Unrest

Ah yes, real life has begun again! I still have lovely memories of my recent holiday in England as I sip tea from my cat-cup that I bought in this wonderful cat-themed shop in York…

… but the real world has crudely descended upon me again.

My aunt’s closest friend, who has also become a friend to the family and who I have known pretty much my whole life, has suffered a brain hemorrhage and is now half paralyzed and barely conscious. She is 92 and it looks like she won’t recover from this. I’ve already seen her twice since I came back home last week Friday evening; this morning she was even conscious for a bit, recognized us visitors and was even able to communicate some things. How long she will last, we don’t know, but it could be a few months yet and it’s already heartbreaking to see her slowly waning like that…

Another worry has been my daughter. She has had to deal with some issues this past year which resulted in us all wanting to enrol her at a different school. This past July, at the end of the school year, we were interviewed by the director of a new school, he wanted to check some things with my daughter’s old school and would then let us know whether she can indeed come to this new school. We all don’t forsee too much trouble but it is a formality that apparently needs to be handled before she can change schools.

As the summer vacation was upon us, the director hadn’t been able to reach my daughter’s old school. He told us then that he couldn’t do anything until the 3rd week of August, the week before school is due to start, which is this week. He would try to get it all in order then (which is now) and hopefully have her enrolled.  But: we haven’t heard from him yet! We’ve been trying to call him since this past Monday afternoon but we can’t reach him. We couldn’t reach the school administration either. Until today… I finally got someone on the line! I asked whether my daughter is actually enrolled or not, but the admin lady didn’t know. All she could tell me was that she couldn’t find my daughter’s name on any class list yet. The school had asked for my daughter’s info before the vacation and we had e-mailed it all in July before we left, but apparently nothing has been processed yet. The admin lady needed to ask the director but she couldn’t reach him either (and hadn’t seen him around school yet)! So, here we are in limbo land… we told my daughter’s old school last July that she will be going elsewhere (and she really doesn’t want to go back there!) but she isn’t enrolled in the new school yet either… So now, we don’t know which school she can go to this coming Monday. This insecurity is stressing me out!

And then, in addition, the US political situation is freaking me out; it has a grip on my heart like an iron fist! First, last week, it felt like the orange president was about to start World War III, if not with North Korea then with Venezuela. That seems to have been smoothed over a bit for now but then this week it feels like he is unleashing a second US civil war instead! Ever since all the unrest and the terrorist attack in Charlottesville this past weekend this Muse song has been drifting through my head (“I am hungry for some unrest…”):

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hungry for unrest (the opposite, in fact!) but the phrase just keeps on popping up in my mind. To be clear, I hate violence, whether perpetrated by the right or by the left! But there is only one side that has initiated this by their blind hatred: white supremacists and nazis. “All men are created equal“, right? Not to these white supremacists who organized this hate demonstration! And here we have a world leader condoning them (despite him saying he doesn’t), enabling a society in which nazis can flourish. Where will this end? I know it’s all happening geographically far away from me, but it feels close and it scares the shit out of me.

This is a week of such great unrest for me, I find it a little difficult to cope. Work has started again and has taken my mind away from these troubles occasionally, but there is this sinking feeling, always there in the background, that I can’t quite shake. Here, some gifs that illustrate how this week has been for me…

It’ll help a little when at the very least this situation with my daughter gets resolved. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

I was recently reminded of a picture taken a few years ago;  a picture of Esther’s treasures which really made me smile:

Esther's treasures

I’ll just hold on to that for positivity, shall I?

A song for every occasion

I have said it for years (and the BBC show Homes Under the Hammer also proves it, see this blurb about that show): every situation can remind you of a song!

I was watching current affairs on TV and came across a programme on a Belgian channel that had a far-right young Dutch politician I really dislike on their panel. I took a peek (shouldn’t have) and they were discussing something he had said a while back. They played a clip of him saying that women are often left-leaning until they meet a right-wing man who tells her how it really is and she always comes around to his way of thinking in the end… Yes, basically saying women can’t think for themselves! There was a woman on the panel who rightfully accused him of using arguments by men who were opposed to suffragettes a hundred years ago… The pit of my stomach exploded in anger at this politician yet again! I quickly changed the channel, really don’t have to listen to that garbage, and looked up a David Bowie song on YouTube that I thought of as soon as the word “suffragette” was uttered…

This came after I was reading about the latest travel ban news coming from the US, about people being banned from crossing borders after all. It made me think of this Chris de Burgh song, where he sings, “Don’t let go, I want to know, that you will wait for me until the day, there’s no borderline, no borderline…”

Before that I was reading about Richard Armitage and Michelle Forbes going to the ballet together…

Ballet tweet

… and a song from A Chorus Line came to mind…

Yes, it was quite an associative half hour!

He said what now?

My reaction to the news this morning…

On the Jewish holiday of Pesach (which commemorates persecution of the Jews!) US press secretary Sean Spicer said the Nazis hadn’t used chemical weapons? What, pray, was Zyklon B? He clarified later that Hitler hadn’t used gas on his own people? What, no German Jews or German gay people or German Nazi opponents or German disabled people were gassed? And they were sent to ‘Holocaust centers’ ? What, for a conference or something? He has apparently apologized for the statement since, but I wonder, did he really learn anything, does he get it?

I don’t give a fuck that it wasn’t his intent to downplay the Holocaust – he did do it! And you only do that when deep down you just don’t get it. It reminded me of this little scene in Hidden Figures when Kirsten Dunst’s Vivian Mitchell says to Octavia Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughn that she never treated Dorothy any different because of the colour of her skin. Dorothy smiles indulgently and says “I know you probably believe that”

I am glad there was a clamour against Spicer’s statement and he did sort of apologize, but did this teach him anything? My visit to Auschwitz for the first time when I was 19 and for two visits afterwards have left a lasting impact on my life. Maybe the White House staff should do the same or at least visit a Holocaust museum, there is one right there in Washington DC…

#MerkelTrump humour

I am not going into a big political argument post here. If you read here, you may have already gathered where my political sympathies lie…

I have been following some of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Donald Trump in the US. I don’t know how the visit has exactly been received in the US, but here it seems to generally have been perceived as Trump embarrassing himself yet again. The internet has feasted on this and I just had to share! After all, the only way I can try to survive this disastrous US presidency is partake in the humour created by others and be grateful that others too keep on seeing the absolute ridiculousness (is that a word?) of this man.

As far as I could tell two events of this visit were singled out in Twitter humour. One is the handshake that didn’t happen in the Oval office. Yes, they did shake hands on other occasions during the visit but on this occasion Trump snubbed her and Merkel gave a little grimace. She does look at him like a mother looks at an over-indulged, spoilt child…

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This one below says “Did you tidy up your room? Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

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And a lewd one…

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Then there was the moment during the press conference when Merkel did a double take and looked at Trump with a WTF expression on her face…

merkeltrump gif

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Yep, comments followed on Twitter…

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I so would have liked to be a fly on the wall of Merkel’s plane home to Germany and hear what she really thought of it all…

Election relief!

So, we had elections here in The Netherlands two days ago. There were real fears that after Brexit won in the UK and Trump won in the US, the Netherlands would move to the right as well! While the election results are still right leaning, at least the right wing anti-islam party PVV (with the horrible Geert Wilders at the helm) did not win the elections. For a long time PVV and the VVD (also right, but a little less so) were tying for first place in the polls. Thankfully my worst fear didn’t become a reality! Here are the election results (taken from The Economist website), from left-wing parties on the left of this graph to the right-wing parties on the right:

Dutch election results 2017 Economist

This election result shows that the Dutch are not interested in a Nexit (Netherlands exiting the EU) and that, although our country too is moving to the right, the Dutch are cautious about an extreme-right agenda. Can you hear my huge sighs of relief as I type this?

Our current PM is called Mark Rutte, he is also leader of the VVD. The past 5 years the VVD formed a government with PvdA (our Labour party) but they lost very big this election. I too was very disappointed in PvdA performance in this past government, so I totally understand that the left has moved to other parties. Now a new coalition government will need to be formed with a total of 76 seats or more in parliament to form a majority. As the VVD remains the largest party, Mark Rutte will probably become PM again. He vowed during the elections he would not rule with the extreme right PVV and I really really hope he keeps that promise! Although PVV didn’t win as much as hoped, they have still grown since the last election. They are the second largest party now and that remains scary.

Anyway, it looks like it will be Mark Rutte again for PM. He’s been PM since 2010…

portret-rutte

I am not a Rutte fan, I’m so not a VVD fan, but it looks like we’re stuck with both for the next 5 years. I’d rather have a new PM… If the VVD rules together with D66 (good party and ruling with them looks like a real possibility), their party leader Alexander Pechtold could also be a PM candidate…

pechtold578

I really like Pechtold. He’s  a good debater and has been one of the best vocal opposers to the PVV party of Geert Wilders (I refuse to post a picture of Wilders here – look him up on Google if you want to see what he looks like).

If the Green Party becomes part of the coalition, their young leader Jesse Klaver is really good too (also good in opposition to PVV)…

Klaver

… but I don’t think he really is PM material just yet.

The coming weeks will be interesting, finding out how the government will be formed. The parties that want to form the government will now have to negotiate with each other on how they want to rule the country. That can be really tricky because each party will have to give and take to come to such a ruling-agreement… It can take up to a few months before a new government can finally be formed. I so very much hope D66 can do better in government than the Labour party has done… Onwards and upwards they say, right?

MTA: I’m not even looking at the Christian Democrat leader Sybrand Buma for PM, I think I’d rather have Rutte…