Archive for the ‘National propaganda’ Category

MARY CLINTON “unfortunate and counterproductive”

JOSEPH TIMMERMANS “premature and unwise”

Two foreign policy Ministers speaking out on the vote on November the 29th 2012 in the United Nations on upgrading the status of Palestine in the UN. The United States voted Against with 8 other states and The Netherlands was one of the 41 abstention states that did vote neither ‘for’ nor ‘against’, still favouring a new Palestinian state, but along another trajectory. In the end 138 of the 193 states of the United Nations were voting ‘for’ the proposal.

Palestine President Abbas called it “the birth certificate of the reality of the state of Palestine”.

The name of the (new) Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs ‘Timermans’ means ‘carpenter’ in Dutch, and thus my association with the Biblical scenes of ‘Joseph the Carpenter’ who has ‘no voice’ in the scriptures, but is believed to be the one who changes the feeding ‘crib’ in the stable where the Blessed Virgin Mary delivered the Child of God, into a ‘cradle’ for the the new born Son of God.

Palestine, the ‘land of milk and honey’, symbolised by a crib to both feed live-stock and as a warm comfortable nest for a new born to be laid down on a cloth covering the straw: either a Jewish ‘tallit’ (Hebrew: טַלִּית) or a Palestinian ‘kufiya’ (Arabic: كوفية).

Metaphorical questions arise from this imagery. One crib for two infants? Two separate cribs, or a Judgement of Solomon whereby Joseph the Carpenter will be asked to take his saw and split the crib into two? There are other possible readings. Is the Holy Infant single or multiple? If more than one, are they twins, Siamese twins? In the case of twins is there an oldest one, having ‘oldest rights’?

The Israeli ambassador at the United Nations Ron Prosor made an absurd historical claim in his speech: “No decision of the United Nations can break the 4000 year old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel”, trying to overbid his Palestinian competitor.

You need to be a true believer to be convinced that virgins can deliver babies. Still, many Christians, do accept the complicated concept of the ‘immaculate conception’ of Maria herself by her mother and father Saint Joachim and Saint Anne. It rendered her “forever free of sin“ preparing her for the ‘incarnation’ of God in the human form of Jesus Christ. Becoming a mother that remained a virgin.

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.

There is a strong association with the long raging clerical debate about the ‘immaculate conception’ of Maria and the ‘incarnation of God’ and the tormented way in which these two “new nations” Palestine and Israel were conceived and fail to establish themselves. They are young national states, each with their own claim of an ancient origin. Their concepts are not so much about what exists already and what could happen from there in real life, but more about believe systems based on an imagined past. Concepts of such ‘imagined communities’ (1) are hardened by differing and warring schools of religious leaders, politicians, archeologists, linguists, historians, lawyers, geographers and anthropologists. All of them massage and shape “their facts” to let them fit “their own view” of  “their own promised land”, mostly neglecting the existing reality of other populations and settlements.

The voting on November the 29th in the UN came 65 years after the proposed partition, of what was then the British Protectorate of Palestine, into two states, one of them Israel. Two years later in 1949 Israel became the 59th member state of the United Nations. At that time the Soviet Union was one of the Great Powers that supported the creation of this new state. There was a lot of opposition and dissatisfaction though from Palestinians, finding themselves -in practice – excluded and expelled. All neighbouring Arab states were against the partition as such, or details of how territory was supposed to be cut up. A whole series of violent clashes, over territory and control, delayed the forming of a Palestinian State, that was finally proclaimed in the year 1988. Pro-Palestine votes were 90 from the then 159 member states of the United Nations in that year.

To use – 24 years later – the word “premature” for a vote on further acknowledging the rights of Palestinians to their own independent state, is best expressed with the Jidish/Dutch word ‘gotspe’, ‘chtuzpah’ in English usage, meaning an ‘aggressive boldness or unmitigated effrontery’.

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Timmermans did use the word “premature” adding another one “unwise” (in Dutch “ontijdig en onverstandig”) and thus he echoed State Secretary Hilary Clinton with her widely quoted catchwords for the pro-Palestine UN vote: “unfortunate and counterproductive.”

