I used to believe that love was the greatest thing in the world.
I used to believe that I must therefore keep fighting against myself.
I used to believe in happy endings.
I wonder what happened to that guy. Somehow, somewhere along the way I lost him. I think he is still in me somewhere, buried deep inside, because sometimes when I strain myself I think I can hear him whispering at me. Whispering at me to keep fighting, to never give up. But it is a faint whisper, barely audible at all. Sometimes I try to remember what he said to me and I repeat those words to myself in my mind, trying to convince myself again in their meaning. But there is no real conviction. It is a lie, a façade, but I cannot fool myself. I can pretend however I want, but I do not believe in their meaning anymore.
But what do I believe then? Well, I would answer, I believe I am incapable of love. There, I have finally said it. It is out in the open at last. There can be no more denying it, no more obscuring the truth, no more pretending that everything is fine and dandy. I might have hinted at this before, I cannot truly recall, but this is the first time I have said this outright without sugarcoating it. This is what I truly believe. I believe the ability to love someone and to make someone feel loved and special, the capacity to show affection like a normal human being completely eludes me. Oh yes, I have made several attempts before, but asking me to do these things is like asking someone of my athleticism to throw down a 360 tomahawk dunk. The results would be exactly the same. Any attempts in both cases would be feeble and pitiful, destined for complete failure at the very outset. In such cases, perhaps it is better not to even try at all. Continue reading
Anders Breivik, the person responsible for the tragedies in Oslo and Utoya has proclaimed himself to be inspired by Geert Wilders and the PVV. And right on cue a lot of people from the left-wing have embraced this opportunity to attack and condemn Wilders. They hold him responsible for the deeds of Breivik. You could almost feel the collective sigh of relief they are breathing that for once the terrorist is not coming from the Islamic corner. They finally feel justified and vindicated in their opinions. See? You could almost hear them say in a smug and triumphant tone. See the hatred that Wilders breeds with his rhetoric and ideology? We were right all along! But this is nonsense, pure and simple. It is primitive and sickening. Geert Wilders is not responsible for Anders Breivik’s deeds. Anders Breivik is responsible for Anders Breivik’s deeds.
Look, I’m a left-winger myself, even though I don’t really care that much about politics. I vote for Groenlinks or the SP. I believe in multi-culturalism because I believe the world as a whole is a better, richer and more tolerant place precisely because of it. I believe the world would become an even more dangerous place if every one of us just isolates ourselves from other people and cultures. So when I say that Wilders is not responsible, I am not in any way attempting to justify his views.
The events of the past few days should have been an eye-opener for the whole world. Extremism has no place in this world, whether it comes from the left or the right, from the top or bottom down and from any other way we may view it. The intentions and consequences in any case are just as horrific and reprehensible. What should have brought us closer together has instead drifted us further apart. The left wing blames the right wing for what happened, and the right wing sees this as proof that the left wing only acts out of self-interest and self-preservation. And of course, they won’t hesitate to remind the rest of us that Breivik was also an admirer of Al-Qaeda’s methods…
So go ahead and criticize and protest against Wilder’s viewpoints if you want. It is our duty as democratic citizens to stand up for our own beliefs after all. But please, do not demonize or stigmatize the man. What we should have learnt by now is that stigmatization merely breeds more stigmatization with more hatred and anger being the inevitable result. We who are so ready to criticize Wilders because of his tendency for labeling entire cultural and religious groups with a single tag should not fall into the same trap, but should instead keep striving for open discussion with mutual respect, and not the mud-slinging we have become so used to in the previous years.
For further reading (in Dutch), here are some articles which in my opinion were better able to convey what I want to say that I were able to myself:
Hip hip hooray and congratulations to myself as today marks my fifth anniversary in my career in the extremely exciting and electric field of Business Intelligence! Well, not that I actually called it Business Intelligence back when I started. In all my inexperience and ignorance it was a term I hardly knew even existed in the first place, and so I used the much more modest and easy to understand moniker of Reporting Analyst instead. But whatever I called myself back then, 5 years ago I took my first baby steps on my career path, which has led me to where I am today, professionally speaking.
How much has changed in the last 5 years. You see, back then I was seriously worried that I would never be able to acquire a decent job. I never finished my thesis and thus did not possess an university diploma and I was already working in the Vodafone Back Office as a temp for 18 months. I even got fired once due to budgetary reasons. After that I had to go through many, many rejections, and for someone who is already plagued by feelings of insecurity and inadequacy it could have killed my hopes for a decent career before it even properly started. I think it was even becoming a vicious circle. Because of my insecurity I think I didn’t make the best impression of myself, and then when I got rejected I only became more insecure. I wasn’t able to get over the hump initially. Continue reading
Filed under Musings, Work
Stephen Fry was in Amsterdam yesterday evening to present his new memoir The Fry Chronicles and I had the pleasure and the honour to be in the venerable presence of this great and charming man (thanks to Sueli who managed to get me a ticket for me). He does love to talk on and on, particularly about Oscar Wilde, not to mention the fact that he’s rather restless or gets sidetracked quite easily (although he does always eventually return to his original point after a huge detour). These are but minor criticisms however, and let’s face it, aren’t these the very mannerisms which define him as he is? It is this along with his intellectual playfulness which has gained him so much popularity in the first place. So yes, all in all it had been an inspiring and highly enjoyable evening.
One of the things that struck me about Fry was how he carried his innate insecurity around with graceful dignity, refusing to let his insecurity impede him in his progress as an intellectual creature. He uses the word curiosity plenty and often. To be curious about the world surrounding us, to have this urge to learn, to know, to understand is a trait he seems to hold in very high regard, perhaps more so than any other. During the presentation he wondered aloud that if his homosexuality hadn’t caused him to feel so alone and isolated in his youth, if he would have developed the same passion for art and literature as he has now, or that he would become complacent. I wonder the same thing regarding his uncertainty, which for a part is probably very much linked to his homosexuality. Would he have had the same insatiable hunger for knowledge, the same desire to constantly improve himself otherwise? I have my doubts.