Oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd op 8 januari 2015 op mijn Flickr site (die sinds lang weer gecensureerd wordt omdat de inhoud van mijn 700 prenten aldaar tot ‘adult content’ door Flickr verklaard zijn en dus niet vrij (meer) toegankelijk op het internet… dat is weer een ander soort censuur (ik heb meerdere malen geprotesteerd en gevraagd naar welke prent dan aanstootgevend zou zijn) kreeg (Kafkiaans) nooit antwoord daarop!


Like it’s predecessor Hara Kiri (196-1969), Charlie Hebdo (1969-1981; 1992-) is a magazine that was & is “bête et méchant” (dumb and nasty). Large part of those who say to support it now – after the malicious murder of magazine staff and their police protectors – the indignation felt by many is mostly spontaneous and well intended (the exceptions are politicians who use their tactics of recuperation as always) but many of them, especially those outside of France have no idea what the magazine stood for.

Charlie Hebdo was against all forms of authority, not just that of muslim fanatics.Their satire was biting and directed at christian, jewish and political faith of all kinds as merciless as against islam fanatics. When I see all those priests of different religions coming out in support of Charlie Hebdo, one can know that it is circumstances that force them in taking such a position, one of them being to curtail islamophobia. Then I see all those demonstrators holding up placards with “Je suis Charlie” I know that many of them have hardly or never seen any of the radical cartoons and comics published by Charlie Hebdo.

When all those demonstrators want to be sincere about their unconditional support for freedom of speech, writing and drawing, they need to realise that freedom of expression does not flower in a climate of proclaimed “national or international unity”, however understandable such a reaction is.

Charlie Hebdo, will not rise from the ashes of the executed cartoonists, when it is hugged to death by supporters who do not really know what they are supporting.

Just imagine as I did this nice lady demonstrating in Nice with her placard “Je suis Charlie”… would she have hold up one of the covers of Charlie Hebdo, like this one?

“JE SUIS CHARLIE” misses the point (and is just a mechanical easy copy cat slogan)


This is the original caption of this photograph (left hand version): “A woman holds a poster reading ‘I am Charlie’ with a rose, at a gathering in Nice, southeastern France, to express solidarity with those killed in an attack at the Paris offices of weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. Three masked gunmen shouting ìAllahu akbar!î stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people, including its editor, before escaping in a car. It was France’s deadliest postwar terrorist attack. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)”

Oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd op 8 januari 2015 op mijn Flickr site (die sinds lang weer gecensureerd wordt omdat de inhoud van mijn 700 prenten aldaar tot ‘adult content’ door Flickr geclassificeerd zijn en dus niet vrij (meer) toegankelijk op het internet… dat is weer een ander soort censuur (ik heb meerdere malen geprotesteerd en gevraagd naar welke prent dan aanstootgevend zou zijn) kreeg (Kafkiaans) nooit antwoord daarop!




… it will be with us for a while… and the more massive it gets, the more the soul of Charlie Hebdo will be twisted and commodified.

Most of the supportive crowds outside of France have NO idea with what was the ‘bad taste fun’ that Charlie Hebdo has been poking fro decades at ALL AUTHORITY… not just at authoritarian islamists. Those who have been vilified on many occasions by Charlie Hebdo take their revenge now by praising their dead former adversaries for their ‘courageous defence of the freedom of expression’: Sarkozy, Marine Le Pen, Hollande, …

10 staff members of Charlie Hebdo were executed and 2 policemen that were there to guard the editor in chief and the premises of Charlie Hebdo. (2) On a witness video that is circulating in all news media one can see how courageous one policeman tries to intervene and how he is shot down, point blank. We do not see – though – any placards in the huge crowds of people associating with these policemen, even when they were placed there to protect the anti-authoritarian cartoonists and their magazine.

We have come a long way from Mai 68 and the emblematic repressive role of POLICE as seen and depicted by the ‘soixante-huitards’ of that time.

JE SUIS CHARLIE is – indirectly – a take from a slogan of almost four decades ago “NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES JUIFS ALLEMANDS” or in one of the several variations ‘NOUS SOMMES TOUS INDÉSIRABLES” (we are all German jews/we are all undesired). (3) It was a slogan referring to one of the student leaders of the May 68 revolt Daniel Cohn-Bendit who was living in France but did hold a German passport. The right wing weekly ‘Minute’ and the French Communist Party leader George Marchais in ‘L’Humanité’ alluded to this student leader directly and indirectly as a foreigner – a German Jew – making trouble in France, be it for different ideological reasons. The French Minister of Interior Fouchet gave an order for Cohn-Bendit to be extradited and this triggered demonstrations and posters with the slogan mentioned before.

So let me act in the spirit of those times and counter the ‘recuperation’ of Charlie Hebdo with the weapon of the détournement, turning around or highjacking. Making a mirror image of “JeSuisCharlie”(4)

“NOUS SOMMES TOUS CE FLIC”, however far such a statement derivates from the ideological schemes of 68 with their posters of the hated clubbing riot-policemen, the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité with a Nazi SS sign on their typical round shield in those days: “CRS SS.”

