Tag Archive | The Netherlands

The Suppressed History of Dutch Atrocities in Indonesia*

The Suppressed History of Dutch Atrocities in Indonesia*

By Paul Doolan

ISIS has nothing on the Dutch. Indonesian men had to undress before they were interrogated (and executed). It is unclear who covered their genitals with straw. It could have been the photographer who may have worked for the Dutch army


The problem with the past sometimes, is that it isn’t past at all, as the Dutch have been forced to face up to recently. For the Dutch, the history of the mid- 20th century was quite simple until very recently: a freedom loving people (the Dutch) were attacked by an aggressive neighbor (Germany) and suffered for five years until, with the help of some friends, they were liberated. Conveniently forgotten was that, following this episode, the Dutch state mobilized the largest army in its history and fought a war against the Indonesian independence movement. The Dutch lost the conflict, and in December 1949 their former colony, the Dutch East Indies, gained independence. During the following decades this tropical misadventure formed an almost blank page in the nation’s history. But that, it seems, is changing. Events during the past year have forced the Dutch nation to reconsider the myth that for over a half century has formed their collective memory. Especially in the past couple of months, history has become front page news.

The Dutch had ruled most of Indonesia for 350 years, but found themselves prisoners of the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. With the defeat of Japan, Indonesian nationalists declared independence. The Dutch tried, with great difficulty, to reassert their control of the archipelago. After over four years of bitter conflict The Netherlands was forced to concede independence to Indonesia in December 1949.

By the end of the war numerous cases of military excesses had come to the attention of the Dutch public. Massacres by Dutch Special Forces on the island of South Celebes (present day Sulawesi) had been the subject of parliamentary debate. A massacre in the village Rawagede had been the subject of debate at the United Nations Security Council in 1948. Such incidents gradually led a minority of the Dutch press to turn against the war. In February 1949 leftist De Groene Amsterdammer published a letter from an unidentified officer. He wrote that Dutch officers:

“defend with passion and conviction the assertion that, for instance, if you are shot at from a kampong [village] than this kampong should be set on fire from four sides before the inhabitants have the chance to run away. And whoever then tries to escape (…) you shoot with a machine-gun, preferably not bothering with if these include women of children.”

The officer then drew a comparison with Putten, a village that had become infamous as being the site of one of the worst Nazi atrocities perpetrated on Dutch soil. The officer wrote of summary executions of prisoners who are “simply shot behind the head and then buried.” He described the Indonesians as living under “military terror.”

Showing their true colours: The Golden Carriage belonging to the King and Queen depicts dark-skinned slaves in a submissive position offering goods to white elites, called Painting of the Colonies. Despite protests it was not removed


But after the loss of their colony in December 1949 and the return of their soldiers the Dutch authorities quietly and quickly put the lid on this uncomfortable period of contemporary history. For many decades, with only the occasional exception, the possibility that Dutch forces had been guilty of atrocities, or even war crimes, was kept out of public consciousness. But last September history ended up in the court room and a court verdict in The Hague found the Dutch state responsible for carrying out a massacre of over 300 unarmed Indonesians in 1947 in the village of Rawagede, Indonesia, and called on the state to award compensation to the plaintiffs – seven elderly widows of those massacred.

Recent months have seen an increase in public attention on Dutch military atrocities. Earlier this year a national television channel, NCRV, broadcast a documentary on the Dutch atrocities committed on Sulawesi in 1946-1947, when around 3,000 Indonesians were executed without trial by special Dutch forces. It turns out that an official parliamentary inquiry into these events had taken place in 1954, but the report was kept top secret. The NCRV managed to get hold of a copy and for the first time the Dutch public heard excerpts from the report which would seem to indicate that widespread atrocities had had the support of the military and political leadership, and had then been officially hushed up. A few months after the broadcast a foundation representing the widows of ten victims of the Dutch on Sulawesi began a legal procedure against the Dutch state. The lawyer representing the foundation is Liesbeth Zegveld, who also led the successful case on behalf of the widows of Rawagede. The odds are that the Dutch state will be found responsible for war crimes again.
Comment: The widows of Sulawesi have been compensated and the Dutch government has made a formal public apology, which is a complete joke, because no captain, politician or even ordinary soldiers have ever faced prosecution.