Curiously Timmermans, before he accepted the job as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Dutch Government formed in autumn this year, has been actively pledging for a pro-Palestinian position in the Dutch parliament and also on the level of the European Union. He has extensively explained away his change of policy with lots of diplomatic finery, but for most voters on his party the social-democrat PvdA, it simply meant a betrayal of principles.

There are now 131 from 193 UN member states that voted for the upgrading of Palestine position toward a ‘de facto’ independent state. Against were 9 states with Canada, the Czech Republic, Panama, The USA and a series of small USA vassal states in the Pacific.

From the 41 states that chose to abstain from voting there was a big contingent from the European Union. The European Union is now split in two camps when it comes to the tactical view on how to favour a peace process in the Middle East with these ‘twins’ that do not want to fit in the same crib.

In favour: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

Abstentions: Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.

It should be noted that two world powers, other than the United States, China and the Russian Federation, have voted pro-Palestine.

How “unfortunate and counterproductive” the merely symbolic vote for the new Palestine state will be, will not only be determined by the State of Israel. The first reactions of the big loss of support for Israel in the UN were immediately followed by the usual Israeli accusations of “lies” being told by the President of Palestine, and punishing measures: expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, freezing of tax and other assets in Israel belonging to the Palestinian Authority.

A signal has been given now by the majority of members of the United Nations, that they want to see an end to what has become known as ‘the endless conflict’. It is a signal, not so much to ‘the old warrior guard’ that is leading Israel on the path of ‘no solution’ expressed by the continuous state of ‘low-intensity and asymmetrical war’ with an imprisoned neighbour, but to the Israeli population at large.


A continuous state of ‘low-intensity and asymmetrical war’. for a detailed report the November 2012 Gaza/Israel clashes see the extensive caption for this summarising visual depiction at my Flickr page (2)

Time for Israelis to think up a non-military vision of the future. Time for a new generation of politicians. Politicians that have to differentiate themselves fundamentally from all those who have failed in the past, decade after decade. Time to stop coming up with solutions that generate even more problems, with ‘the wall’ as one of the most obvious examples. Time to reflect on the failures within Israel itself with rampant inequalities and discrimination.


“The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – Tzahal likes to use quotes from the Scriptures to name their operations. Those familiar with the Scripture would easily understand the meaning of the name “Pillar of Cloud.” According to the book of Exodus, God himself appeared in the form of a pillar of cloud before Jews and accompanied them during their wandering in the desert. Hamas does the same Its latest war against Israel was called “Stones of Baked Clay.” According to the Qur’an, Allah turned the Ethiopian army who invaded Mecca into dust with such stones. Perhaps, Islamists think of their missiles that hit Israel towns as such “stones of baked clay.” This slogan appears on the new logo of Hamas made for their celebration of their 25th birthday as an organisation (lets remember how Israel intelligence forces have had a hand in the creation of Hamas as a method to split up Al Fatah).
The statistics of the relation between number of attacks and casualties on both sides in the conflict is to show how the concept of ‘asymmetrical warfare’ should be understood. A military defeat by the superior forces of Israel, nevertheless, was celebrated as a victory in Gaza City by Hamas with a triumphal parade and a huge stage where the exiled leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, presented himself in front of a stage mockup copy of a long range rocket that is claimed to have been build inside Gaza and is named after it’s range of 75 kilometers. A few these rockets which seem to be based on the Iranian Fajr rockets, have been fired into Israel last November, One landing outside Tel Aviv and another landing in the fields outside of Jerusalem. Note the stage design in Gaza City with a replica of the Wall in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The same mosque that appears in the Hamas logo.

Time for the Palestinians and their warying camps, to reflect on the failure of decades of militant and military strategies and tactics. Time to go beyond glorifying martyrdom and presenting defeats as victories. Time to allow those Palestinians, who have another vision, at least a voice. To overcome also the repressive violence within the own Gaza and West Bank territories by its own authorities and power groups.


