Syrian refugee teachers’ training in the Netherlands


This video from the Turkish-Syrian border says about itself:

Syrian Refugees Demolish Barbed-wire Border Fence to Escape ISIS Fighting

15 June 2015

Thousands of refugees poured across the Syrian border into Turkey over the weekend after fighting intensified in the northern Syrian city of Tal Abyad. According to state-run TRT television, around 3,000 refugees arrived at the Akcakale border crossing on Monday.

Journalists at the scene said relatives waited behind fences on the Turkish side of the border for family members to cross on Monday.

More than 16,000 people are believed to have fled from Tal Abyad and surrounding areas into Turkey over the past two weeks.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Training for Syrian refugee teachers

21 January 2016

ICLON and Dutch Academic Services initiate a training for Syrian teachers in the Netherlands about the use of mobile teaching.

Taking into account recent developments in Syria and the Middle East it can be expected that there will be a huge need for education among Syrian refugees. That need can only be addressed by ‘out of the box’ methods: that is using flexible online (or blended) learning programmes.

While understanding this situation ICLON and Dutch Academic Services initiate a training course for professionals with an educational background: The Mobile Educator.

The training is offered free of charge. The trainers work on a voluntary basis and funds are being raised for additional costs for transport and lunch.

The training starts on 16 February.

More information and application: website Mobile Educator

The European Union Wants to Criminalize Volunteers Who Help Refugees on Greek Islands: here.

Dutch city wildlife, video


This 12 August 2014 video is about wildlife in and around the Zuidsingel canal in Leiden city in the Netherlands. Including views from a transparent boat, and divers diving.

Muslim girl likes rock concert, photo


Muslim girl at rock concert, photo by Jan Rijk

This photo by Dutch photographer Jan Rijk shows a 17-year-old Turkish Dutch Muslim girl, crowd surfing at a rock concert by the band John Coffey, on 19 December 2015.

This video shows part of that 19 December gig, in concert hall Gebroeders De Nobel in Leiden. Various people in the audience start crowd surfing. At about 0:45, the Muslim girl starts.

Translated from Vincent Frequin at Dichtbij.nl in the Netherlands, 22 December 2015:

LEIDEN – The photo of a Muslim girl crowd surfing at a concert in Leiden goes all over the internet. Photographer Jan Rijk: “It is moving to see that after all the misery of recent times yet there also can be tolerance. Music is obviously the way!”

During the concert of John Coffey in venue Gebr. De Nobel in Leiden the concert photographer Jan Rijk was moved by seeing two girls with headscarves on who turned out to be big fans of the Dutch rock band. “Then a little later one went crowd surfing, and I just had to capture this,” said Rijk.

Photo of integration and tolerance goes viral …

The girl in the picture would prefer not to generate too much fame for her person, but she would be happy if the photograph could bring about a change in the stereotype of ‘the Muslim‘, particularly at this time of hatred and destruction, she told Dichtbij.nl. “I also hope to have an effect on the Muslim community, because I know that there are more Muslim girls who also enjoy such music, but do not talk about it or are not allowed to go to the concerts by their parents.”

“I think my father will find this photo funny, but my mom will get really mad if she sees this, haha,” laughs the Muslim woman. She is proud and pleased with the beautiful picture. “Let’s hope that this, however unexpectedly, will be good for something and that this will lead to something positive!”

Muslim women at John Coffey concert

A comment by Walter Hoogerbeets under the article says (translated):

Funny, an angry tweet by [Dutch xenophobic politician Geert] Wilders on the day that the picture of a crowd surfing Muslim woman went viral. While he hates, we celebrate.

Tropical snails in Dutch hothouses


This video is called The World’s 7 Most Amazing Snails.

Translated from the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Snails in the tropical greenhouses of the Hortus Botanicus Leiden

On December 9th two students Mattia Trivellato and Luca Da Sois defended their bachelor thesis on the topic “Snails in the tropical greenhouses of the Hortus Botanicus Leiden” at the University of Padua [in Italy]. Botanical gardens play an important role in the introduction of exotic species from other countries through plant exchange between different institutions. Plants collected during research expeditions can also be carriers of snails or their eggs and even water tanks or soil from compost may be a cause of the intrusion of unwanted species.

Snails may be dangerous because they can cause damage to plants through feeding. Indirectly, they may also do damage by the transfer of new diseases. The students have done research to find out the occurrence of snails in the tropical greenhouses of snails and to identify them. In a period of three months the students have collected thousands of individuals which belong to at least fifty-two species. Twenty-seven were found to be endemic species and as many as fifteen species were alien species.

In a comparison with other collections, they found seven similar species. This indicates that these species pose a higher risk to spread easily. However, the students experienced during their research in literature and the collection of Naturalis that seven species can be added to the risk group. This study shows that in our greenhouses in temperate climates a numerous snail fauna can accommodate. Where they occur in the different compartments is probably due to the difference of soils, climate and which plants are being cultivated.

Theatre play Oeroeg in Leiden theatre


This video is the trailer of the Dutch language 1993 film Oeroeg. The international title of the film is Going home. It is (somewhat loosely) based on the 1948 novel Oeroeg by Hella S. Haasse (1918-2011). The book was translated into English in 2013 as The Black Lake.