According to some estimates the Dutch murdered 150,000 Indonesians during 1945-49.

In early July historians from three research institutes of worldwide reputation issued a public statement, claiming that the Dutch state has never come clean on its colonial past and called for the government to fund a large scale research project that would systematically look at the behaviour of the Dutch military in Indonesia during the years 1945-1950 and examine the role of the Dutch political elite in the conflict. The fact that the history of the war of decolonization in Indonesia has become a hot topic can be seen by the fact that this announcement by academic historians was reported on national news, in newspapers and on radio and television. It isn’t often that history makes the headlines. Yet more was to follow.

On July 10th the national newspaper, de Volkskrant, published two photos that seem to show three Indonesians standing in a mass grave, being executed by Dutch soldiers. The photos had belonged to a deceased former Dutch soldier and had been rescued from a rubbish dump. Remarkably, these were the first ever photos of Dutch executions ever to be published – 63 years after the end of the war. De Volkskrant ran the report on its front page and within hours it was being reported on the radio and television. I’ve just returned from a two week visit to the Netherlands and everyone I spoke to had seen the photos. The most common reaction was: “why have we been lied to all these years?” Perhaps we can expect to find an answer some time in the not too distant future.


Related Topics:

The CIA Coup and Sponsored Massacre that Led to the Ruin of Indonesian Society*

Indonesia: The Poor Die to Make the Rich, Richer*

Indonesia Welcomes Rohingya Refugees*

US-Saudi Plague ISIS Reaches Indonesia? *

Israel Blocks Indonesian FM’s Entry into West Bank*

Thousands of Modern Slaves in the Netherlands, says report*

Thousands of Modern Slaves in the Netherlands, says report*

A new report estimates that 17,500 people are ‘modern slaves’ in the Netherlands, working as forced labourers or victims of sexual exploitation. The Global Slavery Index, created by Australian human rights organisation the Walk Free Foundation, claims 45.8 million people ‘are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.’

It ranks 167 countries based on the extent of their suspected slavery problem, putting the Netherlands in 50th place of 52. Slaves are defined as people who are exploited but cannot leave due to threats, violence, coercion or abuse of power.

Slavery in the Netherlands – estimated at 0.1% of the population – is suspected in the construction, agriculture, transport, sex and catering industries, as well as amongst people forced by criminals to beg. The Telegraaf reports Corinne Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, national rapporteur on human trafficking, as saying: ‘These are huge numbers. It undermines our society to have this happening under our very eyes. More people need to be aware of this and raise the alarm. For example, customers at market stalls where a child is always helping, or family doctors who see inside people’s homes.’

Dutch estimates were based on reports to CoMensha, a foundation dealing with victims of human trafficking, and work by criminology professor Jan van Dijk of Tilburg university. He said slavery can happen in diplomatic families, for instance:

‘Maids from the Philippines and from African countries are terribly exploited,’ he told the Telegraaf.

‘It is an absolute disgrace that diplomats might be guilty of such offences, purely because of their immunity.’

Van Dijk said most victims are African, Asian and Eastern European, but there are also native Dutch victims, often enslaved by pimps. More men have been exploited in recent years, he added. Even so, the Australian report ranks the Dutch government as having one of the world’s strongest responses to modern slavery, saying such countries are ‘characterised by strong political will, sufficient resources, and a strong civil society that holds governments to account.’ It identifies the worst places for slavery as North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia and India.


Related Topics:

The Netherlands: When Child Traffickers Rule a Nation

Netherlands Christmas: Black Pete*

Israel, Organized Crime, White Slavery, and the Sex Trade*

Nestlé’s Bid To Squash a Child Slavery Suit Rejected*

Slavery: The Anniversary of the Official Ending of a System that Bankrolled and Civilized Cameron’s British Empire*

Netherlands Rejects Calls by Israel to Ban ‘Boycott of Israel’*

Netherlands Rejects Calls by Israel to Ban ‘Boycott of Israel’*

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders


Netherlands has rejected calls by Israel to declare illegal a growing international campaign that calls for the boycott of Israeli products. 

Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said on Thursday the Dutch government has explained to Tel Aviv that people joining the campaign was an issue of free speech, to which the Dutch people are entitled.

