Saturday, October 20, 2018

Summer is over (and that's a good thing)

The summer this year was an ongoing repeatment of sunshine, hot weather and hardly any rain. It lasted months, this torture of nature. For me, it came with a decent amount of Blues. I never thought I would experience a summer depression, but I did. I do have a tendency to be melancholic, it seems one of the talents that came along with creativity and an eye for beauty. It struck me that this characteristic took over from the positive ones, while I was walking around in shorts (at the most) taking cooling down showers outside under the antique Portuguese bucket. You would think that life was a joy, that it was as it was supposed to be when The Netherlands were said goodbye. However, I couldn’t see it for a while, that Portuguese dream of living on a hill in this rural vicinity. When I saw beautiful flowers bloom, the only thing I could think of was that they were in the wrong place and grew much too big.

For the first time, I experienced physical complaints as a result of not knowing where to go or what to do, even worse, not even know where to start. The result, in the end, is that I found myself not answering phone calls, avoiding any contact with the outside world except for the odd remark on social media. It’s so easy to pretend everything is going well when you can hide the facts with funny remarks and thumbs-up’s. Lately, I’m more aware that there might be sad stories behind all these “look where we went out to for dinner” and smiling selfies with a glass of wine at some fancy bar. Just the fact that I have a dog to take care of, might have been the reason I didn’t just keep laying in bed. I found myself taking photos with my phone, of me and the dog, and sharing them on Facebook or Instagram as a token of being alive and out there. As making “How to, DIY and recycling” videos is one of the activities that support the Portuguese dream, something in the back of my mind told me to keep visible on social media, although I made only a few contributions to my “Not just sawdust” Youtube channel.

It’s getting colder, the afternoons are getting shorter and we just stacked-up 2 tons of firewood. Being melancholic is valid again thanks to brown leaves and a smoking chimney. But “we” seems to be a cure for most of the dark voices that discourage me to tackle reality. She’s back and that makes all the difference. A few decades ago I used to be that stubborn individual, chasing success, waving away all problems with creative solutions and just denied hearing the haunting voices that wanted me to face the childhood encounters with “situations” which in those days were on top of the list of subjects one didn’t talk about. Losing that individual stubbornness when becoming just one half of a whole is a good thing. It made my life so much more pleasant, secret thoughts were shared, old “issues” were banned to the world of darkness and the gate was barricaded with true love. Last summer I experienced the downside, I am just half, maybe even less. I need the other half to function, to not be thrown back to the dark side because that individual from way back past the point of being able to be rebooted.

Summer is over, for me, for the first time I’m living thru the seasons, it’s a positive thought. It took a few days to connect all the little wires that were cut off for 3 months, but it was a simple procedure and a very enlightening awareness that the ends had no signs of corrosion whatsoever. I’m back as that melancholic partner, with all those side effects as creativity and an eye for beauty. The workshop floor is covered in sawdust again, new projects are on their way to completion and I even found the courage to take on one of my former jobs and started the restoration of an antique painting. I’m talking to the camera again and accept what I see when I’m editing the footage in my little studio. I am confronted with myself, a weekly video seems to have so much more impact than an occasional photo, but the way I look depends on whether I’m functioning as a whole. To have a clear view, to exploit my creativity and skills, to understand the meaning of life as such and to keep my mind out of the shadow, I need my other half. I do understand some others now. “Just get on with it”, seems one of the most hurtful remarks you can make to those who are lost within themselves. It’s an important lesson learned, no matter how convenient some solutions may look, they won’t work if we’re not one and complete.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

An online session with a shrink

"You are one of those many new patients suffering from a contra-normalization syndrome", said the online psychologist last night, during a Skype session with the sawdust maker. "Unlike people who simply adapt and arrange to new circumstances, you’re trying to get the speed out of evolution".

Sure, I guess the shrink made a viable point. Here, on the lonesome hill, in the midst of a society where traditions and manners slowly reach the freedom of the 1980s, the need for change is not that obvious. "The dubious symptoms are altruism, complacency, compassion and a thrive for moral magnificence", was the explanation of the man who looked into my kitchen through the webcam. "Suspicious qualities that stand in the way of your personal future and success and even compromise your environment with moral issues that slow down progress".

