Thursday, April 24, 2008

You really must be a Dutch...(+peeping toms)

...Minister of Integration to come with this idea.
There are 16.2 million people living in the Netherlands. Around 1 million of them are Muslims. And of these 1 million Muslims there are probably 100 (up to 150 maybe) women who are wearing the burqa (FYI: in Holland women and men can wear what they want, only the burqa is not allowed at school, university etc.)
And since these appr. 150 women gives the Dutch government a headache, they decided to study these group of women and why they are wearing the burqa. In good Dutch this implicates: creating several ad hoc groups, several study groups, hundreds of reports, endless meetings, conducting several surveys and with some luck by 2010 they will present a fantastic end report. And some 100 people will work on it, which costs millions of euros. Yes, the Dutch like to research everything. And consensus is a holy word.
For me is this typical Dutch nonsense, and not my style. But I am not a typical Dutch as you understand. I also refuse to shake hands with women who wearing the burqa. I must be able to see their faces, as they can see mine! And I don't like voyeurs, as these women act like peeping toms..)
Note: picture above is of a Muslima while demonstrating against the possibility that the Dutch government would prohibit the burqa in public places, December 2006.

The Bridge of Sighs in Venice, a remarkable day.

Bridge Of Sighs: The world’s most poetically-named bridge, Il Ponte dei Sospiri, the Bridge of Sighs, was built in 1614 so that prisoners of the Venetian state could be transferred in secret from the Doge’s Palace to the so-called Nuovi Prigioni, or New Prisons.

The wistful name was actually conceived by the English poet Lord Byron in the early 1800s that imagined the horror of prisoners taking their last glimpse of Venice before going underground to captivity.
Although Venice in the 1600s was a famously permissive society, it was overseen by shadowy oligarchy through their omnipresent secret police that sniffed out any hint of political treachery against the all-powerful Republic.
The slightest suspicion could lead to a midnight arrest and secret trial; prisoners would be tortured and convicted without being told the charge or the length of their sentence.
The cells for new prisoners were located around the torture room so they could hear the victims’ screams, designed to wear them down psychologically in advance.

Today, this new Prison is part of the standard tour of the Doge’s Palace. One can follow the route of the prisoners across the covered bridge, which was divided for two-way traffic, and peer through the grille to the sparkling Lagoon as gondolas pass underneath. Visitors should also keep an eye out for the more recent graffiti – the cells were still in use for political prisoners in the 1930s for victims of Mussolini’s fascist regime.

It was summer 1966 when I visited for the first time Venice. I was a little child by then, but my parents thought that Venice and ice cream could make me like someone who obey them for the rest of their lives..)
Last time that I visited Venice was in June 2001. Long time ago.

Day opening - April 24

California Dreaming by Zhaoming Wu