Netherlands is the second country in the European Union to have announced its support for people’s right to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.

“Statements or meetings concerning BDS are protected by freedom of expression and freedom of assembly as enshrined in the Dutch Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,” Koenders said.

Dutch Ambassador to Israel Gilles Beschoor Plug defended Koender’s remarks, saying that joining the campaign in Holland “is not illegal and therefore it falls within the limits of freedom.”

“As long as what one says is not illegal you are free to say it,” he added.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon denounced the decision, saying there had to be “limits” on the concept of freedom of speech.

Israel has been pressuring the U.S. and European countries to introduce legislation and take other repressive measures to confront the BDS movement.

In February, Britain introduced new rules, banning local authorities and public-sector organizations from boycotting Israel and pledging severe penalties for violators.

Banking behemoth Credit Mutuel also shut down the account of La Campagne BDS France at the request of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) last week.

Protesters call for the boycott of Israel during a demonstration in the German capital of Berlin, May, 15 2016.


Sweden, however, supported the right to join the BDS in March 2016, saying the movement is “a civil society movement” and that “governments should not interfere in civil society organization views.”

Earlier this month, more than 300 groups in Europe urged the EU to hold Israel accountable for its human rights violations and join the global campaign for boycott of Israeli products.

The 352 signatories to a letter included human rights and aid organizations, church groups, trade unions and political parties from across the continent, including France, Germany, Norway and Belgium.

The BDS movement is currently asking people to add their names to an appeal to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to take necessary measures to protect those who campaign for Palestinian rights.

The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations that were pushing for “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law.”

Thousands of volunteers worldwide have joined the BDS ever since to help promote the Palestinian cause.


Related Topics:

Iceland’s Capital Bans All Israeli Products Over Palestine*

Jewish NY High School Student Facing Legal Action for Supporting Palestine*

U.S. Silent on U.S. Citizens Engage in Violence against Palestinians*

72 Percent of Aid to Palestine Ends Up ‘In Israeli Hands*

U.K. Doctors Accuse Israel of Medical Torture*

Israel is the Organ Harvesting and Human Trafficking Global Ringleader, with Help from U.S. and Turkey*

How Israel Makes Money from Blockading Gaza*

Israel Vents Fury with France after Vote to Recognise Palestine*

Israel Threatens Brazil Unless It Accepts Settler Ambassador*

US And Israeli Pressured Nigeria To Sell Out Palestine At U.N.*

Threats from the U.S. as Palestine Submits Formal Complaint to ICC*

How the Israel Lobby Manufactured U.K. Labour Party’s Anti-Semitism Crisis*

Israel Accepts Invitation to Hold Permanent Mission at NATO’s HQ*

Israel to Host International Genocide Conference*

Nearly Every Western Country has an Israel Lobby*

The Rothschild’s Zionist World Order*

An Incredible System that Generates Electricity from Living Plants*

An Incredible System that Generates Electricity from Living Plants*

If the organic matter plant given back to the soil is used, over time does the soil end up being less sustainable?

By Amanda Froelich

This Dutch start-up has developed a way to use living plants as a continuous source of clean energy

A Dutch start-up has developed a way to use living plants as a continuous source of clean energy – all that is needed is a light source, carbon dioxide, water, and a field or patch of plants.

The company is called Plant-e, and it is showing the world how easy it can be to bring electricity to isolated regions currently without power.

As shared in the video above, the system works best in wetlands or watery fields like rice paddies. Also, it doesn’t matter if the water is brackish or polluted. This means that areas unsuitable for growing crops could be repurposed as a power source.

How does it work? 

Based on natural processes, electrons are harvested from the soil and electricity is produced while plants continue to grow! It might sound too good to be true, but it absolutely is not.

As Next Nature shares, the theory behind the Plant-e system is simple. When a plant creates food using photosynthesis, a large portion of the organic matter generated is actually excreted by the roots into the soil. That same organic matter then gets consumed by microorganisms living in the soil, which release electrons as a by-product of this consumption. By placing an electrode near the roots, it then becomes easy to harvest this waste energy and turn it into electricity.

In addition, the plants are left unharmed during the entire process. In fact, tests show that the plants will continue to grow normally in the presence of electrodes, providing a constant source of power day and night. Combined with lamps powered by salt water, off-grid locations may have access to sustainable energy sooner than predicted!