“We are all this cop” we see at the moment he is, without mercy, given an extra bullet while he begs for his life.

Freedom of expression does not flower in a climate of proclaimed “national unity” as is staged now in France, however understandable such a reaction is. Charlie Hebdo, will not rise from the ashes of the executed cartoonists, when it is hugged to death.

Note made on 12/1/2015
I was relieved to find some expressions in social media and beyond that expressed concern for the policemen that have been executed as well in the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Like a twitter with a black placard and the text:

“Je suis Ahmed et Franck, policiers assassinés le 07 janvier 2015”

One of the more exceptional placards shown on Place deRépublique in Paris last week”


( with twelve candles depicted at the bottom)

(1) Recuperation, in the sociological sense, is the process by which politically radical ideas and images are twisted, co-opted, absorbed, defused, incorporated, annexed and commodified within media culture and bourgeois society, and thus become interpreted through a neutralized, innocuous or more socially conventional perspective.

(2) Franck Brinsolaro, 49, police officer, was assigned as a bodyguard for Charb and Ahmed Merabet, 42, local police officer, shot in the head as he lay wounded on the ground outside. Taken from the latest Wiki on the massacre: “One of the gunmen runs toward the policeman, shouting in French, “Did you want to kill me?” The policeman answers, “No, it’s good, chief” [non c’est bon chef], raising his hand towards the gunman, who shoots the policeman in the head at close range. The gunmen leave and shout, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad. We have killed Charlie Hebdo!”

(3) – Jacques Poitou, has an excellent web page on the origin and further history of the slogan at: j.poitou.free.fr/pro/html/voc/cohn-bendit.html

_ the lettering “NOUS SOMMES TOUS” is copied from the original Atelier Populaire 68 poster, at this address: www.carnagecorp.com/pub/pictures/mai_68/1968%20mai%20nous…

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Oorspronkelijk gepubliceerd op 7 januari 2015 op mijn Flickr site (die sinds lang weer gecensureerd wordt omdat de inhoud van mijn 700 prenten aldaar ‘adult content’ door Flickr geclassificeerd zijn als ‘adult content’ em dus niet vrij (meer) toegankelijk zijn op het internet… dat is weer een ander soort censuur (ik heb meerdere malen geprotesteerd en gevraagd naar welke prent dan aanstootgevend zou zijn) kreeg (Kafkiaans) nooit antwoord daarop!

AMSnote7143.05In een verklaring van Koning Willem Alexander van vandaag (7/1/2011) over de aanslag op Charlie Hebdo in Parijs wordt de schennis van vrije meningsuiting afgekeurd door een man die zichzelf beschermd weet tegen schennis van zijn majesteit.

Geen expliciet medeleven voor cartoonist WILLEM van WILLEM ALEXANDER als zoon van de majesteit die Willem (Holtrop) in de jaren zestig en daarna bij voortduring schond.

Op grond van het wetboek van strafrecht werden deze twee (zwart/wit) prenten door de Nederlandse rechter in 1966 verboden… er werd vervolging ingesteld tegen de maker, drukker en verspreider.

Hoe is de verklaring van de kleinzoon van de toen geschonden majesteit Juliana over de aanslag op Charlie Hebdo in Parijs te rijmen met die voorgeschiedenis?

Deze verklaring is te vinden op de website van het Koninklijk Huis van de Oranjes vandaag…

De enige Nederlander die al van het eerste uur (1969) bij Charlie Hebdo werkt Willem (Holtrop) wordt daarin domweg genegeerd, zoals ook het radicale karakter van het blad dat niet enkel niets ontziend was in haar kritiek op moslim fanatisme maar eveneens zinderende kritiek op KERK – VORST & STAAT van het begin af aan in haar blazoen had.

Persbericht Koning Willem Alexander 7/1/2015:

“Verklaring Zijne Majesteit de Koning naar aanleiding van aanslag in Parijs 7 januari 2015 Zijne Majesteit Koning Willem-Alexander is diep geschokt door de aanslag op de redactie van Charlie Hebdo vandaag in Parijs. Hij heeft President Hollande van Frankrijk zijn medeleven en condoleances overgebracht alsmede zijn persoonlijke betrokkenheid en de steun van het Nederlandse volk, “ook bij het verdedigen van de democratische waarden die aan de basis van onze samenlevingen staan”.


Op Facebook waar ik de prent het eerste postte kreeg ik direct daarop van een Facebook-volger dit commentaar:

Sinds wanneer is een kleinzoon verantwoordelijk
voor wat zich afspeelde ten tijde van de regering
van zijn grootmoeder? En is dat een argument
om de oprechtheid van de reactie van de huidige
koning te betwijfelen?