“Stop the Attack on Gaza – Freedom for Gaza” was the slogan of the Dutch ‘Palestina Komittee’ in November 2012. STOP SUPPORTING A STALEMATE SITUATION I WOULD SAY be more intelligent than be used by the hawks, either Israeli or Palestinian ones! STOP wasting your good intentions taking sides for wrong causes. When you want Peace denounce all military and para-military actions. Only 200 or so demonstrators turned up, that was much lower than usual, maybe a sign to the one side partisans to reflect on their future actions

Time – as well – for all those supporters of the Palestinian cause, not to cast a blind eye on the internal and external violence perpetrated, by the leading Palestinian authorities and powers. Time for outsiders to use their special position as outsiders, to go beyond the usual single partisan support and extend it to those in the Israeli camp who seek other than military solutions. (3) Time to recognize that a balance of ‘means’ and ‘ends’ is needed, that drones, jets, rockets and missiles will only bring disaster from whatever camp and for whatever purpose they are fired.

There are NO ‘immaculate states’ in the world, the foundation of each of them has be done to the detriment of those who were discriminated, excluded, expelled, or massacred. The land that forms the body of a state is hardly ever ‘virgin land’ and most states are not ‘new born’ but ‘reborn’: conquered, recaptured, assembled into empires, associated, federated, divided and redivided.

Whence we overcome the shortsightedness of ‘nationalism’ and use real historical perspective we must admit that man is a migratory being and any state in the world proves to be – in the long run – a temporary entity – in spite of a-historical claims of millennia of state-continuity like certain Imperial China and State Zionist, and Inca-Empire reconstruction advocates claim.


Three maps showing partition plans for the Middle East region from the breaking up of the Ottoman Empire and confiscation by Western allied powers in 1916, at first with France, Great Britain, Italy and Russia, the last one falling out because of the turmoil of the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Brits getting Palestine as a protectorate and the subsequent carving up of territories into new – dependent – states, with one of the many maps showing a carving up proposal, between the new states of Israel and Palestine, dating from 1946. These are just three maps of a few thousand, each with their own reason of being drawn. As maps do represent always some kind of intend. There are no objective maps, let alone objective maps that treat history from different viewpoints in an equal way. When one reads through the thousands of partisan web pages pro/contra Israel, pro/contra Palestine now-a-days one always will see some maps coming up and people trying to make their point, or dismiss someone’s argument, all because of a certain map being reproduced. My idea of an Interactive Digital Atlas of all those maps would be hardly possible to make, its editorial committee would fail within a short time, accusations and denunciations would take up all of the time before real work even could have been started.

When we imagine an interactive map of the Middle East showing in layers all the complexities of ethnicity, religion, kingdoms, empires, states, colonies, protectorates, special zones and so on, it will become clear, that choosing any specific historical layer as a model for a future redivision of territory, will produce a chain-reaction of new problems and new violence. (3) Recent examples galore: the split up of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the ethnic cleansing between by Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, the reemergence of the Balkan conflict, such an overview would be too long a list for this article.

The crib of of Palestine will thus need to be adjusted to give equal place to the two infants. A readjustment not in one big violent reshuffle, but in a constant series of smaller changes, allowing the by now elderly infant-states to accommodate themselves as good as possible in this cramped space.

Re-inhabiting and re-distributing the land and in this process finding more space by breaking down both physical barriers and mental borders.

Can we allow ourselves to see the United Nations as the ‘Holy Family’ that will be so ‘wise’ and ‘fortunate’ to find ways to assist this process?

(1) Benedict Anderson “Imagined Communities – reflection on the origin and spread of nationalism‘; first published in 1983 (the link is for an extended edition published in 2006).
“Finally, a nation is an imagined community because “regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings.” (p.17) “The fact of the matter is that nationalism thinks in terms of historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations, transmitted from the origins of time through an endless sequence of loathsome copulations: outside history. Niggers are, thanks to the invisible tar-brush, forever niggers; Jews, the seed of Abraham, forever Jews, no matter what passports they carry or what language they speak or read. (Thus for the Nazi, the ‘Jewish ‘ German was always an impostor.” Anderson adds this note: “The significance of the mergence of Zionism and the birth of Israel is that the former marks the reimagining of an ancient religious community as a nation, down there among the other nations – while the latter charts an alchemic change from wandering devotee to local patriot.”) (page 136)

(2) 18/11/2012 Tjebbe van Tijen News-Tableaus on Flickr: “Only Self-Defense? ~ Gaza/Israel: Peace Needs other Weapons”

(3) List of Arab-Israeli peace projects on Wikipedia.

