Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dutch Amsterdam


Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dutch Amsterdam, photo Anna Pruis/NOS

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Several hundred protesters have gathered this afternoon for a Black Lives Matter protest on the Dam in Amsterdam. The group protested against police violence. The immediate cause of the demonstration was, according to initiator Anna, the continuing police brutality against African Americans in the United States. The protest was peaceful.

The initiator of the protest emphasized on Facebook that it was a peaceful protest, which was conducted in silence. With texts on signs and their clothing the demonstrators wanted to express their dissatisfaction with the violence in the US. They carried signs saying “Don’t shoot” and pictures of victims of police violence.

See also here.

Young wreathed hornbill bird born, video


This video from Artis zoo in Amsterdam in the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

May 10, 2016

For the first time in twenty years a wreathed hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus) egg has hatched in the zoo. In 1996 a chick hatched for the last time. Wreathed hornbills make a nest in a special way. The couple builds a nest in a hollow tree where the female is completely immured [for protection against predators] with only a small hole to the outside world. The male during breeding feeds the female through this hole.

If there’s a chick, the male’s task of bringing food doubles. After more than three months the chick and mother together will break out of the nest. It therefore takes a while before the chick will be flying in the Birdhouse in Artis. Until then the public from Friday, May 13th, on will be able to follow the progress of the young wreathed hornbill through a camera on a screen at the birds’ compound.

Singing starling imitates other birds, video


This video shows a starling imitating other birds in its song; including white-fronted goose and great spotted woodpecker.

Leen Pauwels made this video on an Amsterdam, the Netherlands balcony.

Dutch Pegida fuehrer arrested for nazi banner


German cartoon on Pegida

This cartoon from Germany shows the racist Pegida organisation as a nazi skinhead (aka ‘bonehead‘), with nazi SS and swastika tattoos and a baseball bat for attacking people. The Pegida nazi uses a female and a male sock puppet. The female sock puppet claims: ‘I don’t really hate foreigners, but …’. The male sock puppet claims: ‘I really am not a nazi, but …’.

Dutch NOS TV reports that during a demonstration in Amsterdam today by the originally German Islamophobic anti-refugee organisation Pegida, police have arrested the leader of the Dutch Pegida branch, Edwin Wagensveld. Police did that because Edwin Wagensveld carried a nazi swastika banner (illegal in the Netherlands) and refused to hide it from public sight.

Young giant anteater born in Amsterdam zoo


On 5 February 2016, a young giant anteater, shown in this video, was born in Artis zoo in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

This is the fifth baby giant anteater born in Artis since 2008. Artis plays a role in an international program to conserve this rare species. As it is still cold outside, the anteater mother and her young will stay inside for the time being.

On 16 February, a young vicuña was born in the same South American animals compound in Artis. The vicuña was born outside, as these mountain animals are more used to cold than anteaters are.

Dutch Auschwitz survivor blasts Pegida racists


This video shows a mass meeting in Amsterdam in the Netherlands against the extreme right refugee-hating Pegida organisation, on Saturday 6 February 2016.

Max van den Berg is a Dutch Jewish survivor of Adolf Hitler‘s mass murder camp Auschwitz. After the second world war, he helped to found the Dutch Auschwitz committee for commemoration.

Here is a translation from the speech by Max van den Berg on that Saturday 6 February 2016, at the statue De Dokwerker, commemorating the general strike in February 1941 against the German nazi occupiers’ anti-Jewish violence in the Netherlands. Max van den Berg was then fourteen years old. He participated in the general strike at his school: school students struck along with the workers.

This video shows Max van Den Berg’s 6 February speech.

Mr Van den Berg addressed the 6 February 2016 mass meeting against the extreme right refugee-hating Pegida organisation:

Max van den Berg spoke on the demonstration on February 6: Refugees are welcome, racism is not!

Here, along the wall of the Portuguese synagogue was then a row of German trucks. That was on Sunday, February 23, 1941. One hundred meters further on the Waterlooplein square Jews were herded with clubs and rifle butts. When there were more than 400 they were driven into the trucks and taken away. All were murdered in the concentration camp Mauthausen.

On Monday 24 February, the communist party gathered at the Noordermarkt [Northern Market] to spread the watchword: Strike! Strike! Strike!

75 years ago the February strike broke out. The city was in solidarity with their persecuted Jewish fellow citizens and revolted against racist violence. The commemoration of this strike is more relevant than ever.

Again in the city there is solidarity with those who flee war and violence. Again, the city resists, now against racist hate mongers of Pegida. In Amsterdam there is no place for these people.