Waarop ik dit antwoord gaf:

..jazeker… want dan had hij kunnen zeggen: “In het verleden zijn mijn grootmoeder, grootvader en moeder bij meerdere gelegenheden bespot door één van de vaste medewerkers van het blad Charlie Hebdo, de heer Bernard Willem Holtrop, dat laat onverlet dat ik de moorddadige aanslag op het blad volstrekt afwijs, etc….”
– kijk dan was hij én indrukwekkend geweest én had hij ook het volste recht van spreken verworven…
Niets van dit alles…
Let wel het koningschap is erfelijk, zo de voorgeschiedenis van het koninklijk huis dat daarmee komt. Zo koningen en koninginnen zich plegen te beroepen op hun roemruchte verleden, zo zeer is ook het onaangename of niet te pas komende verleden ervan voor iedere nieuwe generatie van zo’n koninklijk huis iets waar zij aan te refereren hebben. Je redenering is mijns inziens gespeend van enig historisch besef… alsof je vrolijk met een schone lei de kroon van je ouders over kunt nemen….

Kom morgen dan nog wel terug met gedocumenteerde reacties van politici als Sarkozy, Hollande en Marine Le Pen en hun pleidooi voor vrijheid van meningsuiting naar aanleiding van de aanslag op Charlie Hebdo… niemand van hen hoorde ik dit eenvoudige zinnetje zeggen…

“….ik (Sarkozy, Le Pen, Hollande, etc. ben zelf ook herhaalde malen door Charlie-Hebdo bekritiseerd en te kijk gezet op een onaangename wijzen, maar ‘de vijanden van mijn vijanden zijn mijn vrienden niet.”

This in memoriam I published 5 years ago on Flickr… recently I wanted to point a friend to the article and picture, but the 700 or so articles on my Flickr site have been classified all as ‘adult material’ years ago for no good reason (some fool must have complained) at all… attempts to have that ban lifted did not work out as there seems to be only a kind of Kafkian censorship court run by robots with the shifting firms that own Flickr and I never got a human written reply on my complaints. So now I regularly move postings from Flickr to my own blog. This posting on my friend Jadran Sterle on Flickr had 6.121 views…


It was in July this year [2014] I heard of the unexpected death of Jadran Sterle… (1) as often is the case with the loss of a friend, it made me look for pictures of him, looking at them intensely, bringing back shared moments of the past… We first met in Bologna in 1988 during a festival on Radical Culture of the European countries bordering the Mediterranean. He was there as a journalist for Slovenian television, I was there to show an exhibition for an upcoming international meeting in Amsterdam the next year – Europe Against the Current. Jadran had been involved as a young man in what could be labelled as the ‘cultural underground of Ljubljana and soon we discovered we had all kind of experiences and friends in common… Jadran had met some of the Dutch Provos in the sixties, I knew a bit about opposition movements in Yugoslavia and so we had a long talk and remained friends since… I met him again a few years later at an anarchist conference in Triest and as the world is small I discovered in the early nineties that my new Yugoslav girlfriend – who became the mother of my daughter – was a close friend of Jadran for many years… I made this picture already in July for the family Jadran left behind, but the text that comes with it remained half finished… something held me back… and as those who have died are never in a hurry… it is two month later now, before I publish it here.


Two pictures of Jadran Sterle
as I want to remember him
taken 12 years ago
on the day he picked me up from what once was Tergeste,
never became Trst,
and is best known now as Trieste
– a market and harbour town in the shatterzone of kingdoms, republics and empires
Illyrean, Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, Habsburg, Napoleonic, Austrian –
still a multi-ethnic city half a century ago
Italian and Slovenian as major languages…
… after the First Wolrd War taken over by Italy
theatre of Mussolini’s fascist rule
birthplace of Slovenian anti-fascist movement
a contested city after World War II where the new power blocks
were almost confronting each other
Allied Forces versus Tito’s Partisan Army.

Slovenian nationalists saw the city as retribution
for Italian, German and Croatian fascists regimes
that had devastated their lands
“Trst je naš” (Triest is ours)…
It remained just a Slovenian irridentist dream
as The Free Territory of Triest was created to avoid further war
and the conflict was solved by a diplomatic policy of procrestination
‘de facto’ after seven, ‘de jure’ after thirty years.

Instead of going directly to Jadran’s house in in the Slovenian village of Unec
– to the North-East, up the bleached Karst mountain at Opcina –
we drove southward along the coast to Istria
careleslsy joking about all the borders we had to pass
borders that split up the natural continuity
of coast and peninsula
Italian, Slovenian, Croatian.

On our way into Istria
Jadran told me about the meeting of those two partisan commanders
one Slovenian, the other Croatian both belonging to the Liberation Front lead by Tito
and how these two ‘communist internationalists’
were deliberating about ‘ethnic borders’
not from a military strategic viewpoint
but to establish a dividing line
where a “pure” Slovenian and a “pure” Croatian was spoken
where a border line between their territorial command needed to be drawn.