(4) G.W. Bowersock “Palestine: Ancient History and Modern Politics” (in “Blaming the Victims – spurious scholarship and the Palestinian Question“; Verso 1988)

“one constantly stumbles over the obstacles thrown up by the deliberate fragmentation of a fundamental unified region. If Palestine, together with Syria to the north, constituted between tem a cohesive and relatively stable area in Roman and Byzantine times, this was, not as some would undoubtedly suspect, because the Romans imposed the structure. They inherited it from the indigenous populations. In taking over Syria well before the Romans annexed Arabia, the Seleucid monarchs did relatively little to alter the cultural and administrative patterns they inherited. And when both Syria and Palestine were firmly within the sphere of Roman and Byzantine influence, the concept of a combined Syria-Palestine as an overall geographical and cultural unity became a reasonable one.” (page 186)
“The fragmentation of recent times has precipitated endless tragedy. Diplomats and negotiators keep hoping that problems can be resolved by carving up pieces to satisfy the various interested parties. (…) In historical perspective the convulsions of the region in the last decade represent a frantic and bloody effort to recapture some of the lost coherence, to restore the natural balance. The Syrian presence in Lebanon, the Israeli invasion of the same nation, not to mention the Israeli seizure from Jordan and Syria, all point to a primordial effort to eliminate, from one side ot the other, the unstable and unwise fragmentation of the area.” (page 187)

I quote Bowerstock just as one of many other examples how each layer of time chosen will generate another perspective on the past and future of this area of the world. Bowerstock published his study “Roman Aarabia” in 1983 with Harvard University Press and he obsreves the difficulty of making such a study not in line with neither the Biblical study tradition, nor the Israeli stae supported archeology for political reasons: “The politics of archeology are everywhere. The late Yigael Yadin was both an eminent archeologist and a political figure. The intermingling of his two carreers is neciely exemplified by the care with which he brought to public attention his discovery of authentic letters of the Jewish rebel Bar Kokhba. These letters survice from the time of the Jewish revolt against Roman rule in the reign of Hadrian.  To a dispassionate eye they scarcely show that famous figure as an inspiring leader (I once called him a pious thug), but nonetheless Yadin was pleased to introduce him to the Israeli public as nothing less than the first president of Israel.(…) Meanwhile, although the Bar Kokhba letters had been given prompt and broad publicity, another discovery made by Yadin and his fellow archeologists has remained unpublished for nearly twenty-five years.” Bowerstock continues to describe that the other letters discovered were less welcome to the archeologist and politician Yadin as they were from a Jewish woman by the name of Babatha who gives another perspective on the once glorified revolt of Bar Kokhba. “It is clear that the relation between Jews and Arabs in the territory south of the Dead Sea was a harmonious one.”  (P.185)

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Bernard Wientjes, voorzitter van ondernemersorganisatie VNO-NCW, vandaag in een ingezonden brief in Trouw.

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Dutch State Television (NOS) had a special prime time news bulletin of 30 minutes on a skating event in the Northern Province of Friesland, that has been cancelled because of insufficient good ice. This is seen by Dutch media as ‘a national disaster’, after them whipping up public attention and commercial expectations during the recent cold winter weeks.

De Elfstedentocht (the eleven town tour) is a 200 kilometer skating tour and competition through the Northern Province of Friesland, existing since 1909 and – only rarely – takes place, because of  too soft winters. The last skating tour was held in 1997.

On wednesday February  8th the association that organises the tour called it all off, because of insufficient thickness of the ice (15 centimeter were needed ‘iceologists’ explained). This non-event was blown up beyond proportions, with five or so journlists at different spots in the Northern province telling us that nothing would happen.

Everything was so serious and exalted in the presentation of this “world news” – a life press conference on non-skating – that it managed almost to reach the level of the famous North Korean public television drama display of ‘national suffering’, though others may have thought to watch the Monty Python News.

The journalist in the middle of the picture is the senior and schizophrenic sports reporter Mart Smeets who said first (February 5th.) that the whole skating event of the Elfstedentocht was nothing more than “an abject commercial funfair” (een platte commerciële kermis) and later could not stop himself to be in the camera lime light of this ‘local world news’, even where it was nothing more than an anti–happening.

