Every autumn the leaves change color and fall from the trees. And every autumn the culture war against Black Pete heats up in the Netherlands. Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends a report on this year’s iteration of the Dutch national pastime.
The fight against ourselves
by H. Numan
It’s that time of the year again. By now it’s a sad tradition, I have to debunk the idea of Black Pete as an American blackface. Again and again and again. Our progressive f(r)iends have added the Dutch Golden Age to it. That’s also racist. The Amsterdam Museum stated they will no longer call the Dutch Golden Age (1600-1700) the Golden Age.
The Dutch Golden Age — we call it ‘de Gouden Eeuw’ or Golden Century — was the period in which the Dutch established themselves as world leaders for a while. It began after the revolt against Spain started, well before the year 1600. And it ended when England and France caught up after they solved their civil war problems. During that period the world’s biggest merchant fleet was Dutch. We didn’t have the biggest navy, but regularly defeated the British navy. Including the famous Raid on the Medway. That was by far the most humiliating naval defeat the British navy ever suffered. during the Second Anglo-Dutch war the Dutch navy raided the home base of the British navy, which at the time was near London. Most of the British fleet was burned; the flagship Royal Charles was towed to Rotterdam where you could visit it for 25 cents. Kapitänleutnant Günther Prien, eat your heart out!
In that period the first global company was formed, the VOC or United Dutch East India company. Also the WIC or West Indian Company. The former colonized and traded in what is nowadays Indonesia, the latter raided South America and traded in slaves. It also captured the only Spanish flota or silver fleet ever, accomplished by Piet Hein. In that period Dutch scientist were at the forefront of scientific discovery. Dr. Boerhaave was the best known physician of the period. Anthony van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope and Dutch lawyers the concept of the free sea, Mare Librum. Art bloomed and blossomed. I don’t have to mention Rembrandt, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and many others, do I?
Of course it wasn’t a golden era for everyone. There are always people who benefit less in a certain period. That’s a simple fact of life. In fact, if you look at the common man, the ensuing period of national stagnation (1700-1800) was his golden era. With relatively higher wages and slightly better working conditions. And that is how progressives look at history. Do bear in mind that history is a social science, therefore not exact. You can find any result you want. It’s just a matter of what you focus on, and bend the results to what you want. Even real science can be bent. Just look at the rape of meteorology where progressive activist scientists openly commit fraud in order to prove global warming. So much for independent peer reviews…
However, the sad tradition I have to tell you about time and time again concerns Sinterklaas. Not Santa Claus, who is the cultural offspring of Saint Nicholas, the yule spirit (England) and Samichclaus (Germany). Modern Santa is a fairly recent tradition merging the three together, dating to and after Victorian times.
Sinterklaas is the colloquial Dutch name for Saint Nicholas. He has a black helper, and that is where the progressive fun starts. The Sinterklaas tradition is old. Very old. The festival was already celebrated in medieval times long before anything remotely looking like the ‘Netherlands’ existed. Not to the joy of the Catholic Church, mind you. They grudgingly allowed it. Their objection was that Sinterklaas was really a pagan festival — it’s that old. The Dutch kept celebrating Sinterklaas after the Reformation, when the republic became protestant. The now Calvinist church wasn’t any better, and tried to outlaw and ban Sinterklaas. Without success. The Dutch kept on celebrating this age-old children’s festival.
Until a few years ago, that is. Then the Dutch progressives discovered something they hardly knew about, but could use very well. The American blackface. Black Pete, so they claim, is a blackface and therefore racist. Sheer ranting nonsense. French waiters were called, until a few years ago, ‘garçon’. It usually means boy, but was also used for waiter. American tourists, the few that spoke French, were aghast. Calling a waiter boy. The horror! Nonsense, of course. It didn’t mean ‘boy’ the way it was used in America. It was changed, but that was because the French realized calling an old waiter near retirement age ‘young man’ isn’t really polite or appropriate. The French, who are as bilingual as Americans, were funnily surprised to hear the negative meaning of their word for boy.
Now, if the progressives were truly democratic and fighting for real injustices, there would never have been a debate. Black Pete is the black helper of Sinterklaas, and like the saint a mythological figure. Nobody ever called Black Pete a blackface and he was never a slave. It was just an age-old custom. Black Pete very likely is a personification of the devil, captured or subdued by Saint Nicholas. In other words, it has absolutely nothing to do with racism of slavery.
