October 1, 2015

A decade

It's been a decade since I've last seen you. 
It's been a decade since we've said our goodbyes. 

We knew back than it would be our last goodbye. 
We knew back than it would be our last hug.  

You were always fierce. 
You were always brave. 

I thank the gods. 
I also thank you. 

You who helped raise me.
You who always loved me. 

It's been over five years since you left us. 
Today you would have turned ninety four.  

You might be gone,
Gone, yet not forgotten. 

July 14, 2015

Family fun

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with two of my favourite people doing some of my favourite things.

My mum, youngest brother and I went to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and attended a superb concert by Izaline Calister. My mother loved every minute of it. As for my brother, he got hooked early on and sure enjoyed himself. Me? I already told you it was superb!

Smiles, laughter and tears. All were evoked by this barefooted, charismatic and stubborn lady. It was nice to see people who don't speak my (our) language nor naturally feel the rhythm enjoy themselves. 

Food for our outing was hit and miss. Burgers at Burger Bar in Warmoesstraat we delicious, the fries were meh and glassy. My mum surely enjoyed her surprise bubbly and sushi snack during the break. 

Me? I was happy because I was able to give happiness to people I care about.

Next concert will also be in Amsterdam, august 12th, It will be Mariza in the Concertgebouw. There might be some tickets available. 

June 21, 2015

Self-righteous pricks and salon socialists

Yesterday, I followed one of those utterly useless discussions on Facebook. Some ex-pats were complaining about the depiction of dark-complected human beings on the State (Golden) carriage of the Dutch monarch.

Some participants where quite fast and harsh in their condemnation of everything. Ranging from the carriage, the monarchy to fellow participants. What struck me as odd was, that not one of the other participants seemed to be a descendant of slaves. In fact, both the person who started the ball rolling and the biggest detractor, were from the African continent. Due to my mixed heritage, I try not to take sides nor point fingers in discussions related to slavery. This time I felt compelled to. People were getting so self-righteous and indignant in name of the slaves, that it was getting pathetic. They were advocating the replacement of said panels, the carriage and even the monarchy. This was all done, by those who don't have an ounce of slave blood in them.

I had the gall to speak against the hiding of these panels in museums or their destruction. My view is, that they should be shown regularly to the masses, lest we forget the blood, sweat and tears that went into building the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

I am a descendant of slave stock. My German ancestors 'disgraced' and 'dirtied' their blood. I don't think my extended family, nor I would have survived WW II. I belong to a community that was persecuted, jailed and killed not only in the period from 1939-1945, but before that and to this day.

We as a community took the symbol of our shame and turned it into a symbol of pride and belonging. We can and do wear it with joy and pride nowadays. So much, that many don't even know the suffering that used to be attached to it.

And yet, some Self-Righteous prick dares question if I would ask the same of the Jewish community. I'm not part of the Jewish community and they were not a party in the discussion, what they decide to do is their problem.

I CAN ask my fellow descendants of slaves and the survivors of slavery to take the symbol of our captivity and wear it with pride. Let us show the world that, while we will NEVER forget where we come from, we will not allow ourselves to be shackled by our past.

The only way to rise above your past, is to unburden yourself from the ballast keeping you down.

May 13, 2015


I want to tell you how much I like you.
I like your youthfulness. You have your own 'brand' of seriousness, but life hasn't marked you yet. 
I like how snarky you can get at times. 
You want to be open-minded, yet so much is black and white. You have an opinion, you're opinionated. All these things I like about you. You're a rebel, just because you can. 

Yet, these are the same things that separate us. I think less in absolutes. Sometimes, I choose not to have an opinion. I see, more than fifty, shades of grey all around me. 
You have the courage of youth, I have the temperance of age. 

All these things separate us. And still, I can't but love your smile. 