In the previous week I noticed also the NOS reporter Peter ter Velde  (his name means “in the field”) well known as an embedded NATO journalist in Afghanistan, standing in front of a half frozen ditch in Friesland, with the same serious face as he puts on when reporting about the successes of the Dutch troops in Uruzgan and Kunduz in schooling Taliban fighters.

When you missed it you can enjoy it all at: http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1238898

World disasters and local misery have to wait a bit for receiving again full Dutch State Television attention, till after the Frisian meltdown.

Side effect is – once more – that we are updated on the social and political priorities of the editorial staff of the NOS Television Journal.

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Nu het ‘historisch opportunisme’ van het Nationaal Historisch Museum hen van de hun schuilkerk in Amsterdam naar de Grote Markt in Groningen heeft gedreven, is geen wind te zwak of het NHM draait wel mee… Inmiddels ligt er in het uiterste en meest moeilijk bereikbare Noord-Oostelijke puntje van Nederland de eerste steen voor het Nationaal Historisch Museum al weer geruime tijd klaar… of het nu om het dorrup Rottum of om de Rottumerplaat in de Wadden gaat weten mijn bronnen niet vertellen, maar dat het een rottig plekje voor een museum is dat staat wel vast. Enkel voor doordouwerige standvastige echte liefhebbers van het Nationaal erfgoed waaiert hier de wind, het zand en het strand, met aan het grijsblauwe zerk in het verschiet het nationalistischer symbool bij uitstek: de zeemeeuw. Hier, op de rand van de grote ijstijd, waar een wal van stenen als het ware de Grote Hollandse Muur als een natuurlijke barrière omhoog gestuwd heeft en onze volksziel haar natuurlijke grenzen vond met al het barbaarse buiten steen en wad liggende…. is toch de meest ideale plek voor hen die naar een volksgevoel snakken: in besloten gemeenschap gedeeld.

"Zwerfsteen in Rottum"

"Zwerfmuseum mogelijk naar Zuiderkerk in Amsterdam:

zie voor eerdere virtuele vestigingsplaatsen van dit zwerfmuseum de eerdere posts:

2010 December 24: Musea zonder H van Historisch: toeristische trekpleisters op het zere verleden

2010 November 5: Afgang der Batavieren in Nederland: geen Nationaal Historisch Museum in Arnhem

2010 October 31: Good news: plan for new National Historical Museum of the Netherlands cancelled

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Kop van Het Parool vandaag: “Amsterdam Museum, zonder Historisch.”

Dat beweer ik nu al weer geruime tijd: “die ‘H’ in de naam van het ‘Amsterdams Historisch Museum’ is een letter en een woord teveel. Een museum dat niet langer in staat is het verleden steeds weer kritisch te hereiken (*), mag zich geen ‘Historisch’ Museum noemen, maar verwordt tot een uitstalkast van oude voorwerpen die als enig doel hebben om genoeg pannenkoeken en prentbriefkaarten te verkopen middels de museumkantine en -winkel, om de ‘oudheidkamers’ tussen Kalverstraat en Nieuwe Zijds draaiende te houden.

Vanaf januari wordt het ‘AHM’ dus kortweg ‘AM’ en dat past perfect in de looproute van ‘de toeristische trekpleisters op het zere verleden’, van Anne Frankhuis en Madame Tussaud, tot Rembrandthuis en een ander museum – dat gezien haar tentoonstellingsbeleid van de afgelopen decennia – wellicht ook het recht op die letter ‘H’ dreigt te verliezen, Het Joods Historisch Museum aan het Jonas Daniel Meijerplein (**).  Als we de trekpleisterroute vervolgen en de brug bij de Weesperstraat oversteken en langs het voormalig ouden van dagen huis het Amstelhof lopen is er nog een museum dat de letter ‘H’ al bij haar openingstentoonstelling heeft moeten inleveren: de ‘Ermitage aan de Amstel’, met haar kritiekloos etaleren van de pronkstukken van het door lijfeigenen rijk geworden geslacht van de  Romanovs met vermijding van het historisch verband tussen het autocratisch tsarisme en het daaruit voortgekomen Sovjetbewind. Niet voor niets was zowel Koningin Beatrix als President Dmitry Medvedev bij de opening (met in het gevolg ook nog de toenmalige CEO van de Koninklijke Shell Jeroen van der Veer die de gelegenheid aangreep om een nieuwe deal over olievelden in Siberië aan te kaarten).

