiers while fighting for the Tamil Tigers rebel group.
www.foxnews.com | 4/12/19
The German government is expected to send unarmed soldiers and police to oversee a ceasefire in Hodeida. Yemen's civil war has killed tens of thousands and sparked a humanitarian crisis, with German arms playing a role.
www.dw.com | 4/9/19
German political leaders disagree on whether the government should tackle soaring rents in big cities by expropriating housing. One conservative politician says the proposal smacks of East Germany-style socialism.
www.dw.com | 4/8/19
The German government has called a UN summit after Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar advanced on Libya's capital. There are fears that Haftar intends to overthrow the UN-backed state and establish an authoritarian government.
www.dw.com | 4/5/19
In an effort to curb foreign influence and foster integration, the German government is pressing for imams to be educated locally, in Germany. Are German Muslim communities willing to back the idea? DW investigates.
www.dw.com | 4/5/19
A special government inquiry on child sex abuse in Germany has demanded more dialogue on the subject after presenting its findings in Berlin. More than 80 percent of victims who spoke to the inquiry were women.
www.dw.com | 4/4/19

James (Jon) Castle - 7 December 1950 to 12 January 2018

Over four decades Captain Jon Castle navigated Greenpeace ships by the twin stars of ‘right and wrong’, defending the environment and promoting peace. Greenpeace chronicler, Rex Weyler, recounts a few of the stories that made up an extraordinary life.

Captain Jon Castle onboard the MV Sirius, 1 May 1996

James (Jon) Castle first opened his eyes virtually at sea. He was born 7 December 1950 in Cobo Bay on the Channel Island of Guernsey, UK. He grew up in a house known locally as Casa del Mare, the closest house on the island to the sea, the second son of Robert Breedlove Castle and Mary Constance Castle. 

Young Jon Castle loved the sea and boats. He worked on De Ile de Serk, a cargo boat that supplied nearby Sark island, and he studied at the University of Southampton to become an officer in the Merchant Navy. 

Jon became a beloved skipper of Greenpeace ships. He sailed on many campaigns and famously skippered two ships during Greenpeace’s action against Shell’s North Sea oil platform, Brent Spar. During his activist career, Jon spelt his name as "Castel" to avoid unwanted attention on his family.

Right and wrong

Jon had two personal obsessions: he loved books and world knowledge and was extremely well-read.  He also loved sacred sites and spent personal holidays walking to stone circles, standing stones, and holy wells.  

As a young man, Jon became acquainted with the Quaker tradition, drawn by their dedication to peace, civil rights, and direct social action. In 1977, when Greenpeace purchased their first ship - the Aberdeen trawler renamed, the Rainbow Warrior - Jon signed on as first mate, working with skipper Peter Bouquet and activists Susi Newborn, Denise Bell and Pete Wilkinson.

In 1978, Wilkinson and Castle learned of the British government dumping radioactive waste at sea in the deep ocean trench off the coast of Spain in the Sea of Biscay. In July, the Rainbow Warrior followed the British ship, Gem, south from the English coast, carrying a load of toxic, radioactive waste barrels. The now-famous confrontation during which the Gem crew dropped barrels onto a Greenpeace inflatable boat, ultimately changed maritime law and initiated a ban on toxic dumping at sea.

After being arrested by Spanish authorities, Castle and Bouquet staged a dramatic escape from La Coru?a harbour at night, without running lights, and returned the Greenpeace ship to action. Crew member Simone Hollander recalls, as the ship entered Dublin harbour in 1978, Jon cheerfully insisting that the entire crew help clean the ship's bilges before going ashore, an action that not only built camaraderie among the crew, but showed a mariner's respect for the ship itself. In 1979, they brought the ship to Amsterdam and participated in the first Greenpeace International meeting.

In 1980 Castle and the Rainbow Warrior crew confronted Norwegian and Spanish whaling ships, were again arrested by Spanish authorities, and brought into custody in the El Ferrol naval base.

The Rainbow Warrior remained in custody for five months, as the Spanish government demanded 10 million pesetas to compensate the whaling company. On the night of November 8, 1980, the Rainbow Warrior, with Castle at the helm, quietly escaped the naval base, through the North Atlantic, and into port in Jersey.

