Friday, May 05, 2006
... op 5 mei vieren we onze vrijheid
It's Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day) today, 61 years after the Netherlands was liberated from the German occupation. Festival and events took place all over the country, starting in Leeuwaarden, this year under the theme "Vrijheid en verscheidenheid" (freedom and diversity). Former prime minister Ruud Lubbers (now UN High Commissioner for Refugees) explained this term very well on the NOS programme Concert op de Amstel.
In the past this country was divided into "hokjes" (literally dens, meaning segragated places) of religious believe and social classes, but the liberation was an experience which united people as one. Today, he says, there is much division in the world, and in this country. Then, just as now, there was talk of the division and differences between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Problems with immigration, cultural diversity, tolerance, racism and the like are increasingly being debated at in political circles and in society, but in a climate of 'hardening' attitudes.
The need, or the search, for "freedom and diversity" is just a relevant then as today.