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A Frenchie travelling the world...

30 August 2007

Holidays

Dear readers,

I was in holidays in France for a couple of weeks. This is why there haven't been any posts lately. It was nice (though rainy). Those who wants to see the pictures can here. Mostly boring if you are not a family member, but there are nice pictures of my parents town and region.

13 August 2007

New name for the blog !

Dear readers,

I had to chose a new name for the blog, as the old one was creating too many wrong search results. Temporarily, it is now Logrus Marelles Story, until I find something better or more fitting the content. If you guys out there have any good idea I can use, I am open to suggestions. It is a bit tricky, considering that my rantings are covering several very different topics... But well, we'll see how this works.

09 August 2007

Gert Wilder and the Koran

Dear readers,

I just wanted to react to the hot topic of the day in the Netherlands. The leader of the PvV (Party for Freedom, an extreme right wing small Dutch party), Gert Wilders, has asked for a ban on the Koran in the Netherlands, comparing the Muslim holy book to Mein Kampf. As you can imagine, this has stirred quite some reactions, not only from the Muslim community, but also from the media, the government and, more interestingly, from lawyers. Two lawyers are suing Wilders on the basis that he is attacking the Dutch "samenleving" concept. This concept means that The Netherlands ability to survive as a crowded small multicultural country is based on a relative tolerance and the possibility to "live together" ("samenleven" in Dutch) peacefully.

Wilders has attacked this relentlessly indeed, even since before his election in the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch lower chamber of the Parliament). His targets are mainly the left wing SP (and anything vaguely socialist) and the Muslim community and concepts. He likes also to fire at will on the conservative government. His favorite tactics are slander, calomny, veiled threats and Parliament open questions... This is resented by many in the Netherlands, but not all, as the PvV enjoys a small but significant level of electoral support.

This last outburst though is probably one too many. The Netherlands is a very religious society (very comparable to the USA in that matter) and most its social and educational system, as well as part of its political system is confessionally based. While most political and social movement are Christian (Catholics and Protestants are roughly representing 45% of the population each), the Muslim community is strong here and sometimes quite radicalised. Muslims here have schools, mosques and social organisations. Attacking their most basic faith is a very dangerous game. Not that they might retaliate physically (it is not to be excluded, but Wilders is quite paranoid and pretty well protected), but because of the parallels that could be made.

I have read the Koran myself (though not in its original language, unfortunately) as well as the Bible and some other "holy books". To be honest, the Muslim sacred book is not worse nor better than most of the others. It is for some parts fairly violent, unfair and one sided. For other parts it is tolerant, open and poetic. The same can be said of most of these books. Attacking one on the fact that parts of it are violent is in a way attacking all the others. And that is something that most Dutch people, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike are not ready to accept...

04 August 2007

Lieke Snellen expo

Dear readers,

I visited yesterday the art expo of a friend, Lieke Snellen, at the Tent (Witte de Withstraat, Rotterdam). Lieke is a Master graduate of the Piek Zwart Art School. She was showing her work for the public in this space reserved for young contemporary artists. I took the liberty to take some pictures to show her work. They are available on my Flickr gallery (the link is in the right hand menu).

I think Lieke has done a great job, both in using every day's life objects and transforming them into sculptures, but also in the video montages she has put on display. I particularly liked what she did with the chairs, but also a very nice piece of work including bricks of two colors. It is, all in all, very promising and I wish her a lot of success in the future. She has some talent!
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Shop story

Dear readers,

This is just a little story I heard recently. But quite revealing of the times we are living in...

It's this little cute black girl in a shop in Rotterdam Zuid. She bables with the sales woman and explains her how happy she is. The sales woman asks her about her parents. The girl is beaming with pride: "My dad is a musician. He is really good..." The sales woman: "Really. That's nice." The girl replies: "He is such a good musician that he even received a prize..." The sales woman obviously asks which prize her dad got. And the little girl answers, dead serious: "Hij heeft een general pardon gewonnen!" (he received imunity from prosecution for being an illegal immigrant in the Netherlands, effectively granting him residency permit).

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