I have forgotten some of the details he gave, but
in my memory some fragments of his story linger on.
Was it about the map they used, turned the wrong way
or had one, or both of the partisans, drank too much
that day in February 1944 in the village of Malija?
I tried to find his story back in all those
historical sources, now available on the internet
but did not find any of Jadran’s salient details
only how it ended up:
the East/West running river Dragonje became the border
while – linguistically speaking –
also the river Mirna could have been chosen
twenty or so kilometer more to the South.
Like in the rest of the litoral of South-East Europe
another border marked by mountains and rivers
was added to those created by swaying forces over millennia
seeking to establish their own power base
constructing and inventing national ‘identities’ to cement it
from Danube and Sava, to Drina and Drava.

We went land inward on our way
to what is jokingy called “the smallest city of the world”
the medieval fortified hill top city of Hum
with it’s 17 official inhabitants.
Just before arriving there – on the slope of a hill –
we got out of the car
to admire an exceptional historical monument.
A monument for a script
the old cyrillic script
– that travelled over a milennium ago
from Moravia down to the Adriatic coast –
named Glagolitic Script
after the Slavic word for ‘utterance’
– a script that often is proposed to be
the bedrock of Croatian culture.

There had been a heavy rain just before
and in the wet grass
stood all those Glagolitic letters
with monumental proportions
sculpted in stone.
There was also a round table
with four square stone stools
the table top engraved with something
that looked like a celestial scheme.

Jadran standing there like a ‘geomancer’
explaining me past and present
alluding to the recent history of this monument
only erected a few decades ago
a hidden Croatian call
for the break-up of this part of Yugoslavia
a cultural construct Ex Post Facto.

As we drove on
he marked me all those other ‘genius loci’
in the Istrian Karst landscape
with its underground waterways and histories.
Thus we both became time travellers
as his stories also gave a glimpse
of a different future that had failed to come.

Today, looking once more at the photographs I took
with Jadran standing in the field with stone letters
I see in the distance – very small –
the Glagolitic letter ‘L’
the ‘L’ for Ljudi, Ljudje
Croatian or Slovenian for ‘People’.
Build up from two high stones
standing apart to fit the height and width of a man
on top a shorter heavy stone, in fragile balance.

I remember now how it looked to me then
like a gate, “a gate to heaven”
a man made arch one has to pass through
to go to an other world.

Jadran Sterle died on July 17th 2014.

(1) “Farewell to the Adriatic Sterle, cosmopolitan, who swam against the tide Funeral book on TV Slovenia July 18, 2014 at 11:39, last intervention: July 18, 2014 at 18:00 Ljubljana – Reuters He died director Jadran Sterle (1949), a longtime associate of RTV Slovenia, philosopher, journalist, writer, author of numerous documentaries on the littoral cultural heritage and translator. Predlani are Sterle Val 202 hosted the show Sunday guest. In the interview he looked at his translation work, home library and home garden on the crops on which he was very proud. Neanderthal flute, the oldest bike in the Karst chalet in the Karst School under fascism … It’s only a few titles a rich oeuvre of documentaries and films journalist and writer Adriatic Sterle, who was convinced that it would be better to appreciate the past and its traditions you should be proud of the oldest needle, first bike, a Neanderthal flute and shepherd’s house. Sunday’s guest submission to the Adriatic ”

Machine translation from the introduction sentences of the memorial web page on Slovenian Television for Jadran Sterle: www.rtvslo.si/kultura/film/slovo-jadrana-sterleta-svetovl…

This text and image were posted by me on the 4 of October 2014 on Flickr. It had 25.487 views since then. I republish it now 5 years later on my blog to mark the violent events as they evolve and infold now in Hong Kong and compare them to the demonstrations for local democracy and safeguard of the ‘rule of law’. I have not altered anything in that text of 2014, just kept my direct reactions to the movement of that time. It was only a few years after I had been working for therein part of the year in Hong Kong, teaching and doing research as a senior fellow of the City University of Hong Kong. The city itself was one of my main subjects at that time… by applying research principles I had developed for studying the change of through time of the mood of a city, ‘literary psycho-geography’ , to the city-state of Hong Kong. I also was teaching this subject to the mostly very young students at the new media department of that university and so had gained some knowledge of their state of mind. The continuous housing crisis in this city has as one result that most students still lived with their parents. I found themeless independent than young European students… so the greater has been my surprise at the great participation of young people, many students, in this movement and the social and political abilities they developed in such a short time.



…that was and will remain the basic recipe of the People’s Republic of China, since the rise of Deng XiaoPing in the mid seventies did put China on a two rail track: combining market economy with state socialism. It was Deng who ceremonially struck the deal with Margaret Thatcher in 1984 to be given back in 1997 what had grown over a century into a colonial crown jewel: Hong Kong. (1) Another ‘double dealing’ was agreed upon then: ‘one country two systems’, promising Hong Kong population something – in the future – their British overlords had not been able to provide them with in all the years they could have done so: ‘universal suffrage’.