After a few hours, 6 cups of coffee and half a pack of rolling tobacco, sitting in the dark for a folded laptop, having thought about the diagnosis, I came to the conclusion that being educated, having the allowance to put “Doctor” in front of your name, is not a measure by which one is capable to determine the flaws in someone else's mind. It could, of course, be the result of being exposed to a large quantity of sawdust, but the self-protecting cells in my brain soon started to talk to me.

The new normal, in which the freedom of expression consists of insulting, discriminating and selfishly looking away from other people's persecution, seems to elevate a qualification as focused selfishness to a positive quality that would not look misplaced as the most important mention on a CV. The world around me seems so real, but at the same time so different from the world that is being presented by politicians, fake news writing journalists and talk show analysts. Looking down from the lonesome hill towards the left, the wrong side of the ocean, a historic feudal system is build up at an island not far from the European coast and to the right there’s a worrying process expanding where wannabee dictators maintain close contact with the leaders of populist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic movements, worshipped by a flog of uneducated sheep, relying on the only source of knowledge they have; their lower abdomen.

I know, from here, safely within the thick dry-stone walls of a little house, overseeing the valley, looking at the world from a fair distance, it is easy to ascribe to yourself some moral eminence without having any sense of guilt or being ashamed of the qualities that make one a nice person. As the 78-year-old akela of the Dutch talk show’s wrote in her memoirs; “It wasn’t the Nazi enemy, who took my Jewish father out of the house to be transported to a concentration camp, but our neighbours who quickly conformed to the new normal”. The sawdust maker is going out again today, doing some chores and delivering some produced expressions of creativity, completely inconspicuous in the refugee resort that Portugal is slowly becoming ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

As if we slaughtered our goat and burned our last clothes.

38 Years ago I spend some time in Turkey, from then on many times and even worked there longer periods, but that’s beside the point. I was 15 and stayed in a little village far from modern society. People didn’t have electricity, never seen a video camera and laughed when I showed my invention; a tripod seat to put over the hole in the ground called a toilet. I spend evenings listening to the stories that were told by the older man. The first one that comes to mind is the story about 3 young men who convinced the imam of the village that the world would come to an end at midnight. They met the imam at the riverside where he was washing his goat. “We better eat the goat”, they said, “enjoy a last good meal”. The Imam agreed, killed the goat and told the young men to have a swim in the river, clean themselves for the last prayer before they would roast the goat. They took off all their clothes, jumped into the river and the Imam made a fire. After a while of having fun, they smelled the meat on the barbecue and returned. “First a prayer”, the Imam said and so they worshipped Allah and enjoyed the meat of the goat that the Imam offered for this special occasion. When all were done eating the Imam said; “Now we can wait until midnight with pride, we prayed, we offered a goat, it will all be alright!” He stood up and told the boys that he would wait for the end of the world at the mosk. “But where are our clothes?” they asked. “Well, I used them to start the fire”, the Imam said, “you don’t need them anymore, because in half an hour you will be in heaven”. And off he went... I guess I don’t have to explain the moral of the story.

One man told the story of his grandfather who was always making predictions about the future. He was seen as the village lunatic because he was telling about times to come when he would shoot a ├žilkeklik (partridge), people on the other side of the ocean could see the feathers in the sky. When I said that he was right about it and we even saw people walking on the moon, I was considered to be a bit strange too. The last time I visited the same village, everybody had internet, a flatscreen TV and most of them a European toilet. Where we in western societies slowly got used to modernities, these people had to cope with all the changes and technical revolution in just one decade. Lately, I’m thinking back to my time over there a lot, realizing that what I saw as poverty back then was in fact richness we can only dream about nowadays. People knowing so much and being so wise without realizing it, facing reality with solutions found in nature and close to home. A few generations later, some people still don’t understand the impact of the prediction made by the old man in the village of Topluca in Turkey. There are still people who think they can share secrets with others, without the risk of them being exposed later on.

