Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 26 November 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.26 November 2008
Netherlands’ dirty guerrilla war
Trouw writes about the “dirty guerrilla war” which the Netherlands fought in its former colony of Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. The most well-known example of Dutch “excesses” is the village of Rawagede, where according to the Indonesians 431 unarmed men and boys were shot dead by Dutch soldiers on 7 December 1947.
Not a single Dutch soldier was killed or injured. Rawagede has recently been in the news because nine widows and a man who escaped the executions are demanding compensation as well as an apology from the Dutch government.
“International observers who carried out an investigation at the scene at the start of 1948 described the Dutch action as deliberate and ruthless.”
Trouw adds that “many dozens of such events” took place during the “dirty guerrilla war”. The Westerling campaign in South Celebes is mentioned, which led to thousands of Indonesian deaths.
The Dutch government’s Excesses Memorandum from 1969 lists many such events, though according to a government official who helped prepare the memorandum, the list is far from complete.
Trouw argues that the Netherlands has a “moral obligation” to pay the families of the victims some form of compensation.
In an editorial, NRC Handelsblad writes “The Netherlands wants to be the place of law. Which is one of the reasons the International Criminal Court is in The Hague. However, if its own history is mentioned, the Netherlands has trouble accepting the consequences…Less fear of cold water on the Dutch side would be a moral boost to the perpetrators and victims on both sides of the war.”
Scientists fed up with Dutch’s fascination with the paranormal
De Volkskrant reviews a new book entitled What a bunch of nonsense! Alongside the review is a photograph of members of the Life Foundation leaning against and hugging trees in an attempt to gain spiritual contact with their leafy friends.
“What a bunch of nonsense!” was written by two scientists “who are fed up with the Netherlands’ fascination with the paranormal” and “modern witchcraft”.
De Volkskrant reports that television programmes about the paranormal usually attract at least a million viewers. The authors say that they wrote the book to make people more critical and to unmask “charlatans” and that the situation in the Netherlands is no worse than elsewhere.
One of the Dutch charlatans went to Kenya and did a couple of magic tricks. The tribe immediately made him a witch doctor.
Angry youth demands explanation from police
AD reports that a 19-year-old youth from Amsterdam is demanding an explanation as well as an apology from police.
The boy, who found a secret transmitter in his scooter, says: “They just can’t do that? I’m very angry about the whole thing. I also find the way they tried to get the transmitter back scandalous. They sent me an anonymous letter and threatened to fine me.”
He says if the police do not explain and apologise he will not return the transmitter.
A police spokeswoman says the transmitter was hidden in the scooter as part of a judicial inquiry. She denies the police did anything wrong and says if the youth wants to complain he can submit a complaint to the department.
MP slams plan to record private data of young people
The AD reports on a Dutch MP who wants the youth and Family minister to retract plans to record private data of young people.
MP Ineke Dezentjé of the conservative VVD party, says she is “enormously shocked” by Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet’s plans to establish an “electronic children’s dossier” and “This is going ridiculously far”.
Dezentjé is demanding that the minister “must immediately retract plans to digitally record private data such as pubic hair, condom use and the smoking habits of young people.”
AD reports that “A dossier will be kept of all children up to the age of 19 who come into contact with youth health care services. Routvoet wants to prevent the authorities from ‘losing sight of them’.” The planned dossier will include a detailed list of data which doctors must keep.
There are special codes for ‘no pubic hair’, ‘light or dark hair’, or ‘curly hair’. Dezentjé asks: “Are the pubic hair police going to check this?”
The dossier will also include data on alcohol and drug use, smoking, sex and relationships.
The VVD wants the CPB, a privacy protection body, to investigate the “insane Big Brother goings on”.
However, the Youth and Family Ministry points out that the dossier was compiled by “professionals”. Rouvoet says the VVD MP seems to be suffering from an obsession. “She thinks she’s Don Quixote.”
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]