Schlagwort-Archive: war crimes

In einem offenen Brief haben sich mehrere hundert Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aus Russland für den Frieden ausgesprochen. Wir unterstützen sie und ihr Engagement und dokumentieren daher ihren Appell für den Frieden.

Wir, russische Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftsjournalisten, protestieren nachdrücklich gegen die von den Streitkräften unseres Landes eingeleitete Militäraktion in der Ukraine. Dieser fatale Schritt führt zu enormen Verlusten an Menschenleben und untergräbt die Grundlagen des etablierten Systems der internationalen Sicherheit. Die Verantwortung für die Entfesselung eines neuen Krieges in Europa liegt allein bei Russland. Es gibt keine vernünftige Rechtfertigung für diesen Krieg.

Versuche, die Lage im Donbass als Vorwand für eine Militäroperation zu nutzen, sind nicht glaubwürdig. Es ist klar, dass die Ukraine keine Bedrohung für die Sicherheit unseres Landes darstellt. Ein Krieg gegen sie ist unfair und offen gesagt sinnlos. Die Ukraine war und ist ein Land, das uns nahe steht. Viele von uns haben Verwandte, Freunde und Kollegen in der Ukraine. Unsere Väter, Großväter und Urgroßväter haben gemeinsam gegen den Nationalsozialismus gekämpft.

Die Entfesselung des Krieges für die geopolitischen Ambitionen der russischen Führung, getrieben von zweifelhaften geschichtspolitischen Phantasien, ist ein zynischer Verrat an ihrer Erinnerung. Wir respektieren die ukrainische Staatlichkeit, die sich auf wirklich funktionierende demokratische Institutionen stützt. Wir haben Verständnis für die europäische Entscheidung unserer Nachbarn. Wir sind überzeugt, dass alle Probleme in den Beziehungen zwischen unseren Ländern friedlich gelöst werden können.

Durch die Entfesselung des Krieges hat sich Russland selbst zur internationalen Isolation, zur Position eines Pariastaates verurteilt. Das bedeutet, dass wir Wissenschaftler nicht mehr in der Lage sein werden, unsere Arbeit richtig zu machen: Wissenschaftliche Forschung ist ohne eine umfassende Zusammenarbeit mit Kollegen aus anderen Ländern nicht denkbar. Die Isolierung Russlands von der Welt bedeutet eine weitere kulturelle und technologische Degradierung unseres Landes, die keine positiven Perspektiven bietet. Ein Krieg mit der Ukraine ist ein Schritt ins Leere.

Wir sind uns bitter bewusst, dass unser Land, das entscheidend zum Sieg über den Nationalsozialismus beigetragen hat, nun zum Anstifter eines neuen Krieges auf dem europäischen Kontinent geworden ist. Wir fordern die sofortige Einstellung aller Militäraktionen gegen die Ukraine. Wir fordern die Achtung der Souveränität und territorialen Integrität des ukrainischen Staates. Wir fordern Frieden für unsere Länder.

Englische Fassung

Englische Fassung:

We, Russian scientists and scientific journalists, strongly protest against the hostilities launched by the armed forces of our country on the territory of Ukraine. This fatal step leads to huge losses of human life and undermines the foundations of the established system of international security. The responsibility for unleashing a new war in Europe lies entirely with Russia.

There is no rational justification for this war. Attempts to use the situation in Donbass as a pretext for launching a military operation are not credible. It is clear that Ukraine does not pose a threat to the security of our country. The war against it is unfair and, frankly, senseless.

Ukraine has been, and remains, a country close to us. Many of us have relatives, friends and colleagues living in Ukraine. Our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought together against Nazism. Unleashing a war for the sake of the geopolitical ambitions of the leadership of the Russian Federation, driven by dubious historiosophical fantasies, is a cynical betrayal of their memory.

We respect Ukrainian statehood, which is based on really working democratic institutions. We treat the European choice of our neighbours with understanding. We are convinced that all problems in relations between our countries can be resolved peacefully.

Having unleashed the war, Russia has condemned itself to international isolation, to the position of a pariah country. This means that we scientists will no longer be able to do our work properly: scientific research is inconceivable without full cooperation with colleagues from other countries. The isolation of Russia from the world means a further cultural and technological degradation of our country, in the complete absence of positive prospects. War with Ukraine is a step to nowhere.

