As I mentioned in the final sentence of my previous post, I have some pent up frustrations on the matter of Black Pete and the way my fellow countrymen are handling the debate.
And as if finding a common ground with the “regular” Dutch wasn’t complicated enough, the Frisians decided to put in their two cents as well.
Black Pete & the Frisians
It all started last year (2017) when Sinterklaas’ arrival (de intocht van Sinterklaas) was celebrated in Dokkum.
Dokkum is a city in the northern province of Friesland. Friesland also happens to be the province that I was born in and where I lived during my high school years.
Friesland and I have bit of a complicated relationship. Don’t get me wrong; I love Friesland. I love its rural nature and its endless skies. I love the merciless winds and the darkness of the nights (if you want to see an amazing abundance of stars, go to Northern Friesland).
“Rural” and “merciless” are words that not only apply to the landscape but also to its people. Additional terms to charecterize Frisians would be “blunt” and “stubborn as F**K”.
Now, those last two are descriptions foreigners might use to describe the Dutch in general. But the Frisians really take it to a different level and I am quickly running out of patience for their harmful humor and narrow minds.
Also, the pride with which they carry themselves and their bullshit arguments infuriates me to no extent. Relevant for this story is also the fact that they identify themselves as “Frisians” first and “Dutch” second. The rest of the Dutch population is refered to as “Hollanders”, with which they mostly mean the people from the big city areas in North and South Holland (i.e. The Hague, Rotterdam, Amsterdam).
But back to the intocht…
In the build-up to the intocht in Dokkum, a peaceful protest was announced by an organization called “Kick out Zwarte Piet” (KOZP). It was approved by local officials and would take place in Dokkum but not directly on the route of the Sinterklaas procession.
Frisians however, were having none of this “political correct nonsense from Holland” and decided to take matters into their own hands. Social media groups exploded, resulting in a large group of knuckle heads (soccer hooligans and mudrace fanatics) getting in their cars and stopping the buses on the highway (you know, to “protect the kids at the celebration”).
The Frisian rioters got out of their cars (I repeat, this all took place on a highway, where speeds up to 120 kms per hour are allowed), waving flags (mostly the Frisian one, not the Dutch one), middle fingers up and baseball bats in hand (ok, maybe not with baseball bats)…
Black Pete & Jenny Douwes
As the preparations for Sinterklaas’ 2018 arrival began (this year in the less polemic city, Zaanstad), the Dutch judicial system also just happened to be rounding up the court case against the “Blokkeer Friezen” (Blockade Frisians), which is how media refers to last year’s highway hooligans.
Quite a poor timing, if you ask me, as it meant that Frisian opinions were once again making headlines.
A woman called Jenny Douwes was particularly vocal in all of this, as she was apparently the initiator of several Facebook groups aimed at mobilizing like minded people. She was also present on the highway and has made her appearance at several talk shows on TV and Radio since then (with such infuriating results that I can’t quite get into that right now, as my computer might end up flying through the window).
[correction dd 23-11-2018: I have now learned she was actually NOT present on the highway during the blockade]
As you can imagine, Jenny Douwes has no regrets. Any person that felt threatened during the spontaneous highway blockade is either overreacting or creating a false version of events to demonize her and her rightful cause. Jenny Douwes has a charming farmergirl accent and a pretty smile.
In the days before the Blockade Frisians’ trial, social media blew up with declarations of support for her and her cause. Crowdfunding campaigns were initiated to fund her legal battle and within no time, thousands of euros had been collected.
Last week, Jenny Douwes and her partners in crime were sentenced to several hundred hours of community service, which is basically a slap on the wrist (and way too lenient as far as I’m concerned). Her followers are furious (because of course,) and have started a petition to not only free her of all charges, but to reward her with a medal of honor (or rather a “ribbon”, which is something our King awards to people who have done something exceptional).
Jenny Douwes has now become a national symbol of determination and a protector of Dutch culture. And Dutch culture needs to be protected from islamic influences and politically correct Hollanders who would rather cancel Sinterklaas than insult a minority. If KOZP and the Hollanders get their way there is only one way this can end, which is obviously the implementation of Sharia law in the Netherlands.
The true extent of the support these anti-anti-Black-Pete activists have only become clear to me in recent weeks and it makes my heart ache.
All my childhood friends, all of their parents, my neighbors, my teachers; they all applaud the blockade. To be honest, I haven’t even really dared ask my own parents about it…
If there were such a thing as a Frisian nationality and passport, I would hand it in today.