Michiel Mans, a Gates of Vienna reader from the Netherlands, has written another guest essay for us. This one combines a reminiscence of the Dam demonstration with a meditation on the upcoming SIOE demonstration in Brussels on 9-11.
Mr. Mans has this prefatory note:
The Dam demonstration of February 2006 was spoiled by the AFA, the black-clad so-called “Antifascist Action Group”.
The pictures speak for themselves. I organised the demo together with my sister. We received threats from AFA. The Media didn’t publish the call for the demo; only on Internet could we spread the word. In the end, partly thanks to the threats and media black-out, only a few stood on the Dam. Sagunto was one of the few.
And now for his essay:
by Michiel Mans
I had one. It was the crown on a meal celebrating a milestone in my personal life. It was served with one of these mini-parasols on top made of tiny wooden spokes and coloured paper. They have been around for ages.
When I was a child, they were mesmerising objects of interest. I opened and closed them until they broke. It was rare to see them at other times then at birthday parties or similar special events. They have probably always been made by tiny sore Chinese or Indian fingers. Years of fatigue and sweat for our brief moments of bemused fascination.
I was surprised we were still allowed to call this vanilla ice cream dessert in dark chocolate sauce “Dame Blanche”. Another popular black and white treat in Holland called “Negerzoen” (Black Kiss) had been banned; our Hague morons considered the name racially improper. Of course, not wanting blacks to kiss you isn’t racism or improper.
In Holland we also love a cookie called “Jodekoek” (Jews’ cookies). They are baked in ovens, you know. For some reason this name hasn’t alarmed our Dutch vanguards of high morals yet. Amazing. Oh, the logic of the politically correct mind.
Apart from sentimental memories, it was a memorable evening for other reasons as well: I met three adorable young Italian girls, a treat at any age. One of them smiled when seeing my somewhat dreamy eyes staring in deep cerebral activity at the fragile parasol which topped my dessert. I explained parts of my thoughts about this seemingly insignificant object of childhood pleasure unspoiled by knowledge.
She was young. Did she know a billion drops of sweat from little hands had probably been produced while manufacturing these disposable smiles? It made me a little sad for a moment. Only for a moment. They were Italian girls.
As a friendly gesture, I gave her the object of my youthful sentimentality. It turned out to be her twentieth birthday. I asked the waitress to offer them a drink. The girls suggested I would order an appropriate celebratory one. I hinted at Jenever, the native Grappa. It is also known as “Dutch courage”.
The three invited me to come over and celebrate the happy occasion by sharing their two pieces of cake which they had bought during the day. It was topped with twenty yet other objects of bygone birthday memories: mini-candles. I hadn’t seen them for ages. If only such old happy candle and parasol memories could last for ever for these three ladies.
Earlier, when raising our glasses, I had suggested a toast on a recently passed away great Italian lady as well. I probably shouldn’t have. One of them knew of Oriana Fallaci. I didn’t want to go into it too much, the things she wrote about in her later years.
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It kept nagging at me during the otherwise very pleasant encounter: how much do these young and wonderful people know? How much are they aware of what’s happening? How much do they realise what is at stake? Particularly for them, the young women. It simply isn’t done, yelling thoughts like these as a stranger when cutting cake at a twentieth birthday party. Isn’t it? Even the thought of yelling shouldn’t be.
One thing for sure: the encounter with the girls made me remember why I write the things I write. I will go to Brussels on the 11th of September and I will raise a banner with “Your opinion should be written here”. Or a blank banner, symbolically stating the same. This brilliant tactic has been suggested by “Sagunto”, one of the few who stood at the Dam in Amsterdam on the 25th of February 2006, the few who stood there protesting against religious madness and displaying solidarity with the Danes over the cartoon riots.
With “silent banners” we can still protest on 9/11, even though the Mayor of Brussels has forbidden it. The demonstrators’ safety cannot be guaranteed, according to this Socialist Party member whose ideas of freedom are very selective.
Saguntos do not need guarantees. They have shown that they are able to take care of themselves when the protective blue lines are thin. They stood firm even when the black-clad so-called Antifascists displayed violent fascism showing their anger at Dutch solidarity with the Danes.
If for some reason we really cannot demonstrate in Brussels, perhaps we can demonstrate in Amsterdam. We got permission for the Dam demonstration in 2006. Why should we not get permission for 9/11 2007? Our Mayor, whatever ludicrous ideas he has displayed lately, then showed his belief in basic ideas of freedom. His name is Job Cohen. A Socialist. A “good” one.