It comes as no surprise that a state – formally – unified under a one party system failed to supply the citizens of Hong Kong was an undiluted suffrage system for Hong Kong. Hence the 2017 proposed election system for a city-adminstration-leader, from appointed candidates by the PRC only.

What the Brits left behind in 1997, though, was a juridical system that – compared to that of the PRC – was reasonably independent, one could say that the successful ‘freedom of trade’ of Hong Kong was very much dependent on such a ‘rule of law’ system, as capitalist big business needs the assurance of a set of rules independent from a single party power government to prosper.

‘Rule of law’ did not only benefit big business, but also functioned as social leveller for the less affluent citizens of Hong Kong, because a successful economy is only hampered by too blatant social unequally in its direct realm.

After a week or so of large demonstrations by Hong Kong citizens against the paternalistic system of voting for a new chief-city-administrator in 2017, the voice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Peoples Republic of China has uttered a commentary, which should be read as ‘a decree’: “Firmly safeguard the rule of law in Hong Kong.” The article launches a warning to he peaceful HK demonstrators:

“These acts will undoubtedly end up with the rule of law violated, severely disrupted social orders, huge economic losses and possible casualties.”

Reference: english.peopledaily.com.cn/n/2014/1004/c90785-8790857.html

‘Possible casualties’ is a way of saying that a hard hand will come down on demonstrators who dare to go any further. The article is cleverly formulated by schooled party ideologues and so it turns the main argument of HK democracy demonstrators against them, as it is not the Chinese state that violates rule of law promise of universal suffrage made to Hong Kong, it is the Hong Kong demonstrators who are violating it.

The defamation campaign in local newspapers (readers comments often anonymous) (2) and the pro China counter-demonstrations and delivered bruisings to young students (3), was the overture for the Chinese Opera that will be put on stage in the coming days. The demonstrators are declared a minority and thus the ground is prepared to get them out of the way:

“A democratic society should respect the opinions of the minorities, but it doesn’t mean those minorities have the right to resort to illegal means.”

There are 7 million Hong Kong inhabitants, and even when there were one million protesters out in the streets, the far way rulers in Beijing can declare them ‘a minority’.

It seems an easy game for the Chinese rulers, as the state is always ‘legal’ and using force against ‘illegal actions’ is what a state is supposed to do. This is formulated in the opening of the Peoples Daily article:

“Democracy and the rule of law are interdependent, and a democracy without the rule of law will only bring havoc.”

There is of course a deep oddity in the demands of the movement for democracy in Hong Kong, as its main aim was the right to choose their own leader. One can distinguish between a social movement and its own inner dynamics from the formal demands it makes. The show of ability for self-organisation of the people that have massed the streets of Hong Kong these last days, is an achievement in itself and does even overshadow the somewhat meek demand to be able to vote for someone who will then have a mandate to rule you.

This is a simplified argument, but necessary to get some understanding of what is won and may be lost in the Occupy Central movement. A real choice of a new ‘leader/administrator’ for Hong Kong, necessitates a platform or party with a set of principles and practical proposals and the figure head to be voted for is supposed to attempt to put these into practice.

Anybody living in a parliamentary democracy knows the limits and shortcomings of this social construction. Less so – it seems – the demonstrators in Hong Kong. In a way their self-organisation was a denial of their own demand to be able to choose a leader of their own choice. They could well think about leading society themselves, be it not in formal governance representation, but in their ability to manifest themselves in many ways as active citizens, that have learned how to halt or limit the exercise of what they feel as ‘unjust authority’. Voting once in so and so many years is after all not good enough to realise democracy.

Even when in a media sense in the head-lines the Occupy Central movements will loose, they have won something in the bylines yet to be written in times to come: the practice of peaceful self-organisation.


(1) The top part of the tableau-picture is: “Reconstruction of the important meeting between Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher in Beijing on 24 September 1984 with talks about the future of Hong Kong – at the visitors platform of the Diwang Dasha in Shenzhen Date 2.07.2007”

The bottom part is a picture that appeared in the South China Morning Post published in Hong Kong and afterward in many more newspapers, it is students many wearing black t-shirts making the symbolic sign of crossing arms, showing both that they do not carry any weapons and disapproval of government action. That sign was used in previous demonstrations against the introduction of ‘patriotic history’ lessons PRC style in Hong Kong schools. The yellow ribbon refers with its colour yellow to earlier grand Hong Kong pro democracy demonstrations against government measures that were deemed by demonstrators to be authoritarian, like massive demonstration did use yellow umbrellas , like a famous one ion October 10 2007.

