THIRD WORLD RAGE / ARTISTS TAKE ON DUTCH RACISM
- Dear All,
Here goes ......... Black Peter , or Zwarte Piet is the issue here - Those nice designer friendly, liberal dope smoking Dutch friends of ours are hardened racists - who are too weak minded and self obsessed to deal with this sick tradition of theirs. Zwarte Piet is Santa's kick about dark skinned Morrocan helper who is doomed to eternal suffrage under the weird Dutch version of the rather dodgy Santa Claus. Every winter in all cities and villages in Edam land, nice liberal Dutch people celebrate Piet's embodiment of the triumph of good over evil, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwarte_Piet. It is a vile tradition ... I dunno ... something similar to the horrors of the 1960's and 70's in the good old UK when on a breakfast table when sticking ones buttery knife into ones Robinson's Jam one would notice a little googleyeyed black skinned figure on the side of the sticky jar, a strange little figure, that would make a child wonder what the hell Jam had to do with such an odd and hysterical representation of a dark skinned person. Only later does one discover the connection. Later thankfully, all such images and negative representations of Blackness, from Robinsons Jam to that other bizarre phenonema, ( The Black and White Minstrel Show) were banned in the UK.
Those retarded Dutch, despite their nice designer culture and despite their faith in the virtues of free sex and hash smoking, left out the issues of race and decided to forget about their responsibility to their colonial history. They perpetuate and actually aggressively defend this sick tradition of theirs. It is unbelievable and hard to challenge in a place where multiculturalism or political correctness is past off as outdated and anyone who dares to bring the subject up is immediatly scorned. Hence this email.
A couple of years ago The Otolith Group rejected an intial idea to take on this subject in Holland and address its vile becomings. We dumped the idea in favour of all the many artists and actvists who have been fighting this issue within the flatlands - We decided the struggle to finally lay Black Peter to rest had to come from the inside.
What follows below is the story of a couple of artists who did from the inside, try to address this perversion , it is all rather sad and reveals the deeply embedded racism of the Dutch, which mirrors the growing racism in France , Germany, Spain..All over Europe one can feel this aggression and unwillingness to deal historically and pedagocically with the post colonial aftermath.... It really does create in me and fuel my Third World Rage ...hehe..
I attach letter from the artists and also an article on what followed:
Subject: IMPORTANT - the protest march and the performance have been cancelled on Saturday at Van Abbe!!!!!!
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We are very sad to inform you that the protest march and the performance against the phenomenon of Zwarte Piet have been canceled.
We have had some very crazy days: a few days ago media got hold of our project and produced false reports, and since then it has been excessively reported about. Van Abbe, we (Petra and Annette) and our collaborators Doorbraak and Untold have received both nasty comments and threats from people in Society. All kind of things have escalated and therefore Van Abbe has taken the decision to cancel the event on Saturday the 30th of August.
Annette and I think that the type of reactions the project has received just proves the sensitivity of the topic, which makes us even more convinced that the phenomenon of the Zwarte Piet and its underlaying structures have to be discussed. We see the reactions as symptoms of these very structures.
We think it is very problematic that Van Abbe was impelled to cancel the protest march. The protest march would have been a platform for those voices that have not been heard and listened to neither in the past nor in the last days. What kind of society are we living in where artists cannot express themselves freely and where there is no public space left to voice critique and to disagree with each other? This is, what we all have to reflect upon and to fight for.
Therefore we see the urgency to reopen a discussion on a broader scale and we will continue working on that together with Doorbraak, Untold, Van Abbe and everyone else who wants to join in on a non-violent debate on the significance of Zwarte Piet in present society.
We will get back to you with a longer statement and explanation when we have had the time to reflect on what is happening and has happened on these days.
All the best to you
Petra and Annette
and then this - will keep Multitudes updated .......
Standing up for Zwarte PietSat, 08/30/2008 - 03:00 Anonymous
Our Flemish correspondent VH reported last night about a planned protest rally in the Netherlands against Zwarte Piet, "Black Peter", a traditional Dutch character featured in Christmas celebrations.
If he were in England, Zwarte Piet would be considered part of the Christmas Pantomime tradition. According to Dutch folklore, he was the black servant or companion of Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas), and he appears in many Christmas season programs in full blackface, a feathered cap, a white ruffled collar, and a brightly-colored velvet doublet.
I went looking for Zwarte Piet photos today, and there were thousands to choose from. I picked three representative samples from the many available to make the layout above. I can tell you from looking at all those photos, and without knowing any Dutch at all, that Zwarte Piet is much loved by children and pretty much everyone else in the Netherlands, for that matter.
Except, of course, for the hard-core Multiculturalists who planned the protest against the "racist and colonial" tradition of Black Peter. As it happens, the two artists behind the event are not Dutch one is a Swede and the other a German. But no matter Zwarte Piet had to go!
Unfortunately for the artists and the Van Abbemuseum, the Dutch people don't agree. They've put up with a lot of Multiculturalism over the last few decades, but abolishing Zwarte Piet that's a bridge too far.
The latest word is that the planned protest has sparked a massive public outcry. VH has translated some additional material from Elsevier on the crisis. First, an article from this morning:
Crisis Meeting in Eindhoven on Anti-Black Peter Rally
The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven has received dozens of angry e-mails and phone calls about its protest rally against the "racist" Zwarte Piet that is to be held in the museum this Saturday. A possibility is that the event will be called off altogether.
Tomorrow it will be decided whether action against Black Peter continues, a spokesman for the Eindhoven museum for modern art today told the ANP news service.
- - - - - - - - -
According to two foreign artists (Petra Bauer from Sweden and Annette Kraus from Germany) and "Doorbraak" [Breakthrough], known for protests during meetings of Rita Verdonk [of the Proud of the Netherlands Party] this typical Dutch tradition is full of racism and colonialism.
In a response the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven said it only wanted to offer a platform to these artists. The museum has received a storm of criticism.
Those involved in the anti-Black Peter rally have also received threats over the internet. The police, the city council and the museum have today held consultations on possible "security risks". Tomorrow it will be decided whether the rally will be called off or not.
And here's the latest from tonight's news (early morning in the Netherlands):
Anti-Black Peter demo cancelled
The protest march, initiated by two artists [and the Van Abbemuseum] against Zwarte Piet, which would be held this Saturday in Eindhoven, has been cancelled. Zwarte Piet can be relieved. The Van Abbemuseum announced the organization of a public debate in which the "artistic project and the reactions to it" can be discussed.
In a statement to the Elsevier.nl the museum says it is "very shocked" by the "extreme negativism and threatened violence in the reactions arising from the announcement of this rally."
And here's a quote from the letter written by the Van Abbemuseum to Elsevier:
"We received a lot of vehement reactions. Those responses, with threats of violence, steer the debate more and more away towards one about subsidies, freedom of expression and the public order. This only detracts from what we want to address. A march will only strengthen that effect. Therefore we feel obliged to cancel the march.
"We fully support the artists. The cancellation is in the interest of the artists and art in general. Art can add a major contribution to the rethinking of current topics, provided they are recognized as art."
So the straw that broke the Multicultural camel's back was Black Peter how fitting!
It's unfortunate that outraged people were moved to threaten violence against the museum and the artists. But maybe Dutch "racists" are taking a page from the Islamic playbook. After the events of recent years, everyone in the Netherlands must have noticed that the best way to get what you want is to threaten violence and then follow up on it if your demands are not immediately met.
It's depressing to think that this method of doing business may become politics-as-usual in the Low Countries.
WHAT AN ASSHOLE .......!!!!