March 9th, 2007 - The row continues
In tonight’s Nova, the flagship of Dutch current affairs, the dual nationality row continued. As always, I’m dumbfounded by the shortsightedness and ill-thought through statements of the guests on these programmes. It wouldn’t be so bad, could produce some lively debate even, if anyone else got a word in but the audience on these talk shows pretty much serves as an applause machine. Tonight’s clanger, for me, was Ms. Heleen Dupuis, soon to be Conservative senator in the Upper House. ‘It’s alright for citizens from within the EU to have two passports’ she stated ‘but not if you come from outside the territory’. Thinking through this point of view, you can only find it untenable. Suppose this became law, Americans, Australians, Swiss, South-Africans and Latins could not have dual nationality in The Netherlands whereas Poles, Bulgarians and Rumenians could. But Turks and Moroccans definitely could not. Translated from current Dutch thinking, Ms. Dupuis can only have meant ‘it’s ok if you’re a Christian but if you’re a Moslem, you have to renounce all that you were and become 100% Dutch to allay our suspicions ’. If anyone has a different translation, please feel free to add it to the debate.
It seems to me that there is an essential failure to understand what it means to live outside of not only your own culture but also of your familiar belief system. Your roots, your world view, your very identity are determined by your background. Moving to a different country where all is strange and unknown, you hang on to your innate values for dear life, at least until you’ve found your feet and can begin to accept that there may be another way of doing things, for better or worse. I have come across Dutch colonies in Brazil, Nicaragua, the US, the Dominican Republic and not a single one of its members would have any other lunch than cheese sandwiches. Very few have fully mastered the language of their new homeland. Without a doubt, very few would give up their Dutch nationality – just in case. That little book represents who you are as well and to give it up would be tantamount to giving up your parents. Or would it? Please comment.