Ook het  bijna doodgeboren ‘Nationaal Historisch Museum’ dat zich  vanaf  januari 2011 – eveneens in Amsterdam – schuil gaat houden in een kerk aan de Sint Anthoniesbreestraat dreigt het zonder ‘H’ te moeten stellen, omdat het bij decreet vastgestelde aantal vensters op de nationale geschiedeniscanon, nauwelijks binnen de eerdere genoemde definitie  van het bijvoeglijke naamwoord ‘historisch’  te vatten is: ‘het verleden steeds weer kritisch hereiken’. ‘Nationaal Museum; is korter en dekt ook beter de door voormalig SP kamerlid Jan Marijnissen geformuleerde taakstelling van het bevorderen van een ‘neo-nationaalbewustzijn’ (***).

Duidt dit jongste gebeuren  op een ware trend van onthistorisering van musea, zeker nu er van regeringswege verklaard is dat musea met onvoldoende bezoekersaantallen niet langer op rijkssteun mogen rekenen? Hebben ‘de succesvolle managers’ het niet al lang overgenomen van ‘de studieuze wetenschappers’ in de directiekamers van onze lokale en nationale erfgoedinstellingen? Een tentoonstellingsbeleid gericht op ‘kassakrakers’ ligt in het verschiet, waarbij de ‘de historie’ zeker overleven zal, zij het uit het zicht, in goed verborgen ‘schuilmusea’.

(*) …zoals met de éénzijdig royalistische Oranjetentoonstelling van scheidend directrice Pauline Kruseman (nu nog Vicevoorzitter Raad van Toezicht Nationaal Historisch Museum);  ‘Theater na Tomaat’ een buitenshuis samengestelde, slordige tentoonstelling, waarbij zelfs het jongste verleden onvoldoende bestudeerd was en onbestaande verbanden als historische feiten gepresenteerd werden (zie een meer feitelijke beschrijving op mijn web site); de viering van “Vier eeuwen vriendschap” tussen Amsterdam en New York met totale verwaarlozing van zowel het weinig succesvolle en ook gewelddadige kortstondige Hollandse bewind aldaar en met een algeheel negeren van de revolutionaire ideeën van de 17e eeuwse Amsterdammer Franciscus van den Enden en zijn utopische visie voor een nieuwe volksplanting op de plek die later New York is gaan heten: “Kort Verhael van Nieuw-Nederlant” (1662). Dit laatste is wel de allergrootste gemiste kans van een museum in jaren, om zo’n hinderlijk ‘zoveel eeuwen’  jubileum niet aan te grijpen om een onderbelicht deel van de geschiedenis onder de aandacht te brengen. [n.b. Wim Klever heeft verschillende teksten van Francsicus van den Enden opnieuw bezorgd en van commentaar voorzien]

(**) …het Joods Historisch Museum ziet het niet als haar taak om de lokaal pijnlijke geschiedenis van de efficiënt georganiseerde deportatie van Joden vanuit Amsterdam pregnant in beeld te brengen (de beruchte Gemeentelijke planningskaart voor het Joodse Ghetto van Amsterdam hangt wonderlijk genoeg verderop in Het Verzetsmuseum). Museumprojecten die jonge generaties Amsterdammers kunnen helpen om een ander inzicht te geven in de geschiedenis van het Jodendom en hun vervolging worden node gemist. Wat steeds ontbreekt bij het vormen van een eigen inzicht is de onaangename geschiedenis van de medewerking – van zowel Nederlandse autoriteiten als vertegenwoordigers van de Amsterdamse Joodse gemeenschap – aan de deportaties. Zo’n  zelfkritische historische benadering is een voorwaarde om een beter debat over het huidige door oppervlakkige argumenten gestuurde anti-semitisme mogelijk te maken.

(***) Jan Marijnissen: “Een volk zonder geschiedenis bestaat niet. Elk volk, ook het Nederlandse volk, heeft dus een geschiedenis. De hedendaagse verwarring over onze morele, culturele en politieke identiteit vindt voor een deel haar verklaring in het ontbreken van historisch besef in brede lagen van de bevolking.” Voor eerder commentaar op het 19e eeuwse idee van een ‘Nationaal Historisch Museum’ aan het begin van de 21e eeuw zie mijn post “Good news: plan for new National Historical Museum of the Netherlands cancelled” op dit blog.