We are bitterly aware that our country, which made a decisive contribution to the victory over Nazism, has now become the instigator of a new war on the European continent. We demand an immediate halt to all military operations directed against Ukraine. We demand respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian state. We demand peace for our countries.

Das Original:

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Upside-down world: whistleblowers are punished and tortured, the mass murderers walk around free


The author, Gerd Michael Müller, born in Zürich in 1962, traveled as a photo-journalist to more than 50 nations and lived in seven countries, including in the underground in South Africa during apartheid. In the 80 years he was a political activist at the youth riots in Zürich. Then he was involved in pioneering Wildlife & eco projects in Southern Africa and humanitarian projects elsewhere in the world. As early as 1993, Müller reported on the global climate change and in 1999 he founded the «Tourism & Environment Forum Switzerland». Through his humanitarian missions he got to know Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and other figures of light. His book is an exciting mixture of political thriller, crazy social stories and travel reports – the highlights of his adventurous, wild nomadic life for reportage photography .

In the course of writing my book I deliberately put the chapters online already in the draft stage to observe which stories seem to be interesting, how the search engines spread the keywords and what reactions there are to them. Well it shows the following picture in a nutshell. The grazing of the online information is mainly driven by countries like China, Russia, USA and also Iran and in no time a flood of applications for systematic monitoring of the content pours in as well as a tidal wave of pishing emails and other cyber attacks. It’s not particularly surprising but nevertheless impressive how seamlessly the Internet is being scoured today. In addition, spyware prgrams such as „PRISM“, „Tempora“ and „Boundless Informant“ come into play, as we have known since Edward Snowden. And that brings us to whistleblowers. Thanks to courageous whistleblowers like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, or Edward Snoden or investigative journalists and research networks like „Bellingcam“, some dirty tricks of despots, corrupt politicians, military operations, surveillance measures and economic crimes come to light. Fortunately, one would think. But far from it.

„Julian Assange has provided evidence of the most serious state-sanctioned crimes we torture and mass murder“ says none other than the UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer in his book „The Case of Julian Assange – History of a Persecution“. Apparently, Melzer’s visit to investigate alleged human rights violations, announced at the Ecuadorian embassy in April 2019, led to a three-day coordinated blitz by the three countries involved that enabled Assange to be extradited to the British police and has since been back in custody. First, the Ecuadorian embassy withdrew his asylum status and citizenship without due process of law, and at the same time the British government received an extradition request from the U.S. authorities, after which Assange was handed over to the British police and has been in custody ever since. Before that, he spent seven years in asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to the U.S. via Sweden. The U.S. extradition request is currently underway.

„The fact that the person who exposed mass murderers and crimes of torture against humanity should now himself be imprisoned as a criminal for 175 years, while not a single crime has been atoned for or those responsible punished,“ is evil for Europe, Melzer continues. „I didn’t think it was possible at first that Sweden or the UK would disregard human rights in such a way. But when it comes down to the wire, the rule of law doesn’t work anymore, even here in Europe. Julian Assange is, so to speak, „the skeleton in the closet of the self-righteous West.“ This has already shaken him (Melzer), although he has experienced and seen a lot as an ICRC delegate. Also the proceedings in Sweden because of alleged rape and other sexual offenses had been stopped, after Meltzer had written a letter to the Swedish government and had pointed out to them about 50 partly most serious procedural violations.

When asked whether this could also happen in Switzerland, the UN Special Rapporteur’s answer is: „Absolutely.“ He says he regularly has to approach massive discussions with the authorities in this country as well. The „crypto affair“ with the maipulated cipher devices is probably the most recent example that came to light, he said. Here, too, the Federal Council knew nothing about the affair, Parliament remained quiet and did not set up a commission of inquiry, and the judiciary did not take any action either, „which shows that the separation of powers does not always work in Switzerland either,“ says Melzer. Christoph Meili, who in 1997 made public the dormant assets of Holocaust victims and fled to the USA. Or Hervé Falciani, a former computer scientist at „HSBC“ bank in Geneva, who provided French, British and German tax authorities with data on thousands of tax cheats. Switzerland sentenced him to prison in 2015 for „economic espionage“ and demanded his extradition from Spain when Falciani was arrested in Madrid in 2018.

