Some of us…
…are inclined to believe that if something is wrapped up in a brand, its price and quality should live up to its name simply because it belongs to a certain brand and if it’s a generic looking product it should be cheap and of low to average quality .
The same can be said about nationalities, because “brand” as a term is quite universal and although it is used mainly for commercial products and services in reality everything we do as a group and/or as an individual it builds up to be the brand other people or nationalities put on us.
That can happen to simplify things which can’t be simplified, like human nature, or out of pure laziness and ignorance suddenly you wake up next to a group of features/qualities/faults that don’t represent you as a individual but can’t get away from it.
On the other hand, as a individual you could make your own opinion about a nation/group even if you want to mash it up or not. It is your own experience that should serve as a base for such an opinion, not what you read/see/hear in the media or from persons who just chew up some rumors and spit them out as facts.
This brings in my mind a few aspects I’ve observed of the Dutch and these can and most likely will change in the future, given that my experience or knowledge will be richer and I will build different perspectives.
Most are quite down to Earth, these naturally stand out. They don’t have to scream for attention through pointless behaviour or statements. They don’t need pseudo-identity- defensive. (yes, I made that word up).
These people we leave them where they are because they are the ones who will work harder if they notice that their local job market is more competitive, they are the ones who will smile when choosing their shop, they are the concerned employee who will ask you if you enjoyed your drink, when they notice someone else didn’t. They are the ones treating you fair without making a big fuzz about it or go to extremes with it (just to make a point out of it). They are the ones who don’t expect you own the latest gadget and won’t judge you if you have it. They are the ones who won’t point the finger/ the blame at/on someone else for something that doesn’t go well in their own life. The ones who don’t make an official responsibility of an immigrant more complicated than it has to be, the one who will give you a ride to the train station at 3am in the morning, is the neighbour who will call the police and talk to them in your absence when you house is robbed, the ones who will let you sleep over so you can pass over an already stressful exam period and give you a warm tight hug when the world feels as if it is crushing down on your shoulders, the ones who will not give you a layer of pretty strawberries over a box of rotten ones, the ones who look after their gardens, neighbourhood, family, friends and pets with the amount of emotion and care in reference to their own norms, value, ability and choices.
After 6-7 years of a challenging life in this country THOSE are the people I want to remember and more, many more that I want to speak of in my future travels and to my grand children.
I refuse to take with me the picture drawn to and of us by Geert Wilders and it P.V.V.. The picture of a vulnerable, self-victimized and a challenge failing Dutch person who lives in a protectionist soup of laws, written or not with a garnish of intolerance spread on the bread of pseudo(or not) socio-economico and educational collapse.
Way to go Wilders! In your bitter attempts to “protect” the Dutch ways and people you’ve managed to boil a dish that will feed the seed of doubt…self doubt that is…