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Good News from the BAD POLITICAL FRONT: the building of a newNational Historical Museum of the Netherlands” has been cancelled by the new Dutch government. This is excellent news! Who wants Double Dutch History cast into lots of building materials? Who wants to institutionalize persistent Dutch denialism of their colonial past? Who wants the governmental ‘imagined community’ of the Low Countries to be even further Disneyfied? Who wants to look at the glorified Dutch self-image through the canonized windows of state dependent historians? We have plenty of museums in the Netherlands offering such kind of idealized Dutch-centric history representations, already for decades… the whole idea is a belated 19th century concept of constructing a past that never actually was, to forge a ‘new Dutch national consciousness’ in post-national times.

"Daaag Geschiedenis..." ~ "Byeee History..." is what I imagine hearing when seeing the waving bronze woman. The Dutch text is a promotion text in a special design as produced by the launching organisation of the National Historical Museum and reads: "The National Historical Museum stimulates the historical imagination." The orange building in the back is the actual design for the new building now stalled; the white building in front is the former palace 'Soestdijk' of the deceased Queen Juliana by some proposed as another possible national historical museum site; the statue shows the Queen and her husband Prince Bernhard, Juliana waving as she used to do each year when a 'defilé' of Dutch citizens came to congratulate her with her birthday on 'Queensday', the 30th of April.

The image shows the design for the National Historical Museum in the Eastern border town of Arnhem and the palace of former Queen Juliana in Soestdijk (in the heart of the country) the last one has also be proposed as a seat for such a new National Historical Museum. The idea for such a museum has been strongly propagated by Jan Marijnissen, the party leader of the Socialistiese Partij (SP). His proposal – dating from 2003 – was later also supported by the Christian Democrat Party CDA, a party now in government and deciding to stall the whole museum building project. As it is a ‘national Dutch’ project, I fail to find English language links on the subject. That in itself may be seen as symbolic for the whole undertaking, a sign of the isolating tendencies in Dutch politics of the last decade, moving away from a more internationalist position before.

Jan Marijnissen opens his original proposal with  “a nation without history does not exists”  and speaks about “the nowadays confusion about our moral, cultural and political identity” which finds its origin – partly – in “the missing of a historical consciousness in broad layers of the population.”

Een volk zonder geschiedenis bestaat niet. Elk volk, ook het Nederlandse volk, heeft dus een geschiedenis. De hedendaagse verwarring over onze morele, culturele en politieke identiteit vindt voor een deel haar verklaring in het ontbreken van historisch besef in brede lagen van de bevolking.

Marijnissen acknowledges the existence of many museum institutions and the cornucopia of objects and methods of display on Dutch history, offered by them, but he regrets that nowhere “the rise of society in the Low Countries at the Sea (he uses the conjunction ‘wordingsgeschiedenis’ = history of coming into being)  is told. In other words he is longing for a singular narration of national history.

Echter, hét verhaal van de wordingsgeschiedenis van (de mensen die wonen in) “de lage landen bij de zee” wordt nergens verteld. In het kader van een herwaardering van het belang van historisch besef zou het goed zijn als dat wel zou gebeuren.

His longing for a singular ‘grand narration’, a genesis of the the Low Countries, is something that frightens me because put in practice, it will be more a product of ‘imagination’ and ‘believe’ than of ‘history’. Such a singular story is the opposite from what I envisage as the practice of history: dynamic confrontations of differing views.  It will more hamper  than help, the finding of a ‘social identity’. In my vision we need not put our energy in redefining what is ‘Dutchness’,  but better come to an understanding of the multiple identities and the plurality of the social territories in which we are living. The times of the fenced off Garden of Holland (Het Hof van Holland) with a gate defended by a lion with a sword, lay far behind us. Already in its time this was an allegory  of a non-reality. Man is both a migratory and a sedentary animal. Nations are ‘imagined communities’ and the new narratives we need, do not fit in any ‘national building’.