It is about the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The main protagonist is a Dutch boy, born and bred in the mountains of the west of Java island in Indonesia. In the film he is called Johan; in the novel he is nameless. His father is a tea plantation manager.

The other main character, after whom the book was named, is Oeroeg. The name means ‘landslide’ in the Sundanese language of west Java. Oeroeg is an Indonesian boy, son of a plantation foreman. He is of the same age as, and the friend of, the Dutch boy.

Oeroeg was Hella Haase‘s first novel (after an earlier poetry book and a theatre play). She was born in Indonesia herself. Before she became an author, she studied to become an actress. Later, she wrote some texts for theaters.

So, it would be interesting to see what would happen to Oeroeg if it would change from a novel into a theatre play.

On 19 November 2015 was the première of Oeroeg, adapted as a theatre play by Madeleine Matzer, in the Leiden theatre. Quite some actors turned up in the audience of this première.

This 19 November 2015 video is the trailer of the theatre play.

This 19 November 2015 video is an interview with Leopold Witte. He is one of the two actors in the play; he plays the Dutch protagonist; nameless, like in the book. The other actor, Helge Stikker, plays Oeroeg and all minor characters. He also makes music on electric and acoustic guitars.

The show started with a film projection of an owl flying towards the spectators.

Later in the play, there was often a landslide (like in Oeroeg’s name) projected in the background.

Both the book and a play mention an ‘anteater’. Anteaters are South American, not Indonesian. Maybe Hella Haase confused them with pangolins, which do live in Indonesia. The book (not the play) also mentions a ‘houtduif’ (wood pigeon). A bird species of the Netherlands, not of Indonesia where other pigeon species live.

The ‘black lake’, a mountain lake after which the English translation of the book is named, plays an important role in the story. The young Dutch protagonist nearly drowns there, but survives. Oeroeg’s father drowns trying to save the Dutch boy; making that boy feel guilty and indebted to Oeroeg.

The main theme in the play is how colonialism, with its corollaries like economic inequality and racist prejudice, destroys friendships. The Dutch boy in the play, compared to many other Dutch people in the then Dutch East Indies, is not particularly prejudiced against Indonesians. He used to be better at speaking Sundanese than at speaking Dutch, and even later he still has a Sundanese accent in his Dutch. Yet he does not understand why his friend Oeroeg gradually becomes an anti-colonialist supporter of independence for Indonesia.

The end of the novel, and of the play, tells how the friendship eventually ends tragically during the Dutch war against newly independent Indonesia, 1945-1949. In the film, Dutch ‘Johan’ goes back to where he was born, as a Dutch colonial army soldier. In the book and in the play, the Dutchman also goes back to his site of birth, but as a civilian, not a soldier. Still, behind the stage, images of the bloody military conflict are projected. Close to where he used to play with Oeroeg when they were boys, the Dutchman meets an armed Indonesian pro-independence fighter; who says: ‘Go back, or I will shoot!’ Is that Indonesian fighter Oeroeg? Yes, says the film. In the book and the play, the Dutchman is not really sure whether the Indonesian is Oeroeg or not. He may be unable to recognize his former close friend. Emphasizing what was lost since his happy childhood memories.

A review of this play is here.

Tench swimming, video


This video is about a tench swimming in a canal in Leiden city in the Netherlands.

Aaf Verkade made this video.

Syrian war refugees interviewed


This video from the USA says about itself:

Super-Christian Mike Huckabee [one of the 16 Republican Party candidates for the presidency of the USA] Not So Christian On Syrian Refugees

15 October 2015

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee falsely suggested that the U.S. is not thoroughly vetting the Syrian refugees it is accepting, saying that unlike Vietnamese refugees who were resettled in the U.S. after the Vietnam War, Syrians are merely seeking U.S. benefits because they are “not living a very fancy life.” – See more here.

Huckabee Suggests Poor People Should Be Sold Into Slavery For Stealing: here.

In Dutch weekly Leids Nieuwsblad, 14 October 2015 paper edition, there is an interview by Hans Schuurman with some of the 120 refugees now temporarily living in a sports hall in Leiden city.

Mohamed, 30 years old, used to live in Damascus, the capital of Syria. Suddenly, unexpectedly again and again the violence of war threatens people living there. Mohamed fled three months ago. By train, by bus. And by rubber boat across the Meditteranean to Greece which cost 3,000 euros. Then, he continued on foot.

He felt most fear not in the rubber boat, but in Hungary: police might arrest him and jail him for years.

When he reached Germany, he said he wanted to go to the Netherlands, and then he could continue by bus. Why the Netherlands? ‘I have heard that the Netherlands is a tolerant country with many secular people. I myself don’t believe in Islam, into which I was born, any more. Please, don’t tell that to others. If ISIS would have got hold of me in Syria, they would have slit my throat’.

Michael, 39 years of age, is a Christian. He is from Aleppo, a city which suffers much from warfare. He hopes that it will possible soon to reunite with his wife and two daughters, 5 and 7 years old.