Sunday, July 25, 2010

Koos Meinderts - Als ik lees

Als ik lees Dan ben ik Jan en Alleman En ook zijn zusje, Krijg ik slaag Van Dronken Vader En links en rechts een kusje. Als ik lees Dan ben ik mens en dier En iets ertussenin, Ben ik kikker, ben ik prins En ben ik Kleine Zeemeermin. Als ik lees Dan ben ik ja en nee En ben ik amen, Ben ik met de hele wereld samen Helemaal alleen. ( uit Harry Jekkers & Koos Meinderts , Leve het nijlpaard!, Uitgeverij De Harmonie, 2001 )

Friday, July 23, 2010

Plus ça change, …

While making a backup of all the postings on this weblog, I came across this posting, written towards the end of the first month of this blog's existence, more than seven years ago. It is frustrating, almost depressing, to see how little has changed ( for the better, that is ) since then. Shabbat shalom.

Monday, July 12, 2010

After all, the octopus was right

Doesn't the fact that I honestly did not know that the song that I posted here earlier is an Israeli parody of an English original, prove that as much as I have written about the soccer world championship lately - it was impossible to ignore it, I am afraid - I don't know anything about that sport?
We just returned from Haifa, where my son and a friend of ours watched the game in a pub-restaurant with several other Dutch and Israeli fans of the Orange team. After the national anthems - my favorite part of each game, especially when two teams with such beautiful anthems as the Dutch and the Spanish face each other - I went several hundred meters down the street, to sit in a pizzeria where there wasn't any t.v. screen. I had pizza and a coke, and finished quite a good booklet in Dutch. Towards the end of the regular time I went back to the restaurant, where I watched the last part of the game, including the winning goal. Our son was almost crying, but when I surprised him by telling that next month we will go to Holland for a week - only today my wife and I arranged the tickets, a bed & breakfast, and a rental car - he forgot about Holland's loss, and smiled from ear to ear. Apparently it is better to have lost and to travel, than not to travel at all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why Israel is not in South Africa

My children showed me this funny Israeli animation. An Israeli football fan tells us why Israel is not at the World Cup - Everybody hates the Jews - but some of the game's biggest stars explain that it is because - very simple - Israeli football isn't good enough. I'm on my way to watch the game, together with our son and a good friend. I'm taking a book with me, just in case (if I can get away).

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Yesterday our seven-year-old son and I once again went to a cafe-restaurant in Haifa, to watch the Dutch football team play another game in the World Cup. A friend of hours, who loves football even more than my son, was supposed to come with us. I counted on her coming, because I did not feel like watching the whole game, I wanted to go out, sit in a cafe nearby, and read a bit. Alas, she could not make it, and I was forced to watch the whole game. I didn't exactly suffer, but I do not have the patience and the nerves for this ( even though I don't really care, I obviously want Holland to win, especially because I see how important it is for my son, each win really makes him happy and proud ). Before, during, and after the game, Israeli television broadcast also from Paradiso, the Tel Aviv pub where a large group of Dutchmen and -women, together with Israeli fans and would-be fans of the Dutch team, watches every game of the Dutch team. We were there three weeks ago, during the Holland - Denmark match. Yesterday I saw Michiel den Hond standing near the IBA reporter. I really felt sorry for the Dutch ambassador. He did not seem to feel very comfortable and happy. Whether that was because he likes football and crowds as much as I do, because he was about the only one who was wearing a suit, or because he was standing right next to Israel's deputy minister of foreign affairs, Danny Ayalon ( a member of the extreme rightwing Israel Our Home party, and in my personal opinion one of the very reasons for Israel's poor international standing ), I don't know.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Don't mention the war

If you follow this blog you know that I am very much in favor of remembrance and not exactly a forgive-and-forget kind of guy. But I find it really hard to believe, understand or sympathize with some of the remarks in this article. Especially the following phrase puzzles and angers me: "We did not go through what we went through for this, to have people in this country supporting the Germans like nothing happened." Does this man really believe that there is a direct link between the current German soccer squad and what the Germans and many, many other Europeans did to us 65-77 years ago? That these sportsmen are in any way to blame or responsible for the Holocaust? He clearly believes that there must have been a purpose to the suffering of the Jews in those terrible years, suggesting that there was a reason why Jews "went through what they went through". Any puspose but 'this': to have Jews, Israelis, supporting German soccer players, whose parents were probably not born yet when Nazi Germany was defeated. and many of whom were not even born in Germany. Personally I don't believe that the Shoah had any conceivable purpose (for the Jews, that is), or that lessons can or should be learnt from the Holocaust. That is, apart from some very basic conclusions ( like: man's abilities and willingness to do evil (or, in less cases, good ) are virtually unlimited; thou shalt not over-generalize or over-simplify, or blame someone for something that he/she did not do ). By the way, if the crimes and guilt of previous generations is a reason not to support this or that sports(wo)man or team, I don't see any reason why Israelis/Jews should support the Spanish team, as Mr Wolf proposes.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Play ball

Could it be that the referees who participate in the FIFA World Cup 2010 had an instructive session with John Cleese before the tournament started? Every now and then their decisions seem to be confused and confusing. Let's hope they will be in good shape this Tuesday, when the Dutch team is playing Uruguay, in the first semi-final. I watched the game against Brasil yesterday with our two eldest children, a good friend of ours, and a group of Dutchmen and -women, in a restaurant in Haifa. I must say that the excitement was addictive, in the last ten minutes even I was seriously following what was going on on the field, really hoping that the Dutch squad would hold on to the 2-1 advantage. If only because if Brasil had scored one more goal, the game would have lasted for at least thirty more minutes. I understood from those who know more about football than I do ( which includes our 7-year-old son, and probably also his 3-year-old brother ) that the Dutch played pretty well. The only thing that I was able to figure out on my own was that the Brasilian players and their coach were not very good sports.