Today, (September 5th) me and my love, we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, that’s no secret. We are welded together, have the same thoughts at the same moments, know each other to the detail of every spot on our skin, every scar on our soul and know exactly how to use the clutch and shifter so the weakened teeth in our mutual gearbox don’t break. Where one lacks power, the other turns up the energy. When one feels hailstones on the shoulders, the other will hold up a protective umbrella. Both missing some ingredients but when mixed together the ideal base for a spicy dish. We enjoy togetherness in our own way, solve problems our way, finding creative and unconventional solutions to make it stick. Believe me, superglue is nothing compared to that what bonds our relationship. We certainly aren’t average, far from mainstream and miles away from a conventional excepted form of family. We might be seen as “normal” though and just lucky to have the spare parts between each other to make both complete, but we are not two, we are one.

For some, it’s a reason to compliment us with our relation. It’s nice to hear younger couples express their ambition to be in 20 years where we are now (relation wise, on other subjects they could do much better). It’s a privilege to be seen as “successful” among those “youngsters” and to be part of their evolutionary world, where religious burdens and conservative conventions are seen as relics of a past. Therefore it takes much more effort to be accepted by people still living according to their one-sided upbringing, narrowed view on any relationship – other than money making man, child raising, soap-opera watching, household budget spending woman, weekends with soccer and washing the precious car, yearly holiday at the known places, fake Christmas peace celebrating rituals and grasping the hopeful straw of a later in life pension – that is different than their own. They don’t seem to comprehend in which way their expressions are seen and heard of, within minutes after sharing them with a “friend”. The days of spreading a rumour, known to everybody in the village or inner circle of acquaintances, except for the ones who are a victim of that gossip, are long over.

Everything gets out, one way or the other and reaches the ones who it concerns by social media contacts like WhatsApp, messenger or twitter. The problem with “analogue” friends is that it’s not just about pushing a button to “unfriend”, although some think they’re living a modern life and know the ins and outs of the digital world. They don’t seem to understand the concept of friends of friends of friends on a platform like Facebook. Like that partridge feathers on the other side of the world, gossip shared with “close” friends only takes a few moments to reach the ones that it wasn’t meant for. So one could think it’s safe to call me a pimp, sending his wife abroad to work when telling it to someone 2500 kilometres away in another country, instead of walking the few steps back home and tell it in my face. So-called friends, with not even a grasp of understanding about the choices, not interested in the reasons behind such a difficult decision we made as a couple, aren’t worth the discussion. All social media platforms have a blocking option and our house has a front door that’s only to be opened for the ones we welcome. Those feeling superior should watch out on the doorstep, we’re a two-person band, making music like an orchestra, we’re an environmentally friendly engine maintained by the best product you can find; Love. Everybody is welcomed except for the ones who spread the gossip that we slaughtered our goat and burned our last clothes....

Monday, September 3, 2018

Keeping a secret...

As I was searching for something trivial.
I found a secret that shouldn’t have to be.
It felt like an embarrassing encounter,
with somebody else's fantasy.

Now the knowledge is stored in my brain,
but this wasn’t for my eyes to see.
I understand the need to pursue those moments,
as I do the same in an extended degree.

Life goes on, new conventions planted,
time fades away with tradition as a referee.
Feeling guilty although there’s nothing wrong,
accused of treason, just because I disagree.

The mind works, using dirty tricks,
simply forgetting is not a guarantee.
Memories stacked upon imagination,
the little secret is safely buried in me.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Happiness is not a state of mind...

It’s a big part of my brain activity lately, after reading some columns, some studies and seeing a few documentaries and films. The search for happiness and why it so hard to be successful in finding it. Why even bother to chase it when it’s always disappearing at the moment you feel it’s close by. It seems that happiness became a business structure, some kind of a marketing tool as a reward for purchasing the right ingredients to have a happy life. To be exact, it’s the promise to encounter happiness that’s been used in so many adverts, political statements, lottery’s and lifecoach leaflets. Strangely enough, they come with a pricetag, the solutions offered by those who deal in happiness. In the end happiness can’t be bought, no matter how hard you believe in all the commercial solutions.

