From the monthly archives:

December 2011

Enough is enough already

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday December 27, 2011

in Stories

This is a comment on a story on Slate.com about the apparent racial content
of the Dutch Sinter Klaas holiday.

“Allochtoon” does mean foreigner.
The reason that we call them foreigners is because that is what they call themselves.
If you ask a 8 year old Moroccan boy where he’s from. He won’t tell you that he’s born
in Utrecht or Amsterdam, but that he is from Morocco.
Although he’ll probably only knows the country from a few holidays.

Forty years ago we used to call people from Morocco and the likes “guest workers”.
But they never returned to their own country, so clearly they weren’t.
Instead they stayed to enjoy our health plans, unemployment benefits and pensions.
Although some Dutch people complained, the majority didn’t mind.

Nor did we mind that they continued to speak their own language and adhere by their
own religion and follow their own religious holidays.
Some ten, fifteen years ago head coverings started showing up in the Dutch streets.
And although it caused some annoyance, most people didn’t mind.

But you have to draw the line somewhere.
A few years back there was talk of demolishing the Christmas holidays in favor of the
sugar feast.
It never happened. But for the first time the Dutch people got the feeling that our
culture was under attack.

Now foreigners are complaining that the Sinter Klaas holiday is racist.
It might be.
But that’s not the point.
It’s our holiday. Part of our cultural heritage.
We, the Dutch people, are getting the ever stronger feeling that if those foreigners
really hate our culture that much, they should go back to where they came from.
But of course they won’t.
Where else could they enjoy a lifestyle that is as good as what they get in the
Netherlands?

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