Tragedy

Heavy rainfall and flash floods are wreaking havoc in Germany, Belgium and also here in The Netherlands right now. So far no deaths here and no floods where I live (very close to the lowest part in The Netherlands) but there are many fatalities in Belgium and especially in Germany. It’s heartbreaking and scary.

We had flooding disasters here in the mid 1990s and since then billions of Euros have been invested in measures to prevent future disasters but even the flood plains that were invested in aren’t enough to stave off all danger. The flood plains are filled with water now but as more rain falls in Western Europe and more water comes down the rivers from Switzerland and Germany, the situation here in The Netherlands will remain precarious. We had virtually no rain where I live and most of the rain seems to be easing now in other parts, but the situation still remains dangerous due to the very high water levels (still rising here), mudslides and structures becoming unsafe.

The Netherlands is quite famous for its water management and flood control and we have all sorts of safeguards in place but even that does not seem to be enough. How even more dangerous will it all get if the climate continues to worsen?

Besides the flooding there has been more tragic news here: the Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries who was gunned down last week has died yesterday. It’s front page news in all the papers here…

Source

As I said before, I’ve never been a big fan of the man but he was very prominent here in The Netherlands, I think he was pretty much known to everyone, and he really did fight courageous battles for justice. This shooting has truly shocked me as an attack on our rule of law and free speech in this democracy and it’s tragic that the sustained injuries were so bad that he couldn’t pull through in the end. I almost had these visions of De Vries crime reporting on his own attackers and the organized crime that is probably behind it all, but alas that is never to be…

Attack on press freedom

Yesterday evening at 7.30 pm a very famous Dutch investigative and crime journalist was shot in the center of Amterdam after leaving a TV studio where he’d been a guest on a talkshow he regularly appears on. I’ve never really liked the man Peter R. de Vries but as a journalist he has been a pitbull in bringing attention to high profile cases and fighting for justice and getting results too, which has always been admirable. He even won an Emmy once about a programme he made on Natalee Holloway. He has apparently been hit in his head and is fighting for his life in hospital now. The working theory seems to be that it’s an organized crime hit and two men are already in custody (originally three but the third man has been released and has nothing to do with it all).

We’ve had a few more high profile in broad daylight assassinations in the past (like Pim Fortuyn, far right politician I hated but I was appalled at him being shot in 2002 and film maker Theo van Gogh in 2004) and I am very shocked that something like that can happen again in this country in broad daylight. It’s an attack on someone who is very outspoken and it’s also an attack on our press freedom which is normally rated highly (number 6 on a press freedom world index). I hope this attack gets punished severely as a deterrent. Mostly for now, I hope that De Vries will be alright in the end.