As we all know so well, progressives aren’t anything remotely resembling democratic. Their form of democracy is for everyone else to bend to their demands, no matter how silly or outrageous. All they allow for is a (short) time period to confess your sins and adjust to the mores of the day. Their debate was, paraphrased: ‘Black Pete is racist. That is a fact (because we say so). We are going to remove Black Pete. Do you agree to do it now, or do we have to give you one or two years to adjust?’ That’s not a debate, but an ultimatum. Something in which progressiveness excels.
The Dutch overwhelmingly said no. We are not going to do that at all. Not just a substantial majority, but well over 90% to 95% of the entire population. Ever since then the cultural war has been on. It’s the common Dutch man against just about everybody else. The activists, but also against the media, the justice department, local governments, even commerce. Lots of large companies have already yielded, and want their customers to yield too. It’s the progressive elites who know best. The common man is an ignorant nincompoop who needs their wisdom. They can’t think for themselves. We have to educate them, for their (= our own benefit) good. If anything, politically correct means being utterly racist, and condescending towards those who disagree with you.
Now, last year Sinterklaas officially arrived in the country in Dokkum, a small city in the province of Frisia. This is a national event, broadcasted on TV. The action group ‘kick Black Pete out’ made it known they wanted to be present there to protest. This action group may be viewed as a low-level terrorist organization. Wherever they protest, it always turns violent. When their officially approved presence became public knowledge, private individuals decided to take action. They organized a blockade of the roads leading towards Dokkum. The ‘peaceful’ progressive demonstrators had to be ordered back to Holland (the province of North Holland, to be precise) on orders of the police. The police were not able to clear a path through the peaceful Frisian demonstrators blocking the road. The demonstrators didn’t do anything. They just blocked the road. And only for that coach with the activists in it. Nobody else was hindered.
Now came what never happens during progressive demonstrations, even if they turn out violent: the police took names of everybody present. They all, no exceptions, received summonses to appear in court. The public prosecutor found their ‘violent action’ so severe he ordered DNA samples and fingerprints. Later in court this evidence had to be destroyed. Even the court thought this was over the top.
What also become known was the personal involvement of mayor Marga Waanders (PvdA, labor party) in this affair. She invited Antifa, Kick Zwarte Piet Out and the NVU (neo-Nazis) just to create as much violence as they possibly could. The police would not be able to control that kind of rioting (Dokkum is not a large city to begin with); the next step would be to declare martial law due to the rioting and ban Black Pete outright. First in Dokkum, later in the whole country. Mayor Marga already thought herself to be the new progressive heroine, the new progressive saint who got rid of Black Pete.
The NVU are Dutch neo-Nazis. A very small insignificant group, but inviting both Antifa and the NVU together is a guarantee of violence. It only failed to work because the NVU declined.
Any steps taken against this scheming boerkamaster, you ask? Why, of course not! This is The Netherlands, after all. She’s still the mayor of Dokkum. She wasn’t even indicted for her nefarious scheming. The protesters, most of them, are now on appeal. The prosecutor wants the maximum possible penalty. He can’t ask for the death penalty, but he did ask for lengthy jail terms and massive fines.
Now this is, almost exactly like in America, how progressiveness works. You do what we want. If you even have the slightest doubts, you are racist/fascist/capitalist/whateverist. Don’t look for any consistency. We fought against global cooling in the ’70s. For saving the trees from acid rain in the ’80s. And later, since that is the latest fad, against global warming. Even bringing that inconsistency up is politically not correct. You do what we NOW want you to do. Next week, it might be the exact opposite. Just don’t mention it. It’s embarrassing, and we don’t like it. Oh, about the polar bears. Their numbers are declining, mind you. Yes, their actual numbers are increasing, but don’t you dare mention it, you global warming hoaxer!!!!
Is Black Pete racist? Of course not. Are the Dutch miserable slave traders who need to recompense their victims generously? Of course not. Are ‘white’ people in general miserable slave traders? Not at all. One might have a point if only the Dutch or only white people had dealt in slaves. However, we didn’t. Neither the Dutch nor white people alone dealt in slaves. Everybody did. Up to and including black people themselves. Very few settled societies didn’t practice some form of slavery. It’s a burden we all carry. Not just the whites.
In fact, it is exactly white people, or more specific Christians, who should be lauded for abolishing slavery. Long before steam engines took over slave jobs, some Christians realized that slavery is evil. It’s easy to say slavery is evil or uneconomical when you have machines to do the job. But long before the advent of steam engines white people, and white people alone, began to rally against slavery. It was due to the efforts of, among others, the British navy that slavery was ended. Often with force of arms. The dealers weren’t willing to give up their lucrative business without a struggle. Very much against the wishes of the Arab world today, and back then lots of African communities who made a well-buttered sandwich out of it.
And that is something you will never ever hear a progressive activist say.
— H. Numan