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What happened at the W-20 summit ?

W-20 summit 2Earlier today, the W-20 Women’s summit kicked off in Berlin with a panel- discussion titled „Inspiring women: Scaling Up Women’s Entrepreneurship”. There were some interesting names on the panel, our Dutch queen Maxima among others. I was looking forward to hearing what she had to say and how she stood her ground beside iconic powerhouses such as Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde.

Sadly, media has reported on only one thing: Ivanka Trump. The one person I couldn’t care less about. She was apparently booed and hissed at by the audience when she tried to convince them her pops was a promoter of women’s rights. I can’t even roll my eyes hard enough.

Why was she even there?

W-20 summit

All though I am quite certain the other members of the panel must have spoken as well and that what they had to say must’ve been pretty empowering or at least relevant, I can’t tell you for sure. All I know is that Maxima was the first speaker and that she described herself as a “feminist”, what in her vision meant “wanting equal rights” as well as freedom of choice. This drew applause from the audience, with Merkel saying, “Then I am one.”

Well shucks girls, I sure wish it wouldn’t be necessary to start the discussion at such a basic level but more so, I wish media had chosen more interesting snippets to quote…

I’m hoping the discussion will be online in full at some point so I can give it a go myself and see if I can collect some more interesting quotes.

“Give me a piece of your mind”

My parents are honest people with strong opinions for which they sometimes need loud words.

Even now that they have grandkids, I have seen them explaining matters of the world in a way some others may feel is not appropriate for such young kids. Some kids dig it and others zone out when being spoken to in this manner, but I always thought it was kind of cool that my dad never “dumbed things down” for me.

A request I got from my father on several occasions (and far too often, as far as I was concerned at the time) was “give me a piece of your mind”.  You can imagine it was something he did to get a sense of what his sulky adolescent daughter might be thinking. I never really knew what he meant and my answer never seemed to be what he was hoping to hear anyhow.

You could say honesty was valued highly in our household. And to express your honest opinions it was required to be eloquent. “Just because” was never a valid explanation for anything and I was allowed (up to a certain extent) to expect the same from them.

I remember my first boyfriend was quite overwhelmed by the in depth conversations we had over dinner.

The biggest liar and most truthful person, all in one

A line that I wrote down in my “ideas journal” the other day, is that my father is “one of the most honest people I know, as well as one of the least”.

He is one of the most honest because he doesn’t seem afraid to have an uncommon opinion. He will stand up for his beliefs, at the cost of being “the odd one” in a crowd. He is also unwillingly honest, as his face just gives away what he thinks about you and your explanation.

At the same time, he is one of the least honest people I know because as much as he tries to uphold the idea that he doesn’t care what others think of him, his fear of appearing to be weak always wins. He will say everything is going splendidly and that he has never felt better, until he reaches the point that the only one buying it is him.

The again, does it count as lying if he lied to himself about it first?

Also, his stubbornness sometimes reaches truly absurd levels. He will stay on a chosen course even after being disproved by someone. Adjusting your course would be admitting you were wrong at some point and that apparently is not an option in his world.

He can also be very arrogant, in the sense that he will easily discard your idea as a lesser opinion if it is not in line with his. And not only is the opinion of low quality, so are you for coming up with it. He will use big, aggressive words to make you feel unsure about your line of thought, and make you back down. You might even accept his own idea at some point, just because he presents it with so much self confidence.

Intellectual & Emotional Honesty

What I figured out only recently is that the type of honesty I was taught to express was purely intellectual. That is the type of honesty that researchers and journalists apply in their work. It is the type of honesty that is based on logic, historical facts, knowledge, vocabulary and grammar.

This type of intellectual honesty is something that comes natural to me. I have never had trouble forming my opinion or pointing out to someone when they set off my bullshit radar and why.

Apparently the invisible, irrational, uncontrollable concepts of feelings are something you can be honest about too… You apparently don’t even need words to express them! Mind. Blown. And when it comes to being honest about those, I suck. I wonder why?

A child’s tears

This brings me to the final clue to my father’s dishonesty; he has never been able to handle my tears.

…Not that I even know how to cry anymore…

Unless some plant or tree is in bloom, or something.

And there’s some snot involved during these pollen allergies, as well.

But maybe they don’t actually qualify as tears.

Anyhoooooowww, see how awkward I get from talking about these things??

…where were we?

Ah yes, me crying.

Far before I reached an age that this was reasonable for, I was expected to be able to explain my behavior, especially when my behavior included tears. If I couldn’t come up with a “good” reason for my eye leakage, I was simply asked to stop doing that. And so I did.

All though my father told me years later that the crying prohibition was one of the few things he regretted in life, it did teach me to express myself pretty well. I know what I want and don’t want and am more capable than many others to express where my boundaries lie.