At present, a prototype green roof utilizing this technology is already being developed and tested in the Netherlands. If all goes well, the Plant-e team hopes to utilize this system to harvest a significant amount of energy – maybe even enough to power a house. At present, they have been able to use the technology to generate enough energy to power a cell phone – but time will no doubt allow the company to perfect its process.

The amount of renewable energy sources being developed is astonishing; perhaps very soon in the near future technologies like solar and wind power may be merged with a system like this, completely eliminating humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels.


Related Topics:

Water Pipes that Generate Electricity in Portland*

Wind Power Behind Denmark’s Production of 140% Its Electricity*

Dutch Citizens Successfully Sued Their Own Government*

Dutch Citizens Successfully Sued Their Own Government*
By Sophie McAdam

“You have been negotiating all my life!” This powerful cry from a 21 year-old female Dutch activist set a precedent for the way citizens deal with the false promises, corruption and greed of their political leaders. Today, for the first time in history, people have bypassed their local representatives in power and headed directly for the law courts to get their voices heard. The best bit? They won!

This all began when the above-mentioned activist, Anjali Appadurai, stood up at a UN climate change conference four years ago and addressed her leaders in the Netherlands (and others throughout the world). Her passionate voice, full of anger and frustration, made a huge impact and mobilized a generation. She was fighting for action on climate change and referencing the fact that over two decades of talks had failed to reach the point of conclusive action.

Today, that unthinkable dream was realized by the 886 Dutch activists who campaigned long and hard to see justice for generations to come.

The Guardian reported that the decision could ‘inspire a civil movement.’  James Thornton, chief executive of environmental law organisation ClientEarth, told the newspaper:

“A major court has broken through a political and psychological threshold…It is remarkable.”

Thornton said: “The case returns to the fundamental power of the court to prevent harm. Every country in the world has [this] law.” Thornton says that many others are currently considering climate litigation cases.’

The video from End Ecocide On Earth asks whether states have a constitutional obligation to protect the environment. Is it possible to hope this could be the way our arguments with governments are settled from now on? Is it possible that other judges around the globe would back citizens on urgent issues such as fracking and other ecocidal, greed-fueled actions? Is it possible that with each small success, politicians begin to listen to us?


Related Topics:

Canadians Sued the Bank Of Canada & Won*

Iceland Jailed 7 Bank Executives*

The American Family Being Forced Into Extinction*

African Bishops against the Vatican Move to Destroy the Family*

Australian PM Advisor on the NWO Climate Change Hoax*

U.K. Doctors Want NHS Out of TTIP Now*

Thousands Rally in Rome to defend Natural Family and against Gender Theory*

UK Bishop Warns Of ‘A Slide Towards Ever Greater State Control’ as Pressure Mounts On Christians*

Vatican Speaker Push for Massive Depopulation under New ‘Earth Constitution’ and ‘World Government*

The Netherlands: When Child Traffickers Rule a Nation‏

The Netherlands: When Child Traffickers Rule a Nation‏

From Alexandra Bruce

Joris Demmink, the current Secretary General of the Dutch Ministry of Justice has consistently been linked to the sexual assault and trafficking of young boys, both in the Netherlands and abroad.

In the fall of 1998, an investigation conducted into an Amsterdam brothel linked senior politicians and justice officials to the sexual abuse and trafficking of young boys.

Demmink was specifically identified by one of the young boys as an individual involved in the abuses.

According to a former senior official at the Ministry of Justice, this investigation was foiled through the direct intervention of and obstruction by Demmink.

U.S. Helsinki Commission Briefing: Listening to Victims of Child Sex Trafficking – October 5, 2012

Related Topics:

Child Sacrifice and Trafficking in Holland, and Abroad: An Eyewitness Comes Forward and Names her Torturers – An Exclusive Breaking News Report from ITCCS Central Office and its Dutch Affiliates

Normalizing Paedophilia through Sex for Children*

Canadian Child Sacrificial Cult Exposed*

U.K. Paedophile Whistleblower Convicted without Evidence*

Common Core Curriculum: Satanism in our Schools*

Where Some Children Disappear to on Halloween*

Former Head of FBI Speaks on Rothschild, Illuminati, Satanism, Paedophile Rings = NWO

Kids Don’t Know They’re being Led into New Forms of Mental Concentration Camps*

Rabbi Admits Jewish Role in the African Slave Trade*

Rabbi Admits Jewish Role in the African Slave Trade*

The legacy of this past has yet to be redeemed by many of the descendents – a perfect example in social engineering for the dumbing-down of rest of the world!

