5 May 2018
Today it’s Liberation Day in The Netherlands. It’s the day that announced the end of the Nazi German occupation in the Netherlands during WWII. Liberation day is the day after Remembrance Day, when the Dutch remember the victims of wartime violence.
Although I have never experienced a life in war and violence, somehow these days always have had a special feeling and above all they were sunny! I remember when I was younger we used to turn on the television the 4th of May and together with my family we watched the ceremony that takes place each year near the National Monument in the capital city of Amsterdam. Ministers and members of the royal family were solemny laying down garlands of flowers near the monument at the Dam. Speeches were held. People gathered together in this beautiful, free city, that once had been a place of danger and betrayal.
Years ago I was one of the people standing near the monument. I listened to a young girl who recited a poem. When this city and country had been occupied by Nazi Germany her parents weren’t even born. The girl had learned from stories, from books, from teachers what happened in her country many decades ago. She could only imagine. At a certain point her imagination would stop as the desperation and terror people experienced many years ago reach far beyond her belief (and mine).
Today is the day of Liberation. Most of us don’t know what it means to live in an unfree country. A free country with free people, it’s a hell of a privilege. Most of us don’t know to live in a constant fear because we are “different”. Most of us don’t realize what it means to live in chaos and injustice. Most of us don’t have a single idea what true evil is, how malicious we can become when we have the power and see “the other” as inferior, the cause of our misery. “Never again”, are the words we hear. Never. Again.
We dance. We drink. We laugh. We live.
We are peacefully laying down our heads to sleep tonight.
“Never again” a whispering voice says.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash