May 14, 2002:
Death and Victory
I arrived in
Rotterdam on a cloudy, rainy Sunday, after some mistakes during my brief
passing through Amsterdam - it was much colder than I expected.
I thought I would catch a plane from Amsterdam to my final
destination: Rotterdam. What a surprise when I found out that actually I
had a train ticket!
So… there we go with 30 kilos of baggage to catch the train. But
I cannot complain after all... during 45 minutes of my trip, I could see
the landscape, the charming mills on the edge of the road, as well as the
small cities with their strange and enormous names, as well as the other
passengers of the train, going and coming, each one with a different
arrived safely for an unforgettable first week. During the coming days, I
discovered a hospitable and very calm city that reveals itself slowly.
Without many people in the streets, but with lots of bars and cafes,
restaurants from different places in the world, and an atmosphere that
only Europe has. Rotterdam is a city with a unique architecture, plenty of
museums, and with the biggest port of the world!
was an abnormal week for the Netherlands. On Monday, May 6th, the Dutch
people had been in the streets to mourn the assassination of an important
On Wednesday, May 8th, they were in the streets again, this time to
celebrate the victory of Rotterdam’s team that won the European Football
championship. The streets were full of people celebrating, singing, and
holding flags of the Netherlands. A rare scene to be seen in Rotterdam.
The night was long for them.
Without any doubt, an exciting week.
Murder of Pym Fortuyn
Netherlands saw something incredible this week:
the murder of an important politician.
For those that don’t usually read the international news, one
brief explanation: right-wing
assumed important positions in Europe. This happened in Austria and more
recently in France, with Le Pen victory for the second turn in
was part of this wave of right-wing politicians that are against immigration
and don’t believe in European Union.
Disliked by many, he had been
with pies in the face.
was assassinated with six shots on Monday, 06 of May, in the surroundings of
Amsterdam. He was leaving a radio station after an interview.
During all the week, there were people in the streets to manifest
their feelings and to claim
Despite his political position,
Pym was remembered with affection
by Dutch people.
In front of the city hall of Rotterdam, there
were flags with
messages and many flowers.
Every day there’s people visiting the place.
was killed fifteen days before the election in which he would run for
Despite being right wing, Pym publicy assumed to be gay
and supported many of the liberal laws of Holland, as the marriage of
gays, euthanasia and the legality of light drugs.
His death brougth
a hard blow for
is possible that
begin to be seen as a martyr. The
adjournment of Dutch elections, that
to take place
May 15th, was
but the idea was
quotations of European politics:
Karl Schweitzer, Austria's extreme-right Freedom Party's:
is madness… It always starts with verbal violence, and in that respect
some serious disarmament will be needed at some point."
Blair, first-minister of England:
"We share the real sense of shock there will be in the Netherlands"
Ad Melkert, new leader of the ruling Labour Party and its candidate for Prime Minister:
are things you thought were just not possible in the Netherlands. It's a
low-point for our democracy."
Solana, The EU's foreign policy chief head
may disagree with the ideas but democracy is true to freedom of expression
and ... everybody has the right to express ideas,"