By David Duke

According to a report in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) and the Jewish Journal, the book will “remind Dutch Jews of their ancestors’ deep involvement in the slave trade.”

Written by Rabbi Lody van de Kamp, the book was sparked off by the ongoing controversy over an old Dutch Christmas tradition known as “Zwarte Piet” (Black Pete)—a mischievous character who accompanies the Dutch version of Father Christmas around Holland as his assistant.

Even though Zwarte Piet is actually supposed to be an elfish character whose black face is the result of his working in a coal mine, black activists in the Netherlands have claimed that it is in reality a racial parody of black people (which it is not).

Nonetheless, Rabbi Van de Kamp has joined the chorus calling for the abolition of Zwarte Piet, and at the same time, revealed that the Dutch Jewish community also has a Zwarte Piet tradition of its own, called “Hanukklaas.”

The article in the Jewish Journal is titled “How culpable were Dutch Jews in the slave trade?” and says that Rabbi Van de Kamp criticized the Zwarte Piet tradition on Republiek Allochtonie, a black news-and-opinion website based in the Netherlands.

On that site, Rabbi Van der Kamp wrote that the “portrayal of ‘Peter the slave’ dates back to a period when we as citizens did not meet the social criteria that bind us today.

“Speaking out against Black Pete is part of my social mission, an effort that extends to reminding Dutch Jews of their ancestors’ deep involvement in the slave trade,” the article continued.

Referring to his new book on the Jewish role in the African slave trade, Rabbi van der Kamp said that

“Money was earned by Jewish communities in South America, partly through slavery, and went to Holland, where Jewish bankers handled it.”

In researching the book, Rabbi Van de Kamp said he discovered data that shocked him.

“In one area of what used to be Dutch Guyana, 40 Jewish-owned plantations were home to a total population of at least 5,000 slaves,” he says.

“Known as the Jodensavanne, or Jewish Savannah, the area had a Jewish community of several hundred before its destruction in a slave uprising in 1832. Nearly all of them immigrated to Holland, taking their accumulated wealth with them.

“Some of that wealth was on display last year in the cellar of Amsterdam’s Portuguese Synagogue, part of an exhibition celebrating the riches of the synagogue’s immigrant founders.”

Rabbi Van de Kamp says the exhibition sparked his interest in the Dutch Jewish role in slavery, which, he says, was “robust.”

According to research, on the Caribbean island of Curacao, Dutch Jews may have accounted for the resale of at least 15,000 slaves landed by Dutch transatlantic traders, according to Seymour Drescher, a historian at the University of Pittsburgh.

Jews were so influential in those colonies that slave auctions scheduled to take place on Jewish holidays often were postponed, according to Marc Lee Raphael, a professor of Judaic studies at the College of William & Mary.

Dr David Duke has dealt with the issue of Jewish involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in two remarkable videos, which are “must-see” material and can be viewed below:


Related Topics:

Israel admits to Birth Controlling Ethiopian Women*

Black Women Targeted with Eugenics Drug*

Poor Asian, African, and Latin American Children Targeted by Gates and Others with Questionable Vaccines*

The Taino of the Caribbean: the People Who Do Not Exist

Jamaica’s PM Calls for Reparation

Haiti: The Divine Right to Enslave Others*

The History of Your Enslavement

The Doctrine of Discovery

Why I Will Never, Ever, Go Back to the United States

Why I Will Never, Ever, Go Back to the United States

Niels Gerson Lohman

After a year of traveling, I had planned a last, short trip. I was going to take the train from Montreal to New Orleans. The travels I had been undertaking earlier this year had brought me to places that were meant to form the background of my second novel.

This trip, however, was for my dad. He, a trumpet player, loved New Orleans and had died a year ago. It felt like the first sensible trip I undertook this year. I had been searching for ways to forget about the last hours at his deathbed. He had been ill for 15 years and his body just would not give up. It was a violent sight. I had decided the trip to New Orleans would put an end to those memories.

Usually, I barely plan my trips in advance. But this time I had booked everything: my train tickets, hotels and my flight back to Montreal, from which I would depart back to Amsterdam. In total the trip was supposed to take three weeks. The confirmations and tickets I had printed and tucked away in a brown envelope I had bought especially for the trip. I like things to be neatly arranged. At home, in Amsterdam, my house enjoys a slight version of OCD.

The first part of the trip, from Montreal to New York, is known to be one of the world’s prettiest train routes. When we had just passed the sign ‘Welcome to the State of New York,’ the train pulled over for a border check. I put the brown envelope on my lap. On top of the envelope I filled in my migration form with utmost dedication. I love border crossings. Forms don’t lie.

The customs officer walked by and asked everybody on the train a few questions. Where they were from, where they were heading. The usual stuff. Everybody who was not a U.S. or Canadian citizen was to head for the dining car to fill in an additional green form.

In the dining car sat a cheerful looking family from the Middle East and a German man with a mouth in which a small frisbee could easily be inserted. I took the seat across the German, who had already filled in his green paper, and started on my own, dedicated, hoping to impress him. He was not throwing me friendly looks. The customs officer took the German’s papers and welcomed him to America. They switched seats. He put his hands on the table and looked at me. We must have been of similar ages. He had a goatee and slid my passport towards him like it was a small gift.

I had not finished my novel yet, but my passport was complete. It was filled with pretty stamps. He did not like the stamps.

First, he saw my Sri Lankan stamp. The customs officer raised his eyebrows.

“Sri Lanka, what were you doing over there?”

“Surfing. Traveling. My best friend lives there. He is an architect.”

The officer flipped on, seemingly satisfied. Secondly, he found my stamps from Singapore and Malaysia.

“What were you doing over there? Singapore and Malaysia? Aren’t those countries Islamic?”

Looking over my shoulder, his eyes searched for his colleague’s confirmation.

“Malaysia, I think so, yeah. But not Singapore. It’s a melting pot. A very futuristic city. Airconditioned to the ceiling. To Singapore I went mostly for the food, to be honest.”


“I’m sorry?”

“Nothing. And how about Malaysia?”

I explained flights departing from Malaysia were cheaper compared to Singapore.
That I only went there for a few days, but also, a little bit, for the food. The customs officer went through some more pages. Then he found my Yemeni visa. He put my passport down and stared at me.

“What the hell were you doing in Yemen?”

“I went to the island Socotra, it’s not on mainland Yemen. It’s a small island closer to Somalia. A very special place, some call it ‘Galapagos of the Middle East.’ I think 85 percent of the plants and animals there, are indigenous.”

“Weren’t you scared?”

“Yeah. I was scared. When I was at the airport in mainland Yemen. That entire area is now taken by al Qaeda, I believe.”

The customs officer was looking at my passport no longer. If he would have leafed through, he would have found Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi stamps.

That was the first time I had to open my suitcase. Six customs officers went through my two phones, iPad, laptop and camera. In my wallet they found an SD card I had totally forgotten about. They did not like that. By now I was the only one left in the dining car and the center of attention. I had put a raincoat in my suitcase, because I’d heard New Orleans tends to get hit by thunderstorms in the late summer. An officer held up the coat and barked:

“Who takes a coat to the U.S. in the summer?”

I answered it would keep me dry, in case the New Orleans levees would break again. The officer remained silent. He dropped my coat like a dishcloth.

The raincoat seemed to be the last straw. The customs officers exchanged looks.

“We’d like to ask you some more questions. But the train has to continue, so we’re going to take you off here.”

I looked out of the window. We weren’t at a proper station. Along the tracks were piles of old pallets.

“Will you put me on another train, afterwards?”

“This is the only train. But in case we decide to let you in, we’ll put you on a bus. Don’t worry.”

I started to worry. I packed my suitcase as quickly as possible and was escorted off the train. There were three officers in front of me, and three behind. My suitcase was too wide for the aisle, it kept getting stuck between the seats. I apologized to the train in general. While I struggled, the officers waited patiently and studied the relation between me and my suitcase.