After analyzing the heck out of it during my long train ride home last week I came to a new theory. He saw my tears as criticism. Honest little wet mirrors rolling down a child’s cheek. And he couldn’t deal with that.

Time for a new lesson

Don’t get me wrong. My childhood was actually pretty awesome. Part of it was thanks to my parents, other parts were great despite of them. I hold no grudges. Or I try not to.

I am definitely thankful towards my parents for giving me the ability to discuss every possible topic, be it social, political or cultural in any crowd. When it comes to other forms of honesty however, I think I may have a lesson or two for them.

RF17 – Anticipation – A, B, C

Going through the list of artists that will be at Roskilde festival this year in alphabetical order, one of the first artists that really caught my attention is Alsarah & the Nubatones.

Alsarah is the lead singer, born in Sudan and true to her roots by singing primarily in her mother tongue. Her “Tiny Desk Concert”-performance gave me a nice overview of her music and her fun spirit.

Next I was stopped in my tracks by this song by Norwegian singer Ary. There are not a lot of tracks of hers on YouTube, but her live performance at Norwegian talkshow Lindmo has got me enthused. Her song “the sea” is another song I love and recommend.

A Danish band that caught my attention, was described in the Huffington Post as follows:

Electrifying beats paired with Schneider’s orphic vocals lead the listener down an entrancing aural path that could even charm the likes of Hades. Its slow, rhythmic movement is melancholy yet electrifying, beating with the pulse of a body at rest. When meaning is removed from the lyrics, I can indulge in the unique intonations of the Danish language, following along each lilt, timbre, and inflection that oozes from Schneider’s vocal reeds. Though it becomes a solely sonic experience, that does not change its emotive powers.

The group is called AyOwa and the song below is currently their best known track.

Baiana System immediately got my knees twitching when I put their music on. They have a unique sound that is described on the Roskilde website as “a modern take on one of the world’s first electric guitar styles, guitarra baiana, which is also the name of the diminutive four-string axes they use to play it.”

O.o

No clue what that means, but I would love to see them perform it live!

A band that I can already imagine raising the roof and getting everybody swinging their butts off is the South African band BCUC. Not sure why, but the singer kind of reminded me of Freddy Mercury…

Then something completely different. Despite the ominous name, Cancer actually has a very dreamy, summer-campfire-worthy sound. Give it a click!

That is as far as I got in the list. I hope to give every band on the list a quick listen before the festival starts, all though I know that planning is useless. Not just useless, it also takes away from the fun of walking passed a tent and thinking: “Hey that sounds interesting… Let’s check it out!”

And what I remember liking the most about last year were precisely those performances that I had read nothing about but ended up having an absolute blast at.

A little more than two months to go!

The Blue Sky Tag

My fellow blogger and like-minded soul searcher, LazyHaze, threw a Blue Sky Tag my way. Thanks a bunch for that!

She came up with some cool questions for me, as well. Check out my answers below!

What is your favorite song?

Just one?? That question is hard… bordering on cruel… 😛

But OK, if I have to go for just the one, then I choose Todo Cambia, by the legendary Argentinian singer, Mercedes Sosa. Gives me goosebumps every time.

What do you like to do in free time?

she ra.gifHmm… I tell people horseriding is one of my greatest hobbies, but I don’t really do it that often anymore. I used to have a horse of my own, but that was more than a decade ago.

What I actually do in my free time is not that impressive. I love me some netflix time, I love goofing around with my boyfriend and I love spending time outdoors, all though I do suffer from “good weather syndrome”. My definition of good weather isn’t “warm and sunny” per se, but I am definitiely not a rain lover…

What movie genre are you into?

My taste in movies is pretty varied, all though I am not a big fan of corny comedies or cheesy lovey dovey flicks. I can’t handle Scarlett Johansson’s eternal orgasm face or Nicholas Cage’s droopy mumblings. Will Ferrel, Steve Martin and  Hugh Grant are also deal breakers.

Not sure I’ve answered the question yet… but I think that’s all I’ve got to say about that… (movie reference! movie reference!)

If you had a time machine, where would you go?

Hmm, I don’t really have time travelling aspirations… maybe I’d visit a time pre-dating humans? Just to see what it was like. Maybe see if I could tame a dinosaur and ride one of those. 😮

What is at the top of your bucket list?

Rock climbing is at the top of my list. As in, it as actually the first thing on it. But it’s not at the top in the sense that it is the thing I want to do first or most.

As I just moved into a new house a few months ago, I’d like to build something myself. A piece of furniture or a bird house or something. I’m actually working on some ideas. They’re not quite ready to be shared with the world, but maybe someday.

Are you afraid to live or are you afraid to die?

