AHMED ABOUTALEB NEEDS A HOUSE
Apparently burgomaster Ahmed Aboutaleb of Rotterdam is legally required to live in the city of which he is the mayor. The law allows him a year's grace in which to find a suitable dwelling for himself and family - he has twelve months in which to achieve the impossible.
[Note: Burgomasters in the Netherlands are appointed by the government, not elected. This detail is only slightly germane to the rest of this post. I made mention of mr. Aboutaleb's appointment here:
Mr. Aboutaleb becomes Rotterdam's mayor on the fifth of January.]
This blog wishes him the best of luck finding housing in that town. Rotterdam is, to this blogger, the very arm-pit of Europe, and should count itself exceptionally favoured by his appointment. He is an intelligent, ethical, and very capable man, and one sympathizes with his quandary.
I myself would not wish to live in that place, and long ago resolved to avoid it like the plague.
[See this post:
In this short piece I dump as much bile over Rotterdam as her natives do over everyone and everything else. They deserve it.]
Predictably, several persons writing in Dutch (and by so doing bringing disgrace to the noble language of Vondel and Brederode) have suggested precisely what Ahmed Aboutaleb should do, and where he should go. They were inspired to do so because mr. Aboutaleb is a Dutchman of Moroccan extraction - and the Netherlands is not nearly as tolerant as it would pretend to be.
[For an illustration of "not nearly as tolerant as it pretends" see this post:
One example is given, several more are available. The list, alas, grows larger with each passing day. ]
I will not reproduce their appalling texts, but will merely state that if, one hundred years from now, people still read Dutch, they will not be rereading those angry comments, but will more likely be reading the prose of Abdulkader Benali, another talented Dutchman of Moroccan extraction - and one of the best Dutch writers of this generation.
Our literature would be poorer without him, just as Dutch society would be impoverished without the many talented Moroccans who call the Netherlands their home.
Her immigrants do her credit, her natives..... sometimes not.