Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Deep quote

When one man is not free, no man is really free.

Just came across that quote while doing some research for a paper of mine. Been a while since I came across something as powerful in as few words, so wanted to share.

[1] Shengde Lian, former student leader from Tian An Men Square in 1989 and executive director of Free China Movement

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cabinet against amnesty....

Almost a week after the adoption of the general amnesty for asylum seekers who came to the Netherlands before 2001, the Cabinet has made it clear time and time again that it does not intend to implement the motion. The motion was to grant “all asylum seekers, except for war criminals and persons prosecuted for serious offences, who filed their first [asylum] request before April 1st, 2001 and have not yet left the Netherlands.”

In a letter to Parliament by decommissioned Minister for Immigration (Verdonk), it was argued that the motion is “not executable and has unwanted effects” [niet uitvoerbaar is en ongewenste effecten heeft]. One argument was that because of the unstable constitutional situation we find ourselves after the elections two weeks ago, the need to form a new government “demands mutual care and restraint from the [decommissioned] Cabinet and [Parliament]”.

In short, thus, any motion passed should not be recognised as having binding effect.

Now, knowing Dutch politics, it will take months and sometimes up to half a year for a new cabinet to be formed, because of all the coalition and consensus-building agreements that need to be negotiated and signed between the majority parties. Especially with the results of the past elections, with big division of the votes between parties on the left and right, it will even be more difficult to build an agreeable and workable coalition. If the Minister and the decommissioned Cabinet claims are correct, then that effectively means this country at current is without a proper functioning government able to conduct day-to-day affairs and take any decision whatsoever, and that this situation will go on indefinitely until a new Cabinet is formed. Clearly, this is a fallacious argument!!

To further discredit the motion adopted by Parliament, Minister Verdonk argues that the motion was drafted so vaguely that it may be open to abuse by those who claim to have never left the country. An amnesty also does great injustice, she claims, to the rights of those who have left the country out of their own free will.