Holland? Flowers!

I am loathe to add to the Wilders-hype, created both by him and the Dutch government, but the following video by Thomas Erdbrink is simply too amazing to let slip by AFOE’s international radar.
Thomas Erdbrink is a Dutch journalist and correspondent for NRC Handelsblad and he has a wonderful blog called Onze Man in Teheran or “Our Man in Tehran”. You guessed it, this man is working and living in Iran.

In his latest post Nederlanders in Iran or “Dutch people in Iran” he describes how he was contacted, in the wake of all the Wilders hype, by a Dutch television journalist regarding the safety of Dutch people in Iran. Erdbrink tells the journalist that “No, Dutch people do not have to go into hiding yet” and that “Things are pretty cool tension-wise”. Erdbrink then discovers that the unnamed journalist did not find this interesting enough and decided to show on television some spectacular stories about Dutch people in Pakistan instead. The tv programme apparently does not show anything about Iran. However, they do mention Iran in the same context.

Thomas Erdbrink does not find this “fair and balanced” and subsequently decides to make his own little documentary. He dresses up like a typical Dutch soccer fan, including orange hat, and starts interviewing Iranian people in the streets showing them a photo of Geert Wilders… I do not have the time, nor the technical skills, to subtitle this video in English, but absolutely no-one Erdbrink interviews mentions either Wilders or any zionist plot in The Netherlands against Iran. The people associate Holland with flowers, dope and Van Basten. Also mentioned are Dutch racism and freedom of speech in The Netherlands.

What I love about this video, apart from Erdbrink’s clear and justified statement about the way journalism should be practiced, is that it shows normal people instead of foaming-at-the-mouth politicians or clergy. Watch, for instance, the Iranian skaters. What a familiar sight they are to our Western eyes. I also have to mention that this video is NOT apologetic of the Iranian regime. A good journalist simply needs to show, as best he can, the diverse reality on the ground and not stoop to all the hype-making politicians are known for. Hence the caption Erdbrink added to his video: “This video may be shocking to people watching Dutch current affairs programmes.” And at the end of the video he walks into an Iranian store to buy some pistachio nuts and… Gouda cheese!

Here is the video. And do not worry if you do not understand Dutch. The interviews are conducted mainly in English and I think the images speak for themselves.

Update: Correction. The guy in the video is not Thomas Erdbrink but a friend of his. And it was this friend who was contacted by the television journalist. Erdbrink and this friend then made the vid together. Sorry, my mistake.

3 thoughts on “Holland? Flowers!

  1. Great video!

    I wish someone would do the same thing about Iranians’ views of the USA–although I’m not as confident that all the responses would be as positive, it might go some way to turning the dial down on all the hysteria.

  2. Well. I remember the Internet was full of stuff like that in 1996. Ah, nostalgia.

    Any culture with baseball is grossly disfavored.

    Yes. Yes, I think you may be right.

  3. Pingback: Reflections on European Democracy » Radio Netherlands grabbing chance Danes ignored?

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