April 24, 2015

Plight of the immigrant

Without a clear plan you leave the country of your birth?
Without clear prospects of a new one, you leave your present job?
You don't know where you'll end up living?
You don't know if you'll find a job?
You took all your savings and invested in a one-way ticket?
You took a big risk and there's no way back?
Without knowing what the future might bring?
Without knowing how you will survive?
The way people are voicing their opinion on (illegal) migrants these days, you would think migrating is a capital crime. You would think that trying by any means possible to escape a dangerous or hopeless situation is a capital crime. A crime to be punished by death.

How dare they? How dare they take desperate measures in trying to find a better life? How dare they dream of  coming here and taking our jobs? How dare they expect us to help them out for a short while if things go pear-shape? How dare they?

They dare! They dare. because they are humans beings just like you and me. They dare, because they're not the first and will certainly not be the last. The human race spread around the globe because we DARED! Because Homo Sapiens has always felt the urge to trek, always had the urge to see what's over the  next hill. And HOmo Sapiens recognized that building societies made us ALL better.

Some of my ancestors were moved forcefully to the Caribbean. Some others moved of their own volition, trying to find a better life. Early 19th century, travelling over 8000 km's was not without dangers, and yet it was done.  Whatever their reasons and circumstances, their descendants are making the best of it and we're still going strong. And we're still travelling and making a living and life for ourselves all over the world, from China to United States.

I recognize everyones' right to find a life, a better life.

And before you start putting blame and rejoicing in another's misfortune, remember that even so called wild animals are capable of showing compassion.

February 26, 2015

Closed book

So many turned up to give you their final goodbye. 
So many turned up to pay you their final respects. 

So many people see what I never saw. 
So many people feel what I never felt. 

A chapter has ended. 
A book has been closed

Yet, so much went unsaid. 

February 8, 2015

Een plek

Geef het een plek! Dat zegt men snel als je ergens mee zit of verdriet hebt.

Geef het een plek? Makkelijk gezegd! Maar welke plek dan? Hoe ga je met die plek om? Bezoek je het vaak? Of ga je het juist vermijden?

Daags geleden, kreeg ik te horen dat m'n bio-pa ernstig ziek was. Een paar dagen later, was het ernstig genoeg dat de wettige erfgenaam acte de présence moest geven. Hals over kop moest de arme jongen terug naar ons geboorte land. Ik heb het met die jongen te doen. We hebben allemaal onze issues met bio-pa gehad, maar hij moest wel gaan. Gelukkig zijn er familieleden ter plekke die hem bij staan in deze moeilijke tijden.

Zij die mij enigszins kennen, weten dat de goede man en ik geen goede band met elkaar hebben. Daar, waren we beiden te koppig voor. Al sinds ik me kan heugen hebben we gebotst, als de twee rammen die we zijn. Geloof me! Het helpt ook niet, als je veel van jezelf herkent in iemand met wie je altijd ruzie hebt. 

Heel wat van mijn uitspraken en voornemens met betrekking tot zijn eventueel overlijden, heb ik de afgelopen dagen herzien en afgezwakt. Van 'ik wil die hele man nooit meer zien' en 'mij hoeven ze niet op z'n begrafenis te verwachten' ben ik beland op 'kon het maar makkelijk en zonder te veel rompslomp.'

Gaan of niet gaan? Waarom gaan en met welk doe? Voor wie ga je? Allemaal vragen die door m'n hoofd malen. Allemaal vragen waar ik geen antwoord op heb. Ik kan alleen hopen op iets meer tijd.

Het heeft nog geen plek. Ik zal er plek voor moeten maken. 

February 3, 2015


Forgiving is not about being the better person. It's not something you do for the other person. It's not solely about 'patching things up' either.

Forgiving is difficult. Forgiving hurts, it opens up old wounds. Wounds you didn't even know you had. 

You find yourself going over past hurts, one by one. Even and especially the old and forgotten ones. 

One by one you take out the barbs still stuck in these memories. You painstakingly and methodically open these festering wounds and drain them. You root around these and find all remnants of hurt that still poison your soul. And you deal with them! 

Once you've done this, you can dress these wounds and give them the time to finally heal. 

Forgiving hurts. But, it's cathartic. 

Most of all… it's liberating. 