But back to the Assange case, he said the U.S. government’s unprecedented campaign is aimed at stalling Wikileaks‘ methods of allowing whistleblowers to anonymously publish large amounts of secret data. Seventeen of the 18 charges Assange faces in the U.S. involve mundane journalistic activities such as researching and publishing evidence of government abuse of power. „Assange himself never had a duty of secrecy,“ Melzer says. Assange is a journalist or publicist who obtained and published informa-tion. „That’s not a criminal offense,“ Melzer concludes. If he were convicted of being a spy for this, all investigative journalists worldwide could face the same in the future. That would be the end of democratic surveillance of state power. But there is hope, because under English law, no one can be extradited for a political offense. Espionage is by definition political. Last but not least, international law prohibits any extradition to a country where there is a threat of torture. This is well known to be the case in the U.S. for espionage charges.

The situation was different with Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley Manning. He leaked to WikiLeaks a U.S. military video of the July 12, 2007, airstrikes in Baghdad and more than 250,000 diplomatic dispatches. The video shows civilians being shot from U.S. gunships, including Reuters reporters, accompanied by cynical comments from the helicopter crew. On July 30, 2013, he was found guilty on 19 of 21 counts and sentenced on August 21, 2013, to 35 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Manning was released on May 17, 2017.

In 2013, Edward Snowden – a former technical employee of the US intelligence agencies NSA and CIA, who published the existence of the programs used for total surveillance of global Internet traffic. He, too, had to flee and absconded to Russia.

Reporters without Boarders  

The Trump Administration’s use of the Espionage Act could lead to Assange’s conviction and a sentence of up to 175 years in prison. This would set a dangerous precedent for all journalists who publish classified information that is of public interest.

In retaliation for his role facilitating major revelations in the international media about the way the United States conducted its wars, Assange is facing 18 charges in the US, including 17 under the Espionage Act. A UK court will consider the US extradition request starting on 24 February.

Assange’s alleged crimes date back to 2010, when the organisation he founded, WikiLeaks, transmitted documents to media outlets including Le Monde, The Guardian and The New York Times. The documents, which were provided to WikiLeaks by whistleblower Chelsea Manning,  included 250,000 US diplomatic cables and thousands of mostly classified internal US army reports about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their disclosure exposed cases of torture, abduction and disappearances*.

The publication of these documents by media outlets was clearly in the public interest, and not an act of espionage. Julian Assange’s contribution to journalism is undeniable. 

Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years, but, as a result of a change of government in Ecuador, he was released to UK authorities and arrested on 11 April 2019.

RSF urges the UK government to prioritise the principles of freedom of expression and the defence of journalism in its treatment of Assange, and to act in accordance with UK law and the country’s international human rights obligations.

RSF is concerned about Assange’s health. After visiting him in London’s Belmarsh prison on 9 May, UN special rapporteur Nils Melzer reported that Assange had been deliberately exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment that could be described as psychological torture.

Every day, news organisations rely on and publish classified information to serve the public interest. If the legal persecution of Assange continues, investigative journalism and press freedom will be the victims. 

As a matter of urgency, please sign this petition calling for the United Kingdom not to comply with the United States’ request to extradite Julian Assange. Share this appeal using the #FreeAssange hashtag!

*The “Collateral Murder” video published by WikiLeaks revealed that Reuters reporter Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver and assistant Saeed Chmagh were killed in Baghdad on 12 July 2007 by shots fired from a US helicopter.

The Murderous God State and General Qassam Soleimani’s Execution

Not amused: Irans Foreign Minister Mohammed Dschawad Sarif ( محمد جواد ظریف پیرانشهری ) at the 35th year revolution celebration in the iranian embassy in the swiss capital Bern


The author, Gerd Michael Müller, born in Zürich in 1962, traveled as a photo-journalist to more than 50 nations and lived in seven countries, including in the underground in South Africa during apartheid. In the 80 years he was a political activist at the youth riots in Zürich. Then he was involved in pioneering Wildlife & eco projects in Southern Africa and humanitarian projects elsewhere in the world. As early as 1993, Müller reported on the global climate change and in 1999 he founded the «Tourism & Environment Forum Switzerland». Through his humanitarian missions he got to know Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and other figures of light. His book is an exciting mixture of political thriller, crazy social stories and travel reports – the highlights of his adventurous, wild nomadic life for reportage photography . (englisch corrections ongoing)

What „the hell“ made the Iranian ambassador in Switzerland Alireza Salari to invite me to the diplomatic celebration on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Iranian revolution against Shah Reza Pahlevi in the embassy in Bern, I do not know. I was thinking of a short media appointment and a few words „on the state of the nation“. But things turned out differently. I was the only media representative and photographer among a hand-picked selection of non-state guests. All the other 150 or so invited guests were diplomats or spies or both. Things got even more interesting when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Sarif also appeared at the Iranian Embassy in Bern and was greeted by Alireza Salari. Switzerland and the Iranian Embassy in Bern as well as the accredited representatives to the United Nations play an important role in world politics in the diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States. As in the case of Cuba, Switzerland serves as a neutral country and mediator of diplomatic interests between these countries.

The nuclear negotiations with Iran also took place in Montreux. In this sense, Switzerland and the „UN“ in Geneva are the hub for U.S. diplomatic relations with Iran and Cuba. However, we do not want to talk about that here, but first introduce a string-puller of Iranian foreign policy and look at his abilities as well as his great influence on world affairs, which by far exceeded that of American presidents. General Qassam Soleimani, the „Che Guevara“ of the Iranian revolution also ended up something like his famous Cuban predecessor, who had the same idea and exported the Cuban revolution not only to all Latin American countries, but he went so far as to logically support communist or Marxist countries in Africa. Gaddafi, after all, went about financing liberation and terrorist organizations (depending on your view and use of language) in much the same way .

General Qassam Soleimani, Tehran’s longtime gray eminence, was appointed by Khomenei to head the „Khuz“ brigades in 1998 and coordinated attacks on the Israeli occupiers from Lebanon until they withdrew two years later. In retrospect, Israel’s invasion of Lebanon is one of its gravest mistakes because it fueled Iran to build up Hezbollah in Lebanon and attack Sunnis in Iraq with Shiite militias, as then-Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian acknowledged. General Qassam Soleimani was the creator of the „Axis of Resistance to Imperialism“ and the longtime chief strategist in Iranian foreign policy aimed at engaging imperialists abroad and uniting the Shiite community throughout the Middle East and defending the faith community against Sunni claims to power. In particular, the eight-year Iraq war, which cost the lives of over a million Iranians, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, shaped Soleimani, who grew up under the „Revolutionary Guards“ and „Khuz“ brigades, a special unit.

Iran has benefited from the collapse of Iraq and the aftermath of the Arab Spring, massively expanding its influence in the region. Tehran is driven by three main interests: the three components of Iranian foreign policy are ideological, geopolitical and security strategies. Ideologically, Iran sees itself on the one hand as a protective power of oppressed Muslims in the context of a revolutionary resistance force against Israel and the United States. Geopolitically, Iran aims to stand up to Saudi Arabia and expand its influence in the region. The rivalry is being played out in Syria or Yemen. Since Iran is militarily inferior to its most powerful neighbors in terms of strength, it is shifting its defensive disposition to neighboring countries.

A powerful network of non-state actors is essential in this context. Tehran’s regional policy decisions are made by the Supreme National Security Council, which includes the president, representatives of the revolutionary leader, the commanders of the armed forces and, in operational terms, the Quds (Jerusalem) Brigades. It also includes the Pasdaran, the paramilitary revolutionary guards. The supranational network includes cooperation and support for Hamas in the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip. In Lebanon, as mentioned, Hezbollah plays a crucial role, and there are good state-level contacts with the Assad regime. This is Iran’s asymmetric warfare in the Middle East, which has been successful so far.

When Osama Bin Laden reduced the Twin Towers to rubble, the Yanks suddenly wanted to know more from the Iranians about the Taliban and the situation in Afghanistan. Iran also saw Osama Bin Laden as an enemy, so Solemani, as head of the Khuz Brigades in Geneva, provided the CIA with key intelligence. But the Iranian-American alliance did not last long, already the stupid Bush fired up the Iranians again to enemies of the state and kreeirte the „axis of evil“. Iran, feeling threatened by the U.S. intervention in Iraq and by being surrounded by aggressive, imperialist U.S. troops, intervened at the United Nations and they warned the Americans of the consequences of intervention in Iraq in Geneva. But the Americans then „within a few months destroyed the entire structure in Iraq, weakened the state and disbanded the armed forces,“ according to Hossam Dawod, an advisor to the Iraqi dictator. „The foundations of Iraqi society were totally destroyed in the process.“

Soleimani also took advantage of the power vacuum created by the Yanks. „He played a central role in the post-war development in Iraq“ and influenced history there as well, in which he sent the Iraqi Shiite militias trained in Iran back home, equipped them with weapons and also supported them financially, several insiders confirm. As a result, the pro-Iranian Hezbollah attacked U.S. forces so mercilessly that the Americans had to withdraw, once again leaving behind a gigantic mess that will occupy the Western and Middle Eastern world for decades to come. For Iran’s shitic aggression in Iraq gave rise to the Sunni variant of extremism, the IS, which as we know has also caused much misery, to put it mildly and to cut the known events short.

And domestically, after the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, some 4,000 Iranians were then executed in a purge wave, revealing the murderous God-state’s ruthlessness toward politically rebellious individuals. Also during later protests, for example during the uprisings as a result of the increased gasoline prices, sharp shots were fired and many demonstrators were killed with targeted shots to the head, many more were sentenced to long prison terms after imprisonment or were executed and buried in mass graves without the relatives being given the corpses or being allowed to mourn. A barbaric system.

The situation is complicated. Bashar Assad is, after all, a Christian and therefore the Western states forgive him the so far untouched claim to power in Syria despite once tepid protests against his dictatorial regime at the beginning of the revolution in the shadow of the Arab Spring that he was able to defend until today. Because the Sunnis, and in particular the strengthened IS, were now also becoming a threat to Bashar Assad in Syria, Solemani and Assad joined forces in the fight against the Sunnis. Solemani flew in a plane loaded with humanitarian goods to Amman to Assad and coordinated with him the attacks against the IS. So from that point of view, ironically, Europe and the West should be a little bit grateful to Solemani.

Now to another brilliant strategy play by Solemani that led to the control of Iraq from Tehran and cost the Americans billions for the arch enemy. Of the reconstruction aid between 2005 – 2015 amounting to some 800 billion. U.S. dollars to Iraq, about $312 billion was diverted by the Iranians via Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian organizations and taken out of the country, according to a Finance Committee report by former Iraqi minister Ahmed Al Hadj.

„Iraq became Iran’s cash cow,“ Hosham Dawod also affirms. But in 2019, Solemani was disavowed by an intelligence leak to Iran’s MOIS. Then the 2014 war crimes in „Jurf al Sakhar“ came to light. The Shiite Hezbollah committed atrocious crimes, resulting in over 150,000 displaced among the Sunni population. Qassem Solemani is dead. And that is a good thing. But this changes little in the foreign policy of Iran and one also wonders how many Americans should have been killed or eliminated before in order to avoid all the mischief that the USA finally caused in its own interests with catastrophic consequences for the whole world.

But one must ask oneself, with all the blame on the USA, what the Muslim society and diaspora worldwide is doing to finally pacify the continuously smoldering religious conflict between Sunnis and Shiites and to end the Gordian knot of many conflicts and terrorist acts? Almost nothing is happening. And that is the biggest problem. But let’s remember for a moment how long the conflict between Christians and Catholics lasted and how many lives were claimed by religious wars in Europe. Let us be aware that in our mostly passive role as unbelieving spectators at the grotesque world events and the most evil practices of power, we often corrupt even in small ways and turn a blind eye to many grievances and conveniently fade out further interventions.

In any case, one thing becomes apparent again and again. The interventions of the Americans, be it in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or Syria are and ended with a huge disaster that made all regions ultimately more unstable and created numerous aggressors. And also the conditions on Guantanamo and the torture methods practiced there throw an inglorious light on the military interventions of the USA. No bitch licks that, as we say so casually. Also, the armament of all terrogroups existing today have mostly happened on military armament by the United States. A fatal cycle that seems to repeat itself again and again.