The yellow ribbons also as an avatar for those who are supporting the movement but could not be at a demonstration, tied to fences and worn as a bracelet. More details on symbolism used at this web-page…

(2) 1/10/2014 my readers comment in the South Cina Morning Post after reading several defamation readers comments:

“PROTEST & DEFAMATION social movements when they grow tend to produce defamation campaigns. Reader’s reaction, often posted under pseudonym, are used for it, like in the SCMP of 1/10/14 by “David777” citing “revolution observer Tony Cartalucci” about the long ties with the USA governent of Occupy Central leaders: “Recent events in Hong Kong follow a pattern of US-engineered regime change operations, where naive students and other youth are encouraged to be the public face of protests, which start out preaching non-violence only to be very soon shunted aside by far more radical elements who provide the real muscle behind the regime change.” Egypt, Syria and the Ukraine are mentioned adding suggestively: “the Maidan protests soon gave way to violent, armed groups sporting neo-nazi tattoos and radical ideologies.” David777 ends: “SCMP = USA.” Such rethorics make one remember the Cold War with both camps excelling in constructing, inventing and disclosing conspiracies, thus denying existence of any genuine form of protest. From USA McCarthism to KGB unveiling of Yankee subversion. RUFMORD (character assasination)in German. Also the PRC has a long tradition in this field. Many have suffered or paid with their life. One needs not to be versed in details of the mass-defamation campaigns during the heigh days of the Cultural Revolution in China to know, how violent and murderous such campaigns can get. It went to the level that children would accuse their own teachers and parents.”

The South China Morning Post reader “David777” quotes an article dated 30//9/2014 from a Canadian web-site of the organisation called Global Research, with an opening paragraph reading:

“Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, which masquerade as a “pro-democracy” movement seeking “universal suffrage” and “full democracy,” is a deep and insidious network of foreign financial, political, and media support. Prominent among them is the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as NED’s subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).”

This Canadian based organisation is well known for its curious pro-party-communist-state and pro-post-party-communist-party-state analysis (how to summarise that in a non-biased way in one sentence), also being a welcome guests to certain outlets of such states, like the Russian television station ‘Russia Today’ that is a voice and commentary strictly within the Putin party line. It is not the first time I have come across the special views promulgated by this organisation, founded by Michel Chossudovsky… I will try to refine the background on this later, for the moment here is a Wikipedia on the founder of the organisation Michel Chossudovsky:

(3) 3/10/2014 The Guardian: “Violent clashes break out in Hong Kong after counter-protesters storm sit-in
About 1,000 people opposed to pro-democracy movement fight 100 demonstrators after Leung Chun-ying’s talks offer”

The Huffington Post has a series of photographs showing the confrontation in Mong Kok:

My commentary on that day send to HK friends:

“NO SURPRISE the warming up was going on for days with a defamation campaign in the press (through readers responses to the news)… and a megalopolis as Hong Kong is also home to a myriad of thugs and maffiosi…, the knuckle sandwich has been on the Hong Kong menu for over a century… this combines with the cells of the Chinese Communist Party an organisation deeply entrenched in the former Crown Colony… once outlawed by the Brits, ever since even more effective as a semi-underground, not formal and open organisation. When a movement like Occupy Central loses a bit of momentum, it is the right moment for these groups to move in… Also Mong Kok part of the mainland area of HK, Kowloon, is a very different district from the area with mainly offices on Hong Kong Island, especially Admirality… an encampment in these streets does not seem a good idea… I did live not far from Mong Kok and I did not understand this choice for any fixed position action… Well the activists will learn their lesson the hard way… The move of opening talks… was to be expected… and as the demands have been limited to one issue… even when that issue is not dealt with properly in the talks that are supposed to be upcoming (and who decides who will be there speaking with the authorities for whom… the whole issue of a popular mandate is always tricky)… the non-involvement of police in such a situation is the most classic of all situation… with the schizophrenia of activists who justly claim freedom of demonstration and refute police intervention…until the moments that a third force attacks them… the answer – organising your own order-troops – is also problematic, as soon order troops tend to take over power within any activist loose grouping… these are the normal dynamics of large social movements… with a Hong Kong social relation flavour.”


Originally Published on the 15th of April 2013 on Flickr, where it had 1539 views. Republished today on the occasion of a London EXHIBITION 1–26 October 2019 Curtains for Mrs Thatcher by the gallery on the move England & Co at the Sotheran Building 2 Sackville Street, London W1

For the controversy of the 1982 sinking of the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano during the Falkland War in which 323 people died (mainly young navy sailors) see the web-site The Belgrano Inquiry which lets come to voice multiple interpretations of this drama.

I take that drama for its own merits and as well as a metaphor for “Thatcher Rule” where her idea of “cherishing of freedom” (the motto of the coat of arms of Baroness Thatcher (1995–2013) (*) lead to an impoverishing deregulation for many and the enrichment of only a few.

