Goedendag! And welcome to your daily Dutch news dose, brought to you by Abuzer van Leeuwen. I’ve almost fully recovered now from our cheesy birthday action. (haven’t participated yet? shame on you!)
Anyways, the debate isn’t over yet. It’s black versus white, Feyenoord vs Ajax, Germany vs Holland, Capitalism vs Communism – The Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) debate! Although hardly a real debate anymore with both sides firmly entrenched in their own camp, the latest episode in this crazy series of Dutch racism versus lovely tradition brings us the most successful online petition of all time. After the UN’s involvement yesterday in the Zwarte Piet issue, the Facebook page ‘Pietitie’ (translates into something like ‘Petetition’) was started. Just 24 hours later it already had one million fans on Facebook, officially making it the fastest growing facebookpage in the Netherlands of all time. This whole thing, in all fairness, is completely ridiculous.
Nice effort by the UN and the Dutch government of distracting the Dutch people though, because some other real-life problems in this world are now escaping the attention of the public. Mali, for instance. Rumor in The Hague has it that the Dutch army will participate in a UN peacekeeping mission in war-torn Mali. Islamic extremists are winning more and more ground in the troubled African nation, and refugees swarming to Europe are posing a bigger problem every day. However, this has almost nothing to do with the real motives the Dutch have for participating in this mission. By far the biggest motivation is to repair the damaged reputation of our armed forces. With all the political turmoil surrounding our armed forces at the moment: the failed Kunduz mission, the JSF-purchase, not prolonging the Uruzgan mission and all the cuts on the military budget our armed forces aren’t looking at their best. The Dutch government hopes to bolster the Dutch military reputation by sending 300 to 400 men to Mali. But as ever with any Dutch military mission since the 90’s, it’s haunted by the legacy of Srebrenica.
And now for the weather report: