Korean music against Dutch racist politician Wilders

This 2017 music video is called Top 10 Girl Groups in K-Pop.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

#WildersDoesntMatter: K-pop as an online protest

The hashtag #WildersDoesntMatter is trending on Twitter today, thanks in part to a group you don’t immediately envision as a protest group: K-pop fans. What does Korean pop music have to do with activism?

The action on Twitter and other social media follows a tweet in which Geert Wilders launched the hashtag #ZwartePietMatters yesterday. Thus, the PVV leader appears to be responding to the BlackLivesMatter protests.

Wilders and his PVV party support far-right racist politicians in other countries, like Trump in the USA and Marine Le Pen in France.

Zwarte Piet is a blackface character in some Dutch Saint Nicholas celebrations, not liked by anti-racists.

The K community is more often committed to protest actions on social media. The strength lies in the closeness of the fan base, which can mobilize extremely quickly to spam the aggressive. This has happened several times in recent days.

On May 31, people massively shared K-pop videos when the Dallas police asked to send videos of “illegal activity during the protests.” The special police app was quickly taken offline due to ‘technical difficulties’.

That reminds me of when Donald Trump asked people to report ‘illegal aliens’ to the police. The site where they could be reported became overwhelmed by people reporting ‘criminal’ Martians, Venusians, Daleks, etc.

In the past few days, the fans took action again. They hijacked the hashtag #WhiteLivesMatter. Underneath, white squares were initially placed – a response [by white supremacists] to the black squares that were shared en masse to support the anti-racism protests. Soon, videos of South Korean pop bands appeared everywhere under that hashtag.

The strength of the K community lies in the enormous reach of the Korean pop groups and the fanaticism of fans of boy bands such as EXO and BTS. Between May 26 and June 1, BTS was mentioned nearly 9 million times on Twitter, EXO 1.9 million times.

But why are the K-pop fan armies so committed to the BlackLivesMatter movement? That has to do with fans worldwide understand what it is to be discriminated against, says Natasja van Knippenberg, herself a big K-pop fan. “You often run into prejudices about K-pop. That those artists supposedly cannot make good music, that they are a kind of robots. Among the K-pop fans there are many members of the LGBTQ community, who often also face discrimination.”

In 2013, there was a wedding on the occupied West Bank. The wedding guests were Palestinians. Not just any Palestinians: including Hamas supporters. Israeli soldiers heard Korean music play. They went inside. Not to shoot or arrest anyone: to dance along with the wedding guests, who welcomed them. Unfortunately, Israeli authorities punished these soldiers for that. These soldiers and these wedding guests should instead have gotten medals.

In addition, people of Asian descent, like the black population, also have to deal with racism. “You also see that some K-pop artists support the BlackLivesMatter protest, for example, by giving money to pay the bail of demonstrators arrested in the US. And disapproving tweets by Trump about the South Korean film Parasite [critical of capitalism] , which won the Oscar for best film, do not help either.”

In the Netherlands, it also plays a role that K-Pop fans are very active on social media anyway, because their life as a fan mainly takes place online.

Van Knippenberg support the playful actions on Twitter, such as the one against Wilders’ tweet. “It is important that these kinds of voicesdon’t get unanswered. And if videos of cheerful dancing Korean artists can help with that, why not?”

Downy woodpeckers in the USA

This 30 May 2020 video from North Carolina in the USA says about itself:

Downy Woodpecker Behavior

Rare natural extended quality time with a male Downy Woodpecker in Backyard North, one of the smallest woodpeckers, it is a scaled-down version of other woodpeckers. Here we see it working the bark of a locust tree and then taking a break for some preening. It is nice to see this bird in a natural setting away from feeders.

Big anti-racist murder protest in Dutch Eindhoven

This 6 June 2020 Dutch local TV video is about the big anti-racist murder protest in Dutch Eindhoven city today.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The demonstration in Eindhoven has ended. The municipality estimates that there were about 1,700 participants, far more than the local authority-authorized maximum of 700 and than the 200 that the organization had expected. However, coronavirus safety was not compromised according to the municipality. “For the additional influx, buffer zones were located on the side of the square, without compromising the health of demonstrators.”

Mayor John Jorritsma is positive about the course of the demonstration. “I have previously pointed out the responsibility of the organization and the participants. They have shown that demonstrating in this age of coronavirus is possible, with the necessary adjustments, respect for each other and each other’s health. I am proud of that.”

The demonstration started with a minute of silence, Omroep Brabant writes. “For all victims of police brutality. For all Black Lives victims. Also for the Dutch victims,” said one of the organizers.

This 6 June 2020 video is about the Black Lives Matter protest in Utrecht.

Big French demonstrations against police brutality

This 3 June 2020 video says about itself:

George Floyd’s death reignites protests in Paris over black Frenchman’s 2016 death in police custody

As the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death spread nationwide in the US, demonstrations have erupted in Paris over Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old black Frenchman who died in police custody four years ago. About 20,000 people showed up for the protest, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Demonstrations took place across France, with thousands of people attending rallies in Lille, Marseille, and Lyon.

