Could I be braver?

Could I be better and listen to the narratives I don’t want to hear?

That it isn’t about restoring and protecting nature, biodiversity and environment, but an evil plan to expropriate Dutch farmers; a plan to take their land and build a million houses for those who seek refuge in the Netherlands? 

Why all of a sudden an old Dutch law is pulled out that enables the state to replace its own civilians from their houses in case of emergencies, such as (the threat of) war. Mayors of Dutch municipalities now have the responsibility to give Ukrainian refugees shelter, healthcare, education, living allowance in their towns on the basis of this law that is partly in effect. This means a far-reaching discretion of the authorities. Some lawyers say the government uses this law improperly. The ability to force civilians to take Ukrainian refugees in their houses and have the legal responsibility to take care of them or even to evacuate from their houses to make space, is not yet approved by the parliament. 

Is the Dutch government abusing its power (again)? Should I listen more to these stories I don’t want to know? Try to understand people’s worries better, especially if it’s your own mother? And not make them ridiculous and laugh about it?

The reason why I don’t like to listen, is because these stories distract us from all what matters right now: revitalise our soils, refuse to do any more harm to the oceans, the forests and animals alive, and to prevent the planet will be an unbearable place to live. Stories that don’t tell you to make the world a safer place for all. Stories that don’t tell you to break walls instead of building them. I don’t like such stories.

So, are we going to listen to those that indulge in chaos or to those that want constructive change?

What I miss so much in the discussion around the Dutch farmers’ protest is nuance (the same we lacked in the debate about the pandemic and Covid-vaccinations). It isn’t black or white, as some popular columnists of renown newspapers want us to believe. It isn’t ‘you are either with us or against us’, as you especially see on social media. The real truth why we need a radical change of the (Dutch) industrial agriculture and our food-system remains mostly unspoken, at least I don’t hear much of this reasoning from supporters of the protests. The nuance is totally absent. Especially populists have made an atmosphere around the Dutch farmers’ protests of: you are either with us or against us, fueling the chaos, spreading anti-immigration and anti-climate change propaganda. It’s about so much more.

We live in radical times and lies are easily spread. Here an example that I shared on Instagram last week: 

Closer to the (Dutch) truth is: no soil, no food.

Besides, the Netherlands are the second exporter of agricultural products in the world. Isn’t that globalism? The issue national conservatists as Eva Vlaardingerbroek are strongly opposing to. She says it’s all made up, there is no such thing as an excessive emission of nitrogen, such as ammonia, polluting our environment. The Netherlands is a so called pilot country for the (evil) Great Reset Agenda “you’ll own nothing and be happy” by Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum, that eventually will result in a communist state. Eva Vlaardingenbroek is just one of many who think this (conspiracy) theory is the one and only truth.

I thought this comment I came across captures the Dutch crisis quite well:

However, it’s a necessity to stay open to the stories we don’t want to hear and to fight them with our knowledge and facts. Living with eyes closed and ears covered is a weak strategy. Staying on track with an open heart and mind isn’t.

If we can’t tell each other anymore what we believe, where are we then? Aren’t we stranded in a poor way of life? Living in our own bubbles can feel safe, but is a potential danger. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum. 

I feel for the young ones these days where social media and phones dominate their existence; in times where people compare, exhibit and build personal brands.

I was lucky to be born in the 70’ies. I’ve had many chances, raised by loving and strong parents and never felt the need to compare my life to another. I felt carried by my environment without too many distractions.

Especially in these polarised times, don’t we feel the need to be carried by our circle of friends and family?

Also if that means we have to listen to stories we think are untrue?

Also if that means we have to step out of our comfort-zone filled with our own (narrow) views and believes?

Yes, I think we have to. 

Because it’s hard work to be more courageous. It’s hard work to be more free.

Con Amor,


P.S. If you’d like to support my Dutch articles on Reporters Online, you can do this here.

Thank you!

Photo: Eric Muhr/Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.