Outside, we stopped in front of a white van. The officers permitted me to put my suitcase in the back and I was about climb into the van, when then they halted me.

“You are not under arrest. There is no need to be scared. But we would like to search you.”

“I’m not scared. But it’s kind of exciting. It’s like I’m in a movie. You’re just doing your job. I get that.”

To me, that seemed the right attitude. They searched me for the first time then, just like in the movies. Before I climbed into the van, I had to give up my phones. I seemed unable to close my belt by myself, so an officer helped me out. This is when the sweating started.

In a little building made of corrugated tin, I opened my suitcase once more. Behind me, there was a man in tears. An officer was telling him about the prison sentence the man was looking forward to. He had been caught with a trunk full of cocaine. The man kept talking about a woman who seemed to be able to prove his innocence, but he was unable to reach her.

After that they searched me again. Thoroughly.

Just like in the movies.

In the room next to me they tried to take my fingerprints, but my hands were too clammy. It took half an hour. An officer said:

“He’s scared.”

Another officer confirmed:

“Yeah. He’s scared.”

I repeated, another attempt to be disarming:

“This is just like in the movies.”

But border patrol is not easily disarmed.

In the five hours that followed, I was questioned twice more. During the first round I told, amongst others, my life’s story, about my second novel’s plot, gave my publisher’s name, my bank’s name and my real estate agent’s name. Together we went through all the photos on my laptop and messages my phones had been receiving for the past months. They wrote down the names of everybody I had been in touch with. In my pirated software and movies they showed no interest.

During the second round of questioning, we talked about religion. I told them my mother was raised a Catholic, and that my dad had an atheist mother and a Jewish dad.

“We don’t understand. Why would a Jew go to Yemen?”

“But… I’m not Jewish.”

“Yeah, well. We just don’t understand why would a Jew go to Yemen.”

Again, I showed them the photos I took in Yemen and explained how nice the island’s flora and fauna had been. That the dolphins come and hang out, even in the shallow water and how cheap the lobsters were. I showed them the Dragonblood trees and the Bedouin family where I had to eat goat intestines. They did not seem to appreciate it as much as I had.

“You yourself, what do you believe in?”

I thought about it for a second and replied.

“Nothing, really.”

Obviously, I should have said:

“Freedom of speech.”

When I’m supposed to watch my words, I tend to say the wrong ones.

The last hour was spent on phone calls about me. Now and then an officer came and asked me for a password on my equipment. By then, the cocaine trafficker had been brought to a cell where they did have a toilet. I continued my wait. An officer, who I had not seen before, flung the door open and asked if I was on the Greyhound heading to New York. I shrugged hopefully. He closed the door again, as if he had entered the wrong room.

Finally, two officers came rushing into my waiting room.

“You can pack your bag. And make sure you have everything.”

They gave me my phones back. All apps had been opened. I had not used my phones that day, but the batteries were completely drained. Because I was soaked in sweat, I attempted to change shirts while packing my bag. It seemed like I had made it.

“How much time do we have? What time will the bus depart?”

“We don’t know.”

I was unable to find the entrance to my clean shirt. I held it high with two hands, as if it was a white flag.

“So… what’s the verdict?”

“We are under the impression you have more ties with more countries we are not on friendly terms with than your own. We decided to bring you back to the Canadian border.”

They brought me back. In the car, no words were said. It was no use. I was defeated. To the Canadian border they said:

“We got another one. This one is from the Netherlands.”

The Canadian officer looked at me with pity. She asked if there was anything I needed. I said I could use some coffee and a cigarette. She took my passport to a back room and returned within five minutes, carrying an apologetic smile, a freshly stamped passport, coffee, a cigarette, and a ticket to the next bus back to Montreal.

I have been cursed at a Chinese border. In Dubai, my passport was studied by three veiled women for over an hour and my suitcase completely dismembered. In the Philippines I had to bribe someone in order to get my visa extended for a few days. Borders, they can be tough, especially in countries known for corruption.

But never, ever, will I return to the United States of America.

Niels Gerson Lohman is a writer, designer and musician from The Netherlands. His website is: www.nielsgersonlohman.com.

Related Topics:

Why We Left the U.S.

Why We Left the U.S. for Argentina

Why I Left Canada