Translated from Frank Renout, Dutch NOS radio correspondent in France, today:

Police brutality in France exposes lack of confidence

Again, there are mass demonstrations against police brutality in France. George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis is lamented, but also seen as an ‘opportunity’: to draw attention to French abuses. Police officers are often suspects in France.

“They kill us, injure us, attack us and insult us. We have to protest against that. It has taken way too long,” said a young female black protester in Paris.

The black community in France has been complaining about the actions of the police for years. Scientists confirm that feeling. “There is structural discrimination,” said sociologist Laurent Mucchielli on French TV.

People with a black or North African appearance are stopped by the police in Paris 7 to 8 times as often as people with white skin, research a number of years ago has shown.

Yellow vests

But another group is also present at the demonstrations in France: the Yellow Vests. They took to the streets en masse last year. Those demonstrations often resulted in hard clashes with the on-call police. Agents deploy rubber bullets and grenades, which critics say are too heavy weapons to use in demonstrations. In a year, nearly 2500 demonstrating Yellow Vests were injured, government figures show.

But officers are hardly, if at all, called to account for the use of excessive force, let alone punished. The French police are therefore criticized from various angles. This puts the government of President Macron in a difficult position.

It can hardly ignore the criticism that is widely felt and shared. Public opinion is partly formed by those scientific studies of discrimination and by the photos of mutilated Yellow Vests.

Hushing words

At the same time, the government desperately needs those same police officers

Macron and his ministers cannot just go against their own law enforcement officers.

In recent days, therefore, there were a lot of soothing words. “About 85 percent of the French have a positive or very positive view of the police,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner this week.

He based himself on a large-scale national study. But the minister did not say that it was not a representative sample. People could register themselves to answer questions. “The answers varied greatly by region,” admitted research leader Stéphane Daubignard. Opinions about the police in the upscale neighbourhoods of Paris may be very different from those in problem neighbourhoods around the capital.

In addition, the study was not conducted recently but “in the course of 2019”. … George Floyd was still alive. Daubignard: “Public opinion may have changed since we conducted that survey.”

Confidence is hard to find

The French Christian aid organization Acat published a lengthy investigation into the working methods of the police this year. Many problems were exposed in this, but many solutions were also proposed.

In essence, the solution, according to Acat, is simple: “Trust must be restored between the French population and law enforcement officers.” But especially with the black community, which feels systematically discriminated against, and with demonstrators like the Yellow Vests, who do not feel physically safe, trust is still a long way off.

Five wild dog species, video

This 5 June 2020 video says about itself:

All dogs (and wolves) are part of a large taxonomic family called Canidae, which also includes coyotes, foxes and jackals, according to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

Please note that, to avoid any confusion, this list does not include any member of Canis (wolves, coyotes, jackals, dingoes, and domestic dogs), or any of the foxes (true or false) or similar canids.

This list only includes 5 species that are typically called ‘’wild dogs’’ other than above.

African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
Dhole (Cuon alpinus)
Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
Bush dog (Speothos venaticus)
Short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis)

Anti-racism demonstrations continue

This 5 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

D.C. Doctor Provides First Aid to Protesters | In This Together | NowThis

Dr. Ernest Brown is providing basic first aid to protesters in Washington D.C. — here are his tips for those on the ground.

This 6 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

[American football] NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has apologised for the way the US football league has handled players’ protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

Colin Kaepernick and others began kneeling in 2016, as the national anthem was played.

Al Jazeera’s Alexi O’Brien reports.

Translated from Dutch regional broadcasting organisation Omroep Brabant today:

A demonstration was held on Saturday afternoon against racism and discrimination. The demonstration at the Schouwburgring, which was organized by the AntiRacismeGroep Tilburg, went without problems. According to the police, nearly a thousand people came to the protest. …

A woman with an Asian appearance had a sign that said, “‘I am a non-racist’ is not enough.” She explains that if you don’t fight racism, then such a statement is not enough. “I hear people say that too often. We have to fight and change together. As an Asian, I experience a lot of racism. It’s just not okay. What another person may consider a joke may ruin my whole day.”

Anti-racist demonstrations in the Netherlands continue

This 5 June 2020 video from Tilburg city in the Netherlands is about the preparations for the local demonstration today against the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA and against other racism.

As this photo shows, about 800 spatially distanced demonstrators came in Tilburg.

As this video shows as well.

More photos are here.

This 5 June 2020 video from Eindhoven city in the Netherlands is about the preparations for the local anti-racist demonstration today, at 17:00.

Tomorrow, there will be a demonstration in Maastricht, in the Griendpark. 14:00. 1100 people have said on the internet they will come.

On Wednesday 10 June, 17:00-18:30, there will be a demonstration against racist police brutality on the Anton de Komplein in Amsterdam.

Spinosaurus dinosaurs, new research

This 5 June 2020 video says about itself:

Revisiting Spinosaurus

Spinosaurus continues to provide ample source for discussion on the anatomy of this mysterious creature. Since the last time I talked about the sail back, more ideas have been thrown about as to how this critter skittered.