The modern world is functioning because of one common promise to everyone who is willing to consume the ingredients. Whether it’s a stylish car, some anti-aging lotion, an i-Phone X, an Ikea couch, the vote for a political party, having you lips injected with botox, sessions with a mindfulness coach, an overpriced cafe latte without caffeine, joining a terrorist group, some fancy brand sneakers or some plastic surgeon reducing the size of your labia, it all comes down to selling you that short misunderstood moment of happiness. It’s an addictive process and that chemical reaction in the brain lasts just a short period of time resulting in the need for purchasing more of the proven remedy. A few smart bastards in this world are fully aware of the process and are doing everything in their power to keep you just a few steps away from that horizon. It keeps the cash flowing, expanding the dependence on their promises which justifies higher prices.

I read an interesting piece on the matter of happiness by Dutch Lector Brain & Technology, Jan Willem de Graaf. A careful first step towards a scientific explanation on the subject of happiness.

“If people experience happiness, they buy less, and that is difficult in a world where economic expansion is the engine”.

  The conclusion that the discrepancy between expectation and reality can’t be too big in order to stimulate purchasing behavior, because than the promise towards happiness could be discovered as a lie, is a dangerous line for those dealing in it. Less satisfaction is obvious a powerful driving force, often used by politicians to gain votes by promising a better world. Lately people’s identity and the failing protection of their cultural history seems a good argument to explain the lack of happiness. It’s the same devious way in which religions are spread, hatred against all that’s different is planted and walls of exclusivity are build.

“Sometimes I'm afraid that our world (economy) unintentionally needs a lot more people as a consumer than a producer. The fact that a large group of people who do not directly have the skills needed for progress (currently mostly technical) are 'trained' especially to be consumers”

I’m living in the rural vicinity of central Portugal, a region that’s becoming more and more popular by people from the northern European countries to escape from that “happyless” society they’re living in. Away from an economy that flourishes with the purchases of brainwashed consumers. They are looking for those chemical brain reactions in living “off grid”, growing their own food and at a reasonable distance of the mainstream community concerning spendings on luxury and needles products. Pursuing a way of spending time more wisely, living more healthy and shaping their lives based on experiences that come with their decision. Slowly the individual search turns into a communicative goal, becoming some kind of a society next to historic and cultural grown one already existing. There’s a big resemblance with the way other societies evolved. The parallelism with how religious and economical societies, by means of promising happiness, were grounded in the past is frighteningly disappointing. It seems just a part of human nature, wanting to convince others of your ways instead of enjoying your personal discovery towards a happy life. Again history repeats itself and the promise of happiness is sold as a standard solution for all. The ones on a personal quest for a better life are convinced to become a paying consumer. A society with all kinds of retreats asking for a substantial contribution out of the parallel economical world for a medical mushroom ceremonies, to get shamanically healed, for drowning in Pusanga baths, to be awakened by meditation, to join session of qi gong, to relax deeply and discover the depth of who you are or finding your natural state which of course is not a happy one, otherwise there wouldn’t be a need to spend the money on it. Not that the consuming of those ingredients will make you find happiness other than maybe a few moments while being away from daily life with responsibilities, financial challenges, family relations and your own personality. It does however pay the bills for those selling it.

Life doesn’t come cheap, not even a spiritual one. Even people who have seen through the scam of consumerism won’t let go of the benefits from the modern society. They need an internet connection to spread the word, sell their therapy’s towards finding happiness and order yoga rugs and faraway spices and ingredients for ceremonies based on other cultures remedies. Happiness is not a state of mind, not a way of life or something you can search for. It will find you at certain moments, completely unexpected and the awareness of that feeling depends on the chemical reaction in your brain. It explains why so many religious people aren’t happy at all. They are told it’s homosexuals, women having abortions, people from other cultures or with a different skin colour that stand between them and their happiness. So many live with an implanted brandmark in their minds that happiness comes automatically with the purchase of a certain perfumes, cloths, cars, phones, furniture and all luxury items, that eating at the right food chain will help and that looking 30 when your 60 will contribute to happiness. Live gets much more meaningful if you stop hunting down happiness. If you manage to except life for that what it is, moments of happiness will occur in many forms, mostly when you are prepared to share it out of passion instead of personal gain. The more moments you encounter, the less you will feel the need to consume. The less you consume, the more independent your thoughts and feelings will get and you’ll discover you don’t need other people’s spiritual beliefs and rituals to grow your own....

