Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Mayor of Zandvoort

I'm receiving a lot of mail from the Mayor of Zandvoort these days. He's trying to collect some money my wife owes the municipality. The problem is that he's trying to collect the money from me (3500 miles away in a different country with an ocean between) rather than from her (2 miles away from his office in the same province of Holland).

Contributing to this absurdity is the fact that my wife has the precise money he is seeking, whereas I do not.

This sort of approach to a problem is typical of the way the Dutch go about things, and further evidence of why practically nothing constructive is ever accomplished in the Netherlands. I will try to organize the correspondence and post it here, because it is quite amusing. Don't hold your breath though, because this is a pretty low priority for me at this time.

Incidentally, the last thing I remember about Zandvoort was watching the mayoral elections (perhaps it was this mayor who is writing to me). The two candidates were sparring in the center of town, and when I say "sparring," I mean sparring! The husband of the losing candidate rushed up to the podium with expletive-laden shouts of "The only reason you won is because you ripped down my wife's signs!" and then he proceeded to pummel the new mayor with his fists.

Very exciting!

That's the state of politics in uncivilized countries such as the Netherlands.

Monday, March 31, 2008


I've watched the Fitna controversy with great interest because one of my children is studying in Holland. Perhaps a personal story will illustrate my concern.

In 2003, I traveled in a compartment with a Muslim Harem guard. I'm not sure whether he knew I was an American. He was reading an Arabic newspaper and I commented that the alphabet looked like "art," and how could he learn to read it. He became interested in talking to me. Eventually, he disclosed his profession. He told me that part of his job was to "kill beautiful women." He recounted a story of an American girl who was forcibly inscripted into the Haarem by way of abduction. She hated it there. He described her suicide in graphic detail: "She stood before me, and raised her veil. She knew that meant I had to cut her throat and dispose of her. She was committing suicide. Tears were streaming down one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. But, I had to do my job."

I asked him how he could do such things.

He replied, "Women are no higher than cattle in the order of the world. We must not feel anything more than we would feel killing a cow, when we dispose of a woman. Don't you see?"

I didn't tell him that I did not see. I tried to keep my face expressionless, and changed the subject of conversation as quickly as possible.