In 1995, Castle skippered the MV Greenpeace during the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific and led a flotilla into New Zealand to replace the original Rainbow Warrior that French agents bombed in Auckland in 1985.

Over the years, Castle became legendary for his maritime skills, courage, compassion, commitment, and for his incorruptible integrity. "Environmentalism: That does not mean a lot to me," he once said, "I am here because of what is right and wrong. Those words are good enough for me."

Brent Spar   Action at Brent Spar Oil Rig in the North Sea, 16 June 1995

One of the most successful Greenpeace campaigns of all time began in the summer of 1995 when Shell Oil announced a plan to dump a floating oil storage tank, containing toxic petroleum residue, into the North Atlantic. Castle signed on as skipper of the Greenpeace vessel Moby Dick, out of Lerwick, Scotland. A month later, on 30 April 1995, Castle and other activists occupied the Brent Spar and called for a boycott of Shell service stations.

When Shell security and British police sprayed the protesters with water cannons, images flooded across world media, demonstrations broke out across Europe, and on May 15, at the G7 summit, German chancellor Helmut Kohl publicly protested to British Prime Minister John Major. In June, 11 nations, at the Oslo and Paris Commission meetings, called for a moratorium on sea disposal of offshore installations.

After three weeks, British police managed to evict Castle and the other occupiers and held them briefly in an Aberdeen jail. When Shell and the British government defied public sentiment and began towing the Spar to the disposal site, consumers boycotted Shell stations across Europe. Once released, Castle took charge of the chartered Greenpeace vessel Altair and continued to pursue the Brent Spar towards the dumping ground. Castle called on the master of another Greenpeace ship, fitted with a helideck, to alter course and rendezvous with him. Using a helicopter, protesters re-occupied the Spar and cut the wires to the detonators of scuppering charges.

One of the occupiers, young recruit Eric Heijselaar, recalls: "One of the first people I met as I climbed on board was a red-haired giant of a man grinning broadly at us. My first thought was that he was a deckhand, or maybe the bosun. So I asked if he knew whether a cabin had been assigned to me yet. He gave me a lovely warm smile, and reassured me that, yes, a cabin had been arranged. At dinner I found out that he was Jon Castle, not a deckhand, not the bosun, but the captain. And what a captain!"

With activists occupying the Spar once again, Castle and the crew kept up their pursuit when suddenly the Spar altered course, heading towards Norway. Shell had given up. The company announced that Brent Spar would be cleaned out and used as a foundation for a new ferry terminal. Three years later, in 1998, the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) passed a ban on dumping oil installations into the North Sea.

"There was no question among the crew who had made this possible, who had caused this to happen," Heijselaar recalls. "It was Jon Castle. His quiet enthusiasm and the trust he put into people made this crew one of the best I ever saw. He always knew exactly what he wanted out of a campaign, how to gain momentum, and he always found the right words to explain his philosophies. He was that rare combination, both a mechanic and a mystic. And above all he was a very loving, kind human being."

Moruroa

After the Brent Spar campaign, Castle returned to the South Pacific on the Rainbow Warrior II, to obstruct a proposed French nuclear test in the Moruroa atoll. Expecting the French to occupy their ship, Castle and engineer, Luis Manuel Pinto da Costa, rigged the steering mechanism to be controlled from the crow's-nest. When French commandos boarded the ship, Castle stationed himself in the crow's-nest, cut away the access ladder and greased the mast so that the raiders would have difficulty arresting him.

Eventually, the commandos cut a hole into the engine-room and severed cables controlling the engine, radio, and steering mechanism, making Castle's remote control system worthless. They towed the Rainbow Warrior II to the island of Hao, as three other protest vessels arrived. 

Three thousand demonstrators gathered in the French port of Papeete, demanding that France abandon the tests. Oscar Temaru - leader of Tavini Huiraatira, an anti-nuclear, pro-independence party - who had been aboard the Rainbow Warrior II when it was raided, welcomed anti-testing supporters from Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Canada, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Philippines, and American Samoa. Eventually, France ended their tests, and atmospheric nuclear testing in the world's oceans stopped once and for all.