Comoros: The Perfume Islands emerge from obscurity

Now we take a short detour into the Indian Ocean to an unknown group of islands that were once colonized by France. We are talking about the Comoros. For a long time, the rival sultanates at the crossroads of the Arab and African worlds kept themselves hidden. Apart from the perfume manufacturers who stocked up and enriched themselves here with the coveted ylang-ylang fragrances, few people know the Grande Comores, with its four islands, Grande Comores, Anjouan, Moheli and Grand Mayotte. The locals call the four volcanic islands between Madagascar and Mocambique Ngazidja, Ndzuani, Mwali and Mayotte. They are politically and geographically divided and culturally a panopticon where Malay, Polynesian, African and French influences merge. Before the colonial era, as many as 12 sultanates vainly struggled for supremacy.

The French succeeded in 1845 in placing the Comoros, weakened by the quarreling regents, under their protective rule and declared it an overseas territory of the Grande Nation in 1912. In a 1977 referendum, Mayotte’s population alone voted to remain with France. The other islands opted for independence and for the long-awaited, hard-fought independence and finally united to form the Islamic Confederation of the Comoros. But the split Mayotte clouded the unity of the new island state, which, by the way, the independence economically seen, enormously penalized and totally impoverished.

In tourist attractiveness the islands would not lack by far. Grande Comores is the largest island with 1025 square kilometers. Behind Ngazidja’s capital Moroni, whose magnificent building, the gleaming white Friday Mosque, stands out from the sea of houses from afar, rises the mighty volcano Karthala. It erupted for the last time in 1977, leaving behind broad lava trails that gave the youngest volcanic island in Comoros a bizarre appearance.

Crossing Grande Comores from west to east over the steep Dibwani Pass, many other small volcanic cones rise up on the northern flank of the road. The Comoros probably owe their Arabic name of „moon islands“ to this fantastic lunar landscape. Also the coast is mostly made of rugged, pitch-black lava rock. The most beautiful seaside resort of the main island offers three pearl-white beaches, surrounded by the offshore, dazzling coral reef. The Galawa Hotel is nestled here.

At low tide, colorfully dressed women in headscarves arrive in droves. In the shallow, crystal-clear water, they fish with nets and harpoons made of rebar, hunting for squid or even larger fish that get caught in their nets, which are stretched out in a circle and then tightened. Anjouan, the pearl of the Comoros, is the island of untouched valleys, idyllic tropical rivers and rugged, densely guarded crater landscapes and volcanic cones. At the foot of the rainforests lie the wonderfully fragrant vanilla, spice and ylang ylang plantations, from which the French perfume manufacturers enriched themselves for decades. The neighboring island of Moheli has an African orientation and is a refuge for giant water turtles, which I was completely surprised to see burying their eggs by the hundreds on the beach at night, brightly lit by the full moon.

Otherwise the island is rather a refuge for Robinson Cruso followers. On the market of Mitsamiouli one recognizes the few Musungus (white tourists) at first sight. I saw in any case except my three journalist colleagues not a single white on the island. Here, it was not women veiled with black hijabs that dominated the picture, but the ladies dressed in colorful ngazidjas and Lesotho shawls wrapped around their bodies, whereas the women on Anjouan mostly wore a red and white chiromani. Many of the faces were covered with a thick layer of sandalwood as sun and mosquito protection.

The beauty mask, which crumbled as the day wore on, served to keep the delicate skin of the women well cared for. I was really shocked when I saw condoms lying around in the hotel room of the puritanical Islamic states of God. That instead of the Koran condoms would lie on the night table, I would have expected here last. And that here condoms obviously belonged to the standard hotel room equipment, I would never have expected. One (n) learns to it. Later I found out that in addition to the normal rate there was also a Schäferstündchen rate. But from the pragmatized and contemporary so-called immoralities now to the traditional matriarchal customs of the country.

At the Grande Mariage, the most pompous celebration and most important event in the life of a Komor man and woman, traditionally all the guns are brought out. It happens that the parents build their bride a house, while the groom showers the bride with real gold or jewels. The wedding, which is often celebrated over a period of days with hundreds of guests, is not only a major festive event but is also always associated with social advancement. At least that is the expectation of most islanders. Through this act, a family also achieves a change of class into the upper class, is accepted into the circle of the grands notables and is henceforth also more influential in the political-religious context. However, the grande mariage not infrequently also means the financial ruin of a family. Even then, young people rightly complained that the money would be better invested in education and the further development of the country instead of being squandered so senselessly. The illiteracy rate at that time was almost 50 percent and the Republic of the Comoros was one of the 15 poorest nations in the world.