The Unidentifiable Beauty of romanticizing facts

Our history is drowned with dark moments, some we do remember, some we don’t like to remember but most important is that we should remember the events where humanity took a wrong turn. We should teach the next generations about them, learn them to put dreadful happenings in the right context and hope history doesn’t repeat itself. It seems that over centuries the absolutely inhumane behaviour and excesses of crime against humanity are easily romanticized. Sometimes with commercial reason, pirates where just adventures people who didn’t harm anybody according to the Disney Studio’s, sometimes with evil propaganda in mind. The controversy about removing statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and other Confederate “heroes” in the southern states of America is almost getting to the same proportions as the violent discussion about the Black Piet in The Netherlands. I remember the American soldiers tearing down a statue of Saddam Hussein, because “the bad guys” should be erased out of history. Statues of Lenin were sold by the weight of the concrete and one of them turned up standing in the North-East of Groningen.

It’s important to preserve and study history, learn to acknowledge the dark moments and that the statues in the former confederate states represent the subjugation of African-Americans. If a statue had a plague with the historic facts, it could be a monument that learns next generations about the evil events of the past. Today, for white supremacists, these statues symbolize the hatred and bigotry, they feel and express so violently. It’s not just an American problem, this racism and worship of the symbols that stand for it. Nazi’s are marching openly, carriing their flags with swastikas, in more than just one country in Europe. Most people are appalled, remembering the outcome of the actions by the nazi’s in the second world war, by seeing these symbols rising again. A few are informed about the first World War and when it comes to the awful crimes their forefathers committed they don’t want to remember. It’s the length of time that seems to make history less important. There’s still so much anger that the Turks don’t want to commit to the word genocide when looking at the history of Armenia, but when it comes to the genocide of native Americans, nobody, except the ancestors of the victims, seems to care.

After many decades the Dutch gouvernment still has problems to recognize and apologize for the inhuman slaughters in their former colony Indonesia, when it comes to their role in the world wide business of slavery they still use incoherent words to describe one of the worse acts of crimes against humanity. It’s a subject where the Portuguese, so called brothers in arms, of the Dutch, could spent just a little more effort to teach that dark period of the country’s history their children. Of course there’s always a few sides to the same story. As Robert E. Lee is a hero to the uneducated and presidentially supported white supremacists in the southern states, Lenin’s ideology is still subscribed by many communists politicians, desperate young brainwashed muslims still walk around with Bin-Laden on their T-shirts and a new wave of German brown boots is worshipping one of the most evil minds in history, others are silent, maybe because of the fear of confrontation, or just not knowing how to stand up to all those threads to humanity. There are obvious solutions as to speak out against all forms of racism and bigotry, but if even politicians and gouvernments “go with the populist flow” that’s a scary thing to do. One of the other things we could do is stop romanticizing history and keep to the facts, teach our children the truth about Pirates, Templar Knights, Ninja’s and other murdering historic figures. Spiderman, Batman and Archie the man of Steel won’t come to the rescue, that’s for sure. The world that Asterix and Obelisk lived in wasn’t just an adventures time.