“Moral courage”

Through these extraordinary missions, Jon Castle advocated "self-reflection" not only for individual activists, but for the organisation that he loved. Activists, Castle maintained, required "moral courage." He cautioned, "Don't seek approval. Someone has to be way out in front... illuminating territory in advance of the main body of thought."

He opposed "corporatism" in activist organisations and urged Greenpeace to avoid becoming "over-centralised or compartmentalised."  He felt that activist decisions should emerge from the actions themselves, not in an office. We can't fight industrialism with "money, numbers, and high-tech alone," he once wrote in a personal manifesto. Organisations have to avoid traps of "self-perpetuation" and focus on the job "upsetting powerful forces, taking on multinationals and the military-industrial complex."

He recalled that Greenpeace had become popular "because a gut message came through to the thirsty hearts of poor suffering people ... feeling the destruction around them."  Activists, Castle felt, required "freedom of expression, spontaneity [and] an integrated lifestyle."  An activist organisation should foster a "feeling of community" and exhibit "moral courage." Castle felt that social change activists had to "question the materialistic, consumerist lifestyle that drives energy overuse, the increasingly inequitable world economic tyranny that creates poverty and drives environmental degradation," and must maintain "honour, courage and the creative edge."

Well loved hero

Susi Newborn, who was there to welcome Jon aboard the Rainbow Warrior way back in 1977, and who gave the ship its name, wrote about her friend with whom she felt "welded at the heart: He was a Buddhist and a vegetarian and had an earring in his ear. He liked poetry and classical music and could be very dark, but also very funny. Once, I cut his hair as he downed a bottle or two of rum reciting The Second Coming by Yeats."

Newborn recalls Castle insisting that women steer the ships in and out of port because, "they got it right, were naturals." She recalls a night at sea, Castle "lashed to the wheel facing one of the biggest storms of last century head on. I was flung about my cabin like a rag doll until I passed out. We never talked about the storm, as if too scared to summon up the behemoth we had encountered. A small handwritten note pinned somewhere in the mess, the sole acknowledgment of a skipper to his six-person crew: ‘Thank You.’” Others remember Castle as the Greenpeace captain that could regularly be found in the galley doing kitchen duty.

In 2008, with the small yacht Musichana, Castle and Pete Bouquet staged a two-man invasion of Diego Garcia island to protest the American bomber base there and the UK's refusal to allow evicted Chagos Islanders to return to their homes. They anchored in the lagoon and radioed the British Indian Ocean Territories officials on the island to tell them they and the US Air Force were acting in breach of international law and United Nations resolutions. When arrested, Castle politely lectured his captors on their immoral and illegal conduct.

In one of his final actions, as he battled with his failing health, Castle helped friends in Scotland operate a soup kitchen, quietly prepping food and washing up behind the scenes.  

Upon hearing of his passing, Greenpeace ships around the world - the Arctic Sunrise, the Esperanza, and the Rainbow Warrior - flew their flags at half mast.

Jon is fondly remembered by his brother David, ex-wife Caroline, their son, Morgan Castle, born in 1982, and their daughter, Eowyn Castle, born in 1984. Morgan has a daughter of eight months Flora, and and Eowyn has a daughter, Rose, who is 2.   

The Federal Republic of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic, based on representative democracy. The Chancellor is the head of government, while the President of Germany is the head of state which holds a ceremonial role but substantial reserve powers. Executive power is vested in the Federal Cabinet (Bundesregierung), and federal legislative power is vested in the Bundestag (the parliament of Germany) and the Bundesrat (the representative body of the regional states). There is a multi-party system that, since 1949, has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The judiciary of Germany is independent of the executive and the legislature. The political system is laid out in the 1949 constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law), which remained in effect with minor amendments after 1990's German reunification. The constitution emphasises the protection of individual liberty in an extensive catalogue of human rights and also divides powers both between the federal and state levels and between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. In many ways, the 1949 Basic Law is a response to the perceived flaws of the 1919 Weimar Constitution, which did not prevent the rise of the Nazi party in 1933.


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