Crime still pays for many Dutch fugitives
9 hours ago
HerfstHet is een land van grijsaards na de zomer,
© 1936, Vita Brevis Foundation From: Verzamelde gedichten Publisher: Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1993
AutumnAfter the summer it is an old men’s land,
© Translation: 2006, Marian de Vooght & Green Integer From: The Bottle at Sea: Complete poems and Journal Fragments Publisher: Green Integer, Los Angeles, 2006 ISBN: 1892295385From the POETRY INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE
Generally, Gilliams’ mode is simple — even when grand and archaic, precise, and solemn. The early poems in particular are influenced by Expressionist painting in their colourful images that project a feeling of being torn between vitality and nostalgia. Many of Gilliams’ poems are determined by what was lost, was never had, or came too late: youth, parents, love, a child, a dream of perfection. The background often recalls the Flemish countryside which in the poet’s imagination becomes a barren wasteland, a site of melancholy and desertedness. In other poems, the urban environment of Antwerp is present as a location of death and decay. The later poems highlight the theme of fruitlessness — in life and in poetry. Yet there is an existentialist kind of acceptance, a toughness when facing an inescapable fate.
Today it is a strange and somber ghost town, except for small beehives of activity where construction crews — actually deconstruction crews — are working to tear down and clear out mobile homes whose owners have decided they’re never coming back.
Once 80 families lived here. Now, along the U-shaped drive that they called home, blue and ochre and yellow mobile homes sit vacant, still displaying the gaily striped awnings or porches, American flags and flower boxes that marked stability and a sense of place. Amidst a sea of very green grass and soft mud, some homes have windows knocked out or tilted slightly askew, others appear hardly untouched, only the wrinkled siding or a dim mud line part way up the walls hinting at the fetid devastation that awaits inside.Not surprising. Mobile home parks are usually not in the most "desirable" neighborhoods; people choose the location because it's affordable. This type of devastation is common whereever hurricanes land - flood zones in Florida, Lousiana, Texas, the Carolinas; where the rivers rise in the spring and summer (e.g. Mississippi); and also in the tornado alleys in the south and midwest.
"I never thought they would kill us because we were just ordinary people," says Saih. "I only realised [what they were going to do] when they began the countdown... Een, twee, drie." Three soldiers started shooting the men in the back.On 9 December 1947, Dutch troops attacked the village of Rawagede and, according to the villagers, killed all the men - 431 in total. A 1969 investigation by the Dutch government into war crimes in Indonesia says 150 were killed in Rawagede. A suit was brought before the Dutch by survivors of the massacre, asking for compensation. In 2009, the Dutch attorney general rejected that civil claim put forward in September, 2008 because the case was too old.
Seven widows, one daughter and a survivor of the massacre of hundreds of men from the village of Rawagede have taken the Dutch state to court, calling for compensation and official recognition of the actions of Dutch soldiers. The claim was rejected by the attorney general in 2008 because it was too old. But The Hague court said the state cannot use that as a defence because the case is about people who were direct victims of Dutch army war crimes. [...] The Netherlands has never paid compensation to the victims' families or officially apologised for the killings.