On the same day in 2013 I also published this panorama of  Margaret Thatcher and meetings with some of her famous and important friends over the years…


Left/right/topdown: Deng Xiao Ping, China; Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia; Nicolae Ceaușescu Rumania; Augusto Pionochet, Chile; Josep Broz Tito, Yugoslavia; Henri Kissinger, USA; Ronald Reagan, USA; Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe; Jimmy Saville, UK — middle row is her Conservative Party claque applauding Thatcher on October 13, 1989 at the end of the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool 

(*) “cherishing freedom”

Coat of arms of Margaret Thatcher, The Baroness Thatcher (1925-2013), Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. This achievement was used from 1995 to 2013, granted originally by the College of Arms in 1992 and was designed by the Garter King of Arms Sir Colin Cole. This version displays the circlet of the Order of the Garter to which she was appointed to only in 1995. “ On a lozenge circumscribed by the Garter and the Ribbon of the Order of Merit with Cross pendant therefrom, surmounted by a baron’s coronet, per chevron azure and gules, a double key in chief between two lions combatant a tower with portcullis in base all or, with supporters: dexter: An admiral of the British Navy; sinister: Sir Isaac Newton holding in his left hand weighing scales, both proper. Her motto was: “CHERISH FREEDOM” ” The dexter supporter is an Admiral of the Royal Navy, to commemorate the victory of the Falklands War during her premiership. The sinister supporter is Sir Isaac Newton, to recognise her earlier career as a scientist. The key and the two royal lions of England represents her tenure as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. The tower and portcullis represents her time at the Palace of Westminster as Member of Parliament. She bears this achievement on a lozenge (as is traditional for a woman), surrounded by the circlet of the Order of the Garter (in which she was appointed in 1995), below hangs the ribbon and insignia of the Order of Merit (in which she was appointed in 1990). Date 10 April 2013, 22:56:16 Source Own work, Based on the heraldic blazon and other works



“Ik ben een modernist” riep Crouwel mij nog toe in een debat tijdens één van die design crowd conferenties Doors of Perception (1), het was 1996 en de plaats de stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam … dat was de tweede keer dat ik met hem in debat geraakte.. de eerste keer was vele jaren eerder in 1968 (2) in wat toen nog het Museum Fodor was aan de Keizersgracht waar gedebatteerd werd over kunst, technologie en samenleving… samen met Nic Tummers riep ik daar op tot een boycott van de Osaka Wereldtentoonstelling als zijnde een schijnvertoning van globale éénheid… in een verdeelde wereld. (3) Crouwel was het daar niet mee eens en nam deel aan de vormgeving van de tentoonstelling in Osaka in 1969.

Crouwel had een rotsvast vertrouwen in de zegende rol van de ‘artistieke voorhoede’ en de vrijheden die zijn strak gespannen ontwerpkaders de mensheid zouden weten te brengen. Zo was zijn kaarsrecht verlopende levenslijn er een van ordening en controle met het grid als onzichtbaar hekwerk waarbinnen de vorm, inpasbaar, gestalte kon krijgen. Bij Crouwel geen labyrinth waarbinnen je kunt verdwalen. Zijn mazenstelsel behoeft geen draad van Ariadne om het doel te bereiken of de uitweg te vinden. Zijn ‘modernisme’ munt uit door planmatigheid en minimalisering, waar ‘vorm’ ondergeschikt gemaakt wordt aan ‘functie’.

Het antwoord op de vraag wie en wat de inhoud van die ‘nagestreefde functionaliteit’ bepaalde en waarom bleef bij Crouwel echter vaak achterwege. Een zaak van de opdrachtgevers immers, zoals bij vrijwel alle vormgeving, zeker als het om overheidsopdrachten gaat. In deze zin was de artistieke voorhoede waartoe Crouwel zich rekende, geen ‘sociale voorhoede’. Crouwel, anders dan veel van zijn collega ontwerpers, koketteerde ook nauwelijks met sociale acties in de tweede helft van de 20e eeuw.

Toch is er meer dan dictatuur van grid en stramien in Crouwel zijn werk. Zijn terughoudendheid in vormgeving laat ruimte over voor anderen met een andere vormentaal, weet die vaak te versterken. De vrije, zich in alle mogelijke bochten wringende lijn, die zich niets wenst aan te trekken van passers, driehoeken en millimeterpapier, gedijt beter in een ruimte vormgegeven door Wim Crouwel dan door Frank Gehry. Waar de ruimtelijk vormgever zich opwerpt als vrij kunstenaar verdwijnt de ruimte om kunstwerken van anderen – dan de architect – te tonen. Dat geldt ook voor zijn gedimde functionele typografie, beeldmateriaal dat van een geheel ander orde is krijgt zo ruimte en aandacht op een pagina.