If you would ask any educated person nowadays what they think of the Isis terrorism, they will condemn all their actions and extreme religious explanations of their Koran. But they are a large organization of extreme devout Muslims with a mission: to protect the land from other religious influences and to spread their evil beliefs all over the world by killing innocent people and brainwash youngsters to be a part of their mission. They are financially supported by unknown “dark forces” but these people behind it are to important for business worldwide, so they are protected by most gouvernments in the world, money comes always first. So Isis is (maybe was by now) a wealthy, powerful and mysterious terrorist group that will fascinated historians for centuries in the future, their financial acumen, their blunt guerilla prowess and their killing on behalf of Islam will circulate as a warning example throughout future cultures. As they are supported by influential religious leaders and even certain gouverments, there no telling when they will be defeated. Isis gained enormous financial influence in the regions that they rule. Members seem to live up to rules of poverty, and obedience. They aren’t allowed to drink, gamble or swear, although raping and killing doesn’t be on the list of forbidden behaviour. Prayer seems essential to their daily life, and the members of Isis express a particular adoration for just a few quotes from the prophet Mohammed.
As their members grow in size and status, they are establishing new groups, I guess they are called “cell’s” nowadays,  throughout Western Europe, preparing for even more terrorist attacks. Are they at the height of their influence? Maybe, but with the financial support still coming from certain places, they are boasting a sizable amount of arms and held to no one’s authority, except maybe some secret sheik somewhere in the world.

Now, how will the average day people living in Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria or Afganistan, remember Isis in a few hundred years? Will they have statues? Will they romanticize their actions? Are they going to be condemned for their cruelties against humanity, like Hitler and his Nazi Army? Will there be groups of people marching with Isis flags whenever they need someone else to blame for the problems of those future days, as is happening now? Or will they be embraced as a defenders of the faith when these countries are still under islamic influence. It’s not impossible. There are examples of horrendous historic facts that have been romanticized. In 1139, Pope Innocent II issued a Papal Bull that allowed the Knights Templar special rights. Among them, the Templars were exempt from paying taxes, permitted to build their own oratories, and held to no one’s authority, except for some dark force, head of the Catholic Church, the Pope. They were old fashioned terrorists (the didn’t know the word though back then), who, after Christian armies in 1099 captured Jerusalem from Muslim control during the Crusades, defended groups of pilgrims from across Western Europe who started visiting the Holy Land, the first missioners for whom Christianity was the only way to avoid a life in hell. Though its original purpose was to protect pilgrims from danger, the Knights Templars progressively expanded their duties. They became defenders of the Crusader states in the Holy Land and were known as highly skilled warriors. The group developed a reputation as fierce fighters during the Crusades, driven by religious fervor and forbidden from retreating unless significantly outnumbered. The Templars built numerous castles and fought, and often won, battles against Muslim armies. Their fearless style of fighting became a model for other military and terrorist later on..  Well, soon it would be Catholicism that would claim “the truth”. Centuries later, they proved to be real religious terrorist by killing al Jews, or more gently ban them, from Spain and Portugal, the reason there were so many Jews living in Amsterdam when the next hunt by Nazi Germany started. By now half of the world prays in Catholic Churches, even in the middle of Africa or the Rainforests of Southern America. Sometimes converted with the help of knowledge but more often by blunt force and genocide.

How people will look on Isis in a few hundred years, who knows? It all depends on how history will evolve. If you are on the winners side of history, facts are soon forgotten! Still today, Templar Knights are worshipped in the region of Portugal where they build most of their castles and left a dominant footprint, a good reason to have celebrations, festivals and parades. It’s good for commercial reasons, tourists are attracted by the medieval scenery, and especially foreign immigrants invented a romantic ointment over the horrific and violent truth. The Cubans got the Castro Family, Russia has Stalin, The French have Napoleon, The Dutch got, together with Portugal there slave merchants and colonizing history, all historic times that turned out to be hard to appologize for.  At least the Germans found away to handle their history, but then again a new generations of Nazi’s is growing. The Portuguese seem to have a thicker skin and came up with a solution for a dark part of their history, giving it a touch of romance and glitter... but then again, “God” already punished them with a big earthquake, tsunami, and hell’s fire, killing thousands of church going people on All Saint’s day in 1755.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Early Sunday morning doubts...