January 27, 2015


I'm grateful, as I should be. 

I could have been aborted, I wasn't. 
I could have been unloved, I wasn't. 
I could have been spoiled, I wasn't. 
I could have been unguided, I wasn't. 

In stead…
I was welcomed. 
I was loved. 
I was nurtured. 
I was guided. 

I am grateful for the role my mum, grandparents and so many other people played in my life. 

January 23, 2015

I can't be who I AM here

In the wake of the happenings in France, the whole US vs THEM rhetoric has gotten a revival in the media. While I agree that something has to be done, I get quite disgusted with the direction things are going. Instead of keeping to intelligent arguments, some people are using this as an opportunity to vent their our insecurities and pin it on external factors.

We recognize freedom of expression and thought, but one should put more thought into our expressions. And we should stop giving one group or the other all the benefit of the media and allow them to cast themselves into the role of victims.

Imagine my disgust today when I read an online article in national newspaper, where a gentleman of Jewish descent and religion complains about not FEELING safe enough to be who he WANTS to be i.e. jewish, here in the Netherlands. While I understand the perceived struggles and insecurities, I ask myself WHY this gets published. He can hide most of the identifying features of his religion and still pass for a regular Joe, which he does.

I can't hide the fact that I'm not a Western/European dutchman, and many others with me. WE tend to hear sniggers and (subtle) slurs too during our week. We are the last ones many will sit beside on public transport. WE are the ones who are mistrusted by definition by many of the governmental institutions. WE can't hide who we are. Yet, this doesn't make the media.  Maybe because this doesn't sell newspapers?

Many of the heterosexually challenged are getting the same treatment he complains about, and are fearing for their security as much as this young man does. One must ask again... WHY does his story get published? Where are all the stories of all the LGBT people who are ridiculed, bullied and pushed about (sometimes literally) day in and day out?

Many of us can't hide who are what we are, it's not a matter of choice. He has the choice of abandoning this country and move to somewhere he THINKS he will be safer. He wants to leave this society and go live with like-minded people. Many others don't have a choice.

Yes, the governments both local and central have a duty of care and protection towards all citizens. But we as a society also do. We should be able to call each other out on behaviour that harms society as a whole.

NOBODY should be made to feel unsafe, we all have the right to feel safe in our own home, neighbourhood, places of work, study and worship. No one should feel as unsafe as to want to abandon the country they live in. THAT is civilization.

Let's start acting as civilized people.

January 10, 2015


Many times in life, we keep wondering why things happen. We wonder why we made certain decisions. We wonder why we said certain things.

We also find ourselves wondering what motivated other people to take certain actions. And why they made certain statements.

Sometimes, we can't make heads or tails of the answers and signals we get. Other times, we know that these answers and motives are utter tripe.

If we keep waiting for answers, we'll find ourselves stuck, without going forward. 

The trick in life is to just pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. To say "fuck them!" and carry on.

January 8, 2015


In name of the dozens of dead journalist and other members of the press:

I accuse and I demand!

I accuse:
All who forgot that freedom of speech should be universal. And universal means, for you, and for me and the entire human race (1).

I accuse:
All who think that just because they hold arms, that they are right. I accuse all who think that just because they are in power, they have the (divine) right to determine what others should think. By hook AND by crook.

I accuse:
All the COWARDS, who take to arms whenever they can't win by intelligent argumentation.

I accuse:
All who use others, particularly members of the press, as scapegoats to further their own despicable agenda. Fomenting rage and hate against people who are doing the job of informing the rest of us.

I demand:
That freedom of thought and freedom of speech be cherished and honoured. For without these freedoms, the human race will stagnate and die out.

I demand:
Open and honest dialogue whenever points of view don't coincide. And sometimes, we have to agree to disagree.

I demand:
Respect for the profession and calling of journalism. Both without and within the profession.

I demand:
That lives of members of the press be respected. That all should be done to protect their health, lives and civil liberties.

I demand:
RESPECT and DIGNITY for all human beings!

(1) We are the World (1985) - USA for Africa

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