The face of 2009

Dear visitors, starting from the new decade, Loggerhead will publish some stories in English now and then, as surfers from all over the world are finding their way to this site. Especially the picture of Tora Bora proved an attraction (see 
As this is the last blog of 2009 and we are living in a visual age, I’d like to focus on the picture which more or less sums up the year. It’s the face of a person we usually see smiling all the time, as he is always doing well. At least, that’s the impression he likes to make. Now his daily success story has been disturbed by a fellow citizen who all of a sudden has punched a small statue in his face. And what do we see? A sort of devil has popped up. No big smile here, but a bloody, disturbed looking face, a wild man looking for revenge.

Silvio Berlusconi is not happy.

Silvio Berlusconi is not happy.

So, dear readers, although I’m not a fan of this bashed man, who uses the media to bash every person or group which comes in his way, I certainly hope there will be a little less media bashing in 2010. In the closing year I’ve seen plenty of this, especially in my home country.
Just one example: a couple of weeks ago I had a quick glance at the headlines of De Telegraaf, the biggest newspaper in the Netherlands, in a petrol station. There were two Telegraaf editions displayed, the Saturday and the Sunday paper, and both of them opened with negative stories about Muslims. One was about a Muslim lawyer who refused to stand up for the judge at court sessions, the other about a Koran school in The Hague which was accused of slapping children.
This probably is the ‘right wing journalism’ De Telegraaf has been preaching lately. Here in Holland they are joined by several political parties which are right wing already or moving in that direction very quickly. The ultranationalist PVV of Geert Wilders, currently the leading party in opinion polls, has been joined by the former liberals of the VVD and the radical protestant party of SGP, who have turned into enthusiastic minaret bashers after that silly referendum of the Swiss. They also joined the PVV in criticizing the Dutch army, which was handing out Korans to local soldiers in Afghanistan.
We are waiting for the moment some Dutch MPs will start burning the Koran and the reading of the Bible will be reinstated in Dutch schools. The coming local elections of March 3 will show how tolerant Dutch society has become in 2010. However, there is a little ray of light. A few weeks ago the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers VNO-NCW dared to say what mainstream Dutch political parties do not: they said government participation of the PVV will make the Netherlands ‘unstable’ and will be very bad for trade. Who’s next? 

Best wishes for all,

Robert Slagt

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