I’d like to think I’m not afraid of death, but that might be a lie. I’m an atheist (allthough sometimes my stance towards religion leans more toward agnosticism), so I don’t believe there is anything after I die. It just stops. And that is fine.

If I am afraid at all, I think it might be of the actual process of dying, not death itself… Does that make sense?

Who is your hero/heroine?

Michelle Obama kicks ass.

Oh and Malala Yousafzai.

Malala-most-inspiring-quotes-One-girl.jpg

What helps you get out of bed in the morning?

I am actually a morning person and have very little trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

What do you think of pornography? Do you think it should be banned? (Indian Govt. tried to do just that)

I’m not sure banning pornography is even possible… It’s a phenomenon stronger than any regulation can enforce and has been around for as long as history can tell.

I have no ethical problems with pornography in itself. I mean, I have no problem with the idea of men (let’s face it, it’s made for men… am I right?) watching naked people having sex or masturbating.

What I do have some issues with is HOW sexual interactions are portrayed. It’s so different from reality. And I do believe that people with little experience may get the wrong expectations from it that may harm women in particular.

Which blog do you read every day?

I am actually not very loyal when it comes to blogging or blog-reading. I forget about my WordPress friends for weeks at a time and then stick around for a few days and then disappear again. I’m horrible that way…

–=-=-=-=-=–

I tag:

The rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Answer their questions.
  3. Tag people.
  4. Give them questions to answer.

My questions for you:

  1. What is something you enjoy doing but are ashamed of telling people about?
  2. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
  3. What do you think of tattoos?
  4. Can you handle tickling?
  5. Which song do you know all the words to?
  6. What do you see when you walk out your front door?
  7. What does your dreamhouse look like?
  8. Are you a morning person?
  9. What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
  10. Do you celebrate your birthday?

Have a good weekend and happy holidays to all of you celebrating Easter, Passover, Pahela Baishakh, Songkran or some other festive occasion.

Musical first aid

Last weekend, while visiting my parents I put on some music on their way-too-high-tech audio system and motivated my dad to cruise through the wondrous world of YouTube.

My daddio goes through phases of extreme innovation and radical conservatism; wanting to be ahead of the rest with the newest-of-the-newest technology and gadgets on one day, and only wanting to purchase things from “people you can look in the face and shake hands with” on the other. Sometimes both at the same time. It is possible. But it’s confusing sometimes. To me, I mean. To him it makes perfect sense.

Anyhow, my dad was going on a fanatic musical-melancholy tour through YouTube, watching old Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan footage and was about to go into his “they just don’t music like this anymore”-rant. Luckily, I came prepared and presented him with First Aid Kit, the wonderful Swedish duo that can restore your faith in humanity and modern day music in one sitting.

 

Oh, how I hope to get the chance to see them live some day. I’ll be heading to Roskilde festival again this year… Fingers crossed…

 

 

 

Dutch election results

It’s done. We did it. We voted. The world didn’t end. YAY!

Populism – you’re doing it wrong

What I found interesting is that Mark Rutte, our current prime minister said the elections were a victory for our country as a whole and Europe as well because we showed we disagreed with “the wrong type of populism”.

I imagine he considered saying that the Dutchies voted against populism. Period.

But apparently that didn’t sound right to him. Did his media adviser fear journalists would point out his own populist tendencies of late and that he wouldn’t know how to respond? Or was he referring to other parties? Or does it go without saying that all parties are populist and is Geert Wilders just “doing it wrong”? No clue…

Send in the coalition scout!

And now, just a few days after all the votes were counted, the first inquiries will be made about who will form the new Dutch government.

For this phase of the process a so called “informateur” or “verkenner” is appointed, which you could translate to “scout” or “information gatherer”.

This coalition scout (m/f), was appointed by the king or queen, until 2012. It is now a task for the current parliament, choosing someone that is affiliated to a certain party (usually the majority party) and is relatively conflict-free. Hard enough after a political campaign, I can imagine.

schippers_hp.jpg
Edith Schippers – coalition scout and current Health Minister

The person that was chosen for this task this time around is  Edith Schippers, Minister of health under the current government and member of the majority party VVD (both in these elections as the one before).

She will speak to the leaders of all the parties that have won seats in Parliament. Over a dozen different parties, ranging from the holistic ecology party “Partij voor de Dieren” to more extreme ideological parties, both pro-immigrants (DENK) as anti-immigrants (Fvd and PVV).

During the talks the party leaders will make clear what possibilities they see for a new cabinet and what they hope to achieve.

At first glance there doesn’t really seem to be a combination of like-minded parties large enough to form a productive government.

verkiezingen 2017.jpg
Division of seats in parliament after votes were counted. 

It’s going to be a challenge. But I’m not afraid anymore.

This post is a reaction to daily prompt- acceptance.