How did this war and refugee misery arise? Then we must go back in history. On February 4, 2003 at 16.30 Colin Powell, an American government minister, appeared at the UN, and displayed photos that supposedly proved conclusively that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. There had to be intervention quickly. A war based on a lie started. Later complemented by a Syrian civil war and the whole Middle East becoming ablaze.

Men, women and children fleeing the war which has lasted for 13 years. A fight with front fighting, guerrillas, attacks, terrorist attacks, hunger, phosphorus grenades and poison gas bombs. A fight that ended in a civil war. Nothing is more traumatic than a civil war. Village and neighborhood communities are torn apart and family ties torn asunder. Millions leave the battlefield hoping for a safe place in Europa. They fled by sea, more than 3,000 men, women and children drowned. They fled across the muddy paths of the Balkans during heat and during icy cold. They went to the Arctic Circle hoping to reach Sweden and Norway. Along the way there are now 10,000 children without parents who became lost and are wandering in groups across our continent. Easy prey for pickpocket gangs and prostitution.

Meanwhile, forty thousand refugees have found housing in our country. They were traumatized, and housed in large centers. …

Citizens wonder whether those refugees do not exceed the carrying capacity of society. [European Union authorities in] Brussels also question whether European society can support this financially. But that is a travesty, hypocritical. The same Brussels people refuse to tackle the tax dodging by big corporations, so that society is missing out on an amount of 80 billion euros.

Citizens have questions about unemployment, now there are refugees. But at the same time, the government’s statistics office states that the economy is picking up and may result in a shortage of workers in white-collar jobs and construction early next year. We may start to ask ourselves then whether too little refugees have come.

And then came Cologne and sexual violence and the so-called “testosterone bombs“. But then I think of the [murdered] girl Vaatstra, the Putten murder, about the Utrecht serial rapist [all crimes by non-refugee white Dutchmen], the massive child abuse within the Catholic Church and I think for just once: Our own people first [extreme right nationalist slogan, turned upside down here]. It is dirty to misguide worried citizens with hate speech.

Nothing is more dangerous than to mistake concerned citizens for racists. The hate mongers of Pegida would like that. We won’t be tricked by that.

And now the reception of refugees should be made a success. Refugees have to go from large centers to smaller more intimate and better shelters scattered across the cities and the country. Now there should be more government workers, making it possible to shorten the asylum procedure from seven months to a maximum of seven weeks.

Now there should be warm humanistic support in the areas of food, education and leisure. In this context we want to pay tribute to the thousands of workers, including many Dutch men and women with a Turkish or Moroccan background, who are doing that.

Some governments and politicians want to stop the flow of refugees. They want to close all borders. Europe should be made into a fortress with as its slogan: Me, me, me, and let all others die. Others want to take away the refugees’ money and jewelry (they can keep only their wedding rings! Aren’t those politicians ‘humane’, right?). Still others have developed illegal plans. Send them back to dictatorial Turkey, a country which itself bombs Kurds from the air. Creating a wave of Kurdish refugees.

No, there is no end to the flow of refugees as long as the war continues. 58,000 in January have braved the wintry chill and yet moved into Europe.

But there is a perspective. Through trial and error the first peace negotiations began and there is a chance to let the war end with joint forces. But just as these negotiations begin the Dutch parliament threatens to approve Dutch bombing in Syria (‘precision’ bombing – ridiculous). The English foundation Body Count and the BBC have calculated together that only because of the US bombing, apart from Russian and Syrian bombing, 1051 civilians have lost their lives. Collateral damage this is called and a little bag of dollars is ready, wrapped in a cloth of hypocritical ‘philanthropy’. But this breeds new hatred and terrorism. There are in the [ISIS] ‘caliphate’ no more military targets, say the experts. Dutch bombs may turn a desert into a Swiss cheese. That’s all.

We therefore call on parliament: no bombing in Syria! Stop arms exports to conflict areas! No drones dropping bombs but a blow against hate speech!

Dear people. Let us be aware of the serious political and moral crisis in which Europe finds itself. The contradictions are increasing, democratic freedoms are under pressure. Everyone has an interest in ending the protracted war with its destruction and waves of refugees.

Join the fight for the restoration of peace. Join the newly founded Amsterdam Peace Initiative.

Fight the racists of Pegida.

Long live solidarity with the war refugees.

Long live the people rescuing refugees!

Long live the struggle for peace!

This video shows another 6 February 2016 speaker, Anousha Nzume.

Refugee crisis: Angela Merkel appeals to Turkey for border controls to stop fresh wave of Syrian refugees: here.