De beleden ‘moderniteit’ van Crouwel in zijn tijd droeg het stempel van de planeconomie, de overheid als emancipator, de vormgever als verheffer, de burger als een op te voeden wezen. Er is een ondertoon van ‘een nieuwe orde’ die met de vorm der dingen ook de vorm van de samenleving, het menselijk gedrag hoopt te kunnen sturen. Er is sprake van de overdraagbaarheid van “goede vorm” (denk aan de naoorlogse Stichting ‘Goed Wonen’ in Amsterdam en de soms utopische vises die vanuit het Rotterdamse Bouwcentrum geëntameerd werden). Het is een tijd waarin in de Beurs van Berlage een enorm Centrum voor Industriële Vormgeving gevestigd wordt. Dat is de moderniteit waaraan Crouwel refereert. Dat is ook ‘een moderniteit’ die na dertig jaar uitbundige ‘post-moderne’ vormgeving zo verouderd lijkt te zijn dat het minimale en de ingetogenheid weer aantrekkingskracht krijgt.

Nu de levenslijn van Wim Crouwel gebroken is en een ieder zich denkt als vormgever van het eigen digitale bestaan, kunnen we de georganiseerde chaos van de zoekmachines van het internet spiegelen aan zoiets simpels en gedisciplineerds als het telefoonboek ontworpen door het bureau waar Crouwel groot geworden is ‘Total Design’. (4) Hoe is het mogelijk zullen nieuwe generaties zich afvragen dat je in een pak bijeengebonden bladzijden van papier met enkele strakke kolommen tekst zoveel gegevens in zulk een vast stramien zo goed opzoekbaar kunt maken. Kan het zijn dat wij zolangzamerhand snakken naar die eenvoudige strakheid, die orde, die informatie cartografie gedacht vanuit millimeterpapier.

Tjebbe van Tijen 20/9/2019

(1) Doors of Perception, kortweg ‘Doors’ was een reeks ‘internationale design conferenties’ georganiseerd door John Thackara in het laatste decennium van de 20e en het eerste van de 21e eeuw. Iedere conferentie had een eigen thema. Dat van het jaar 1996 was ‘Speed’. Ik gaf er een lezing over het antieke thema van ‘de hinkende bode’ aan de hand van emblemata/zinnenprenten… uit vroeger eeuwen ter relativering van de moderniteitsdrang waar alles steeds maar sneller moet. Tot voor enkele jaren stond het archief van die conferentie keurig on-line, maar ik merk nu dat alle links naar het Doors Archief gebroken zijn… dus hier enkel een link naar een pagina die toch iets verteld van die conferenties…. (ik zal proberen John Thackara erop te wijzen dat hij zijn ‘doors’ weer open moet zetten…
http://imaginarymuseum.org/SOS/index.html (scroll nummer 6a)
(2) 1968-1970 Fodor Conferenties on art, technology, science and society: Amsterdam
Zie o.m. in het Archief Hans Derks stukken over deze conferenties periode 1968-1970
(3) Het Manifest over de geplande wereldtentoonstelling in Oska van NicTummers en Tjebbe van Tijen (formaat A2)
(4) “Critical spirit of a telephone book” by Robin Kinross, Published in Eye – The International Review of Graphic Design, No. 16, vol. 4, Spring 1995… niemand weet beter over functionaliteit en typografie te schrijven dan Robert Kinross .. ik vond dit artikel pas nadat ik mijn in memoriam voor Crouwel geschreven had. Het moge duidelijk zijn dat de versie van 1983 lees-technisch, met het oog langs een kolom racend vele malen beter is dan de versie van 1977. Jolijn van de Wouw ken ik nog van de Kunstacademie in Den Bosch 1961-62… ik dacht dat toen Wim Strijbosch de lessen in grafisch ontwerp overgenomen had van Wim Crouwel. Jolijn is al weer heel wat jaren dood, heel vroeg gestorven. De directeur van de Academie in den Bosch was toen Jan van Haaren (1923-1990) een man met begrip voor experiment. Zijn broer Hein van Haaren was weer directeur van de Dienst Esthetische Vormgeving PTT, die de postzegel en telefoonboek opdrachten aan Crouwel gaf. Zo wordt ook duidelijk hoe alles toch ‘modern, maar in een klein kringetje bedisseld werd.
The Dutch must have been the first to use professional designers for the page layout of phone books. These were Wim Crouwel and Jolijn van de Wouw, working within Total Design, who for the first fully automated books (of 1977) radically rethought the typographic conventions. PTT phone book by Total Design, 1977 (left) PTT phone book revised by Total Design, 1983 (right). Numbers were placed before names: the two vital components were then next to each other, and no dot leaders were needed to join them. The typeface was a condensed Univers: a real designed letter in place of the vernacular grotesques that had been the norm. And – most astonishing of all – no capital letters were used. Crouwel argued that the very limited character-set of the CRT typesetting machine left a choice of either capitals or punctuation to distinguish surnames from initials, and he preferred the latter. So the Modernist dream of single alphabet typography could at last be authentically realised. There were complaints about the small size of type, and whines from people who “didn’t want to be known as numbers”. A few years later, some aspects were softened in a redesign by Crouwel and Total Design: type-size was increased, three rather than four columns per page were used, a set of more open numerals was designed (by Gerard Unger and Chris Vermaas), and phone numbers were put at the end of lines. But, strangely, the all-lowercase typography was maintained.