 

Article 1

Two of my previous blog posts started out as the introductory words to this one but they ended up getting lives of their own. Hopefully this third time will be a charm and help me get this story out of my head.

It all started when the annual Black Pete discussion reached its peak this last year. I had already decided I would not avoid confrontation on this matter any longer and would ALWAYS point out to the other why I felt Black Pete was indeed a racist element in our culture and that we were making fools of ourselves by denying it.

Sylvana.pngA Dutch celebrity that became very vocal on this matter is a lady called Sylvana Simons. I remembered her merely as a charming TV show host, that started out on a Dutch music channel called TMF. When she started to become a regular on Holland’s most viewed talk show and vented her thoughts about prevalent racism in our society people went crazy… CRAZY!!

She started to receive death threats straight away, which is apparently the thing to do these days when you disagree with someone… Facebook events were dedicated to her, with “Wave Sylvana goodbye”-day as the most popular one. People all around me thought the idea was a hilarious initiative: just gather at the airport holding sarcastic banners, to see Sylvana off because “she didn’t appear to like it here anyway”.

But it’s all good! Just tongue-in-cheek banter; no ill intent, nothing personal. 

Sylvana wasn’t even going to be at the airport! So why would she even feel threatened by this frivolous idea?

Oh sure…. that’s just typical that she would use this to appoint herself the victim role again.

…suggesting they were threatening to have her deported, was she? Why would she even think that?

…we were just kidding…!

sylvana uitzwaaidag.png

…and I was completely dumbfounded by it.

What shocked me the most was how unanimous this sentiment seemed to be. People that I had always considered to be progressive, nuanced and moderate in their opinions would say things about this woman that made my jaw drop and showed me how extremely deeply rooted this problem really was… And it only proved her right, too!art-1.jpg

Sylvana then went into politics, first with an existing (and pretty controversial) party called Denk. Shortly before the end of 2016 and with only a few months left to get a full program together Sylvana started her own political party: Artikel 1, referring to the first article in the Dutch constitution, stating everyone staying in this country is to be treated fairly and equally, prohibiting any form of discrimination.

I was actually quite excited about Sylvana’s new political party and still have her in my top three candidates for upcoming Wednesday’s elections (all though not on number 1, I must admit).

It has been so difficult for me to understand why my compatriots have so little love for her, so these past few weeks I have made it my mission to figure it out.

I asked my closest friends to explain to me why their knickers got caught up in a twist every time I mentioned her name. They all seemed to agree that the way she brought her message across was counterproductive and divisive in itself. They said they did feel the Netherlands had a racism problem but that she was only pouring oil on the fire. They said it wasn’t WHAT she said but HOW she said it that bugged them.

I thought this was quite interesting, as people seem to use the opposite argument to explain why Geert Wilders is an acceptable option; they are willing to forgive him for his rude tone because they agree with the underlying message.

Why didn’t this logic apply to Sylvana, then? Her gender? Her race? Or is she really so much ruder than him?

When my boyfriend’s brother was at our place the other day and I once again got that look of disgust when I said I thought she was actually a pretty awesome power woman, I grabbed the opportunity to get some clarity.

I asked him to show me what I was missing. I admitted I didn’t watch any of the Dutch TV talk shows and that I may well have missed the bits in which she said such nasty stuff that made her deserve the cyberbuckets of shit that had been poured out over her since then.

So I watched interviews in which she definitely came across as bitchy. I saw her get angry and (unnecessarily) defensive. I saw how she interrupted other people at the table to ask them if they even heard what they were saying. I saw why people might find her annoying.

But nothing that I saw or heard justified how we were treating her. Nothing brought me that big eye-opening revelation I was hoping for. It turned out that it really was as bad as I had feared.

A woman… no… a BLACK woman… no… a BLACK DUTCH WOMAN was telling us the backbone of our Dutch identity was rotten and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.

The chapters of our nation’s history that we had so skillfully “re-interpreted” were being shown in a very uncomfortable light.

guilty dogIt kind of reminds me of one of Cesar Millan’s lessons. Yes, I am actually referencing the dog whisperer here… And yes, I am comparing the Dutch to the “bad dog” in the equation. Or more: I am comparing the Dutch to a dog that has been showing the same behavior for far too long and has a panicky fit the first time it is asked to show different behavior.

We are facing the wall, trembling slightly… not knowing what to do now… Avoiding all eye-contact. How do we go on from here? How do we change the behavior we’ve always shown? It’s uncomfortable. It’s uncertain. Who knows what else we might have to change once we allow this!

I think we all need a pep talk.

Writing a conclusion to this story is making me kind of nervous…

I would like to say tomorrow (election day) might be the nudge we need to get our minds back in motion. To straighten our backs and lift our glances back up from the floor. To admit that we were wrong but that we know better now.

Tomorrow is a new day.