A busy Saturday with extreme lefts and rights

While waiting for a book to arrive in the mail, I created The dead celebrity xmas card generator. It hasn’t been a real success yet, but I already did notice that people do tend to create their own card, but decline to send it to friends. Maybe you should try it for yourself.

Also, I finally made it to the Dutch edition of Wikipedia, here. A sure sign I truly exist.

And yesterday, I had a drink with Michiel Roesink, a friend I hadn’t seen for months, if not years. He’s now working for the Dutch company ICET, but travels quite a bit. Recently, he had to visit Turkey and coming Tuesday, he’ll be flying to India. The bastard. If only he’ll cough up the money to repay the debts he has, both with Veto and Joost.

A tale of two extremities

Saturday saw us (Betsy and myself) visiting gatherings at two opposite ends of the Dutch political spectrum. During the day, we visited the NSF, the Netherlands Social Forum, something of a huge leftist get together with workshops, seminars and gatherings on subjects such as the anti-war movement in France, alternatives to the European agriculture policies and the problems surrounding the farming of the tropical shrimp.
We visited a workshop on the issues surrounding Iran’s possible nuclear build-up. The workshop was organized by Just act and had two speakers, one of which represented the Dutch organization Iran Future.
The workshop was a bit too long (over 90 minutes), but reasonably interesting, although the crowd was tiny: only 8 spectators, of which half knew the two speakers on a first-name basis.
The workshop we bumped into when leaving the building was more interesting, dealing with anti-fascism, with several people caught up in some very heated debates.
X-Y (with whom I’m working on ‘Eye on Development’) and ICCO (which is sending me to Afghanistan) both had a stand inside the main hall (the happening was held in the Beurs van Berlage) and we had our picture taken by YAPR (Yet Another Portreat.com Ripoff), this one being organized by NOVIB, a Dutch development aid organization. The pictures are supposed to show up here, but I haven’t seen them yet.

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For the evening, we were invited by Betsy’s hairdresser (no kidding), Vinny to a ‘big’ party, on a boat, on the river Maas (Meuse) within the city boundaries of Rotterdam, chugging slowly through the world’s largest port.
Well, invited? That is, we had to pay for the tickets and drinks. And I can’t help but classifying the crowd as a good representation of the Dutch folks that voted LPF in the last two elections and are now ready to vote for the idiot that’s Geert Wilders (what is wrong with his hair?). In short, some people would classify these people as sad bastards (and generally racially biased).
Although there was one person on board who clearly originally came from South East Asia, it’s not impossible that I was the only ‘allochtoon‘ (try translating that!) on board. In a crowd of some 300 people, that’s quite something.

The food, on board the Smaragd II was reasonable, but with very little diversity, where vegetarians were not considered to exist. A very decent cover band played most of the night, mostly performing popular blues/country/rock songs from the 60s and 70s, while the boat was slowly chugging through the port of Rotterdam, sliding underneath Rotterdam’s 1 2 3 main bridges.
Later in the evening, Vinny did her Tina Turner impersonation act (which was reasonable, helped by her recent boob job) and another guest, resembling the Zangeres Zonder Naam, did her folksy act. I nearly was overcome by replacement shame after ‘enjoying’ her lion act. With stuffed lions.

More Iran

And you’re probably asking yourself what all these graffity pictures with the work ‘Iran’ are here for. Well, waiting at Rijswijk’s train station, for our train to Amsterdam, we noticed that all over one of the walls, someone had made a point of spraying the name all over the place.

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