Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Zwarte Piet mag niet!

Today is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. Traditionally, this Santa Claus type guy sails up in a steamboat with his black companion Zwarte Piet and they dole out gifts and joy to the people in the low countries. Everyone eats pepernoten, a kind of ball-shaped spice biscuit, speculaas, and they give each other chocolate letters (of the alphabet, not the kind you write) and I think there's even special alcohol you drink.

This little festival, which is not religious, is coming under attack now, and I gather it's got to do with Zwarte Piet. It seems he's not welcome in the Netherlands any more. People are going to great lengths to sail the ship through rainbows so that he comes out any colour of the rainbow except black.

The PC-types seem to think his presence is insulting to black people and that he is a symbol of slavery and oppression. Hmmm. I never got the impression that we was being forced to come against his will, and that he'd rather hang around Morocco which I gather is his country of origin. Nor does he seem to be in servitude to Sinterklaas. Everything I've seen has him boogying, giving out gifts and having a good time. I can't see how this would be insulting to black people, but then I'm not black. Perhaps they prefer the standard stereotyping?

No, I think the real reason is the current popular upsurge against illegal immigration into Europe. People from Africa are going through nightmarish journeys to get to Morocco so they can then scale the fence that separates it from some Spanish enclave. Once this is successfully done, they have all the rights that people in Europe get and must be given free money, clothes, accommodation and all of that while they apply for asylum or just fade into the woodwork and take up criminal activities because they can't get any real work.

The authorities are probably terribly worried that Zwarte Piet will decide not to return with Sinterklaas when the festival is over but will remain in the Netherlands and start drawing social security and demanding support.

Whatever it is, perhaps Rita Verdonck should step in and just deport the guy. And also make sure he doesn't get a visa next year. That should keep everyone happy. Except possibly Zwarte Piet. And the kids. But in this gloriously PC world of ours, they hardly qualify for a say.