May 4th is Remembrance Day in The Netherlands – a day to reflect on the countless Dutch lives lost during World War 2 and in armed conflicts and wars since then. This year, however, the ceremony in Amsterdam will be flanked by a second remembrance gathering, focused on the lives lost by refugees (and other migrants posing as refugees) trying to reach Europe.
One Rikko Voorberg is the one who came up with hijacking the national remembrance ceremonies for his own political gain, stating that his intention is to force people to reflect on the casualties, “caused by us, whether we intended it or not”. And of course that it is not his intention to hijack Remembrance Day.
But he is still hijacking and politicizing Remembrance Day, picking a moment in which the entire country should come together honoring the dead who suffered through the darkest days in recent history – and turning that into a chastising of people should they dare to still consider that we should be closing our borders. It is cheap emotional blackmail over the backs of heroes and innocent victims, meant to promote a controversial cause that ran out of arguments before it even started and that has had nothing but emotional blackmail to begin with. But this is a new low, and it does not help in uniting the country and paying the respect our dead ancestors deserve.
The organizing committee of the official Remembrance Day ceremony, which also covers the festive Liberation Day on May 5th has seen another setback this year when one of the artists invited to perform on the Liberation Day festivals was caught on video joining in antisemitic chants. Although the committee has dropped the artist, some of the festivals under their care have not.
Update: after a lot of societal pushback the public refugee remembrance has been canceled, and moved to a protestant church where it was attended by a several dozen people.