It’s Sunday, 4.30 AM, the 12th of March 2017. The dog just woke me up, she’s nervous, the wind is howling around the house. Some strange irritating noise, like a big car engine that’s constantly running, makes me put on the radio to camouflage the sound. I just don’t want to go out looking for the reason, it must be a plastic bag catching the wind or some other kind of misplaced item. While the sound of the kettle whistle blows a high C, two slices of bread are launched from the toaster and our four-legged friend is scraping the kitchen floor with her metal food bowl, I’m deciding to have a second thought about posting my vote for the Dutch elections. If you are politically interested and search for information on the internet, one of the common consequences nowadays is that you suddenly receive emails from political parties. Your vote, as someone with a Dutch passport, seems to matter a lot for some of the wannabee leaders in command. It’s very strange to get an email, out here on the lonesome hill in central Portugal, from a party that doesn’t want any interference from Europe, wants to close all border for foreigners, explaining that everything I hear and see on the 8 o’clock news is secured by the extreme-left producers of the Dutch National TV and claims that all refugees are going to flood the country with a tsunami of crime, rape and murder. Yes, that’s called “spam” or “junk” and it’s getting unwanted in to my mailbox. It’s not my choice to receive that “information”, even more I am appalled that these racist and anti-democratic people, calling themselves a party for freedom, have access to my email address. That’s pretty scary to be hounest.

The Dutch gouvernment maneuvered itself into a diplomatic crisis with Turkey. They refused Turkish politicians to campaign in the Netherlands for the upcoming referendum where the people of that, once so beautiful, country can vote whether they want a dictatorship or not. Like for the Dutch politicians, the vote’s of people living abroad are important to and so they want to give a few speeches in all countries where men and women with a Turkish passport have immigrated to. The main reason, according to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, is that they advocate an anti-democratic change of the Turkish constitution. In reality, and everybody with a bit of political interest knows this, it is to prevent Geert Wilders from getting even more votes, and for that most party’s act like the are as tough as the wannabe blond, white guy with his indonesian background and east-European wife. The Turkish people in the Netherlands could choose to go to a speech held by some representative of their gouvernment “back home”, or not. It’s a choice they can’t make now because the Dutch gouvernment doesn’t want disturbing interference in their national elections, considers (and rightfully so) that people living in the Netherlands are Dutch citizens and should not be influenced by politicians from their native country with whatever devious ideas. That’s all understandable from a gouvernmental point of view but it also reveals the fear of the Dutch politicians that all Turkish people would agree with the statements made by Erdogan while even in Turkey itself the people are divided by half and so at least 50 percent is fighting (voting) against this change in law. In the Netherlands they will never know how many citizens of Turkish origin are with or against the wannabee dictator, they weren’t given a change to protest against it. The only protest, by a small group of fanatics against the ban of Turkish politicians, was initiated by the Dutch gouvernment by taking away the freedom of speech and that gives a wrong impression of what most Turkish immigrants probably stand for.

On the other hand, the votes of Dutch people abroad are important enough to buy digital information about them, so political parties can send unwanted emails and targeted Facebook ads. What if the Portuguese gouvernment would prohibit a Dutch politician to speak for immigrants over here? They are the ones that try to convince people to vote for parties of which most are responsible for the inhuman decisions during the crisis of the last years, saving banks by forcing loans to southern European countries to pay those same banks, give international corporations access to their tax haven and made it possible, by forcing Portugal and other countries to privatize national companies which, when bought by some multinational, declare their profits in the Netherlands where they hardly pay any taxes, leaving southern gouvernments with a huge lost of income. Now, because I’m a EU citizen I can live in this wonderful country. Why does a Dutch, anti-European  political party think they can convince me of voting against my own interests? Ah, because they have a freedom of speech, no matter how racist or anti-democratic their message is. I’m a woodworker, a sawdust maker, so I know there are different ways to measure. Some use inches, some use centimeters but politicians well, they make up their own scales. It’s 7 AM by now, and I just poured a 5th cup of coffee. The envelope with my vote is still laying on the kitchen table. I guess I will be in doubt until it’s to late to send it in.....

Summer is over (and that's a good thing)

The summer this year was an ongoing repeatment of sunshine, hot weather and hardly any rain. It lasted months, this torture of nature. For m...