"Houdt op in mijn tuin te wroeten Spaanse varkens!" (Stop burrowing my garden Spanish pigs!) A Dutch engraving 1578/1582 in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (object code: RP-P-OB-77.682). One sees the Dutch lion defending the fence around the garden with a sword or club. Click Picture for bigger view...

Old Dutch text has been reconstructed as:

Houdt op in mijn thuyn te wroeten Spaensche beesten
wilt uwen verckens-cop toch achterwaerts trecken
oft mijn Guesche-cndse [cnodse ?] salt u soo verleeren
die u thooft sal breken oft den hals doen recken;
den edelen prince daer ghij meed’ woudt ghecken
sal u te water en land’ bespringhen all;
vertreckt met u vuijl soghen en jonge specken
loop guyten loop oft Geux u daertoe dwinghen sall.

An interesting photograph of the inauguration of the statue of the former Queen Juliana and her husband Prince Bernhard by queen Beatrix can be found on a royalist web site and the photograph below, showing the unveiling in the year 2009, while the wind blows the orange drapery into the shape of the tower with its shifting floors as can be seen in the design for the new National Historical Museum. The design of the Historical Museum dates from 2007 and is by one of the founders of the architect association Mecanoo, Francine Houben (1955-).

Statue designed and made by Kees Verkade (1941-) in 2009.

Building designed by Francine Houben (1951-) in 2007 and stalled in 2010.

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Uruzgan was de “Vijfde Politionele Actie” van Nederland in Azië. ‘Politionele Actie’ een Hollands eufemisme om het werkelijke imperiale streven van de inzet van Nederlandse troepen te verhullen: Pogingen eerst om het koloniale rijk in Den Oost te behouden: de Indonesische eilanden en Nieuw Guinea. “Politionele acties” 1 en 2 van 1947 tot 1949 op Java en Sumatra met inzet van vrijwilligers later ook dienstplichtigen; nummer 3 was de koude anti-comunistische Korea Oorlog 1950-1953 met uitzending van soldatenvrijwilligers; nummer 4 Nieuw Guinea 1959-1961 waarbij dienstplichtigen gedwongen werden deel te nemen in een krampachtige poging dit strategisch gelegen mineraalrijke eilandsdeel voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden te behouden. Laatste in dit rijtje is het eveneens grondstofrijke Afghanistan met inzet van beroepssoldaten, de VIJFDE NEDERLANDSE POLITIONELE ACTIE IN AZIë, die in NAVO-jargon ‘Task Force Uruzgan‘ genoemd wordt.

Traditiegetrouw wordt iedere beëindiging van zulk een typische Hollandse ‘politionele actie’ met stille trom gevierd en rest enkel nog de nazorg van de familieleden van de omgekomen Nederlandse militairen en de getraumatiseerde soldaten die het overleefd hebben. Zij kunnen – hier ten lande-  op meer begrip rekenen, dan de even getraumatiseerde achterblijvende Afghanen. Jammer genoeg moeten de laatsten bij hun eventuele reisplannen, om-er-even-uit-te-zijn, rekening houden met deze, op de website van de Partij Voor de Vrijheid te vinden, reisbeperking: “Invoering quotum asielzoekers van maximaal 5.000 per jaar, opvang in eigen regio.”

Deze recente cartoon is - heel verrassend - op de officiële Nederlandse geschiedenis canon web site te vinden die anders weinig uitblinkt in het kritisch weergeven van het Hollands koloniaal verleden. In mijn hoofd zie ik vrijwel dezelfde prent met twee Hollandse dienders tegen een bergachtige achtergrond, één van de mannen op het bankje heeft een Afghaanse muts en de rechtse bromsnor zegt: "... zitten we een beetje de Taliban te spelen soms?." Klik cartoon om het canon-venster te zien....

Het wachten is nu op de lange en vertraagde  nasleep met details en cijfers over het totale aantal doden en andere slachtoffers van deze “vredesmissie” – ongeacht of zij nu het stempel Taliban of niet opgedrukt gekregen hebben. Nu de ingebedde journalisten met ander werk uitgescheept gaan worden, zal met het verloop van de tijd het nog verzwegene alsnog gaan spreken. Weer “een venster in de nationale geschiedenis canon” erbij waarvan het gordijn nog opgeschoven moet worden.

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