It’s a little bit hard to find an adequate way to celebrate ANZAC Day when you’re not in Australia, New Zealand, or Turkey. So I decided I’d aim as close as I could without a BBQ, pub or two-up in close vicinity, and aimed for the Verzetsmuseum – Resistance Museum of Amsterdam. Wrong war, I know.
Some of the photos below may be distressing to some viewers.
It was eye opening, and harrowing. I kept remembering the poem;
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
No one was left to speak for me. That’s what happened in the Netherlands. It happened so incrementally, that no one fought. And that’s how bad people take control. People don’t fight while they still can. The they realise it’s too late and they are afraid of what will happen to them.
It’s interesting to note that the Dutch society and psyche is still very tolerant, very much “I’ll let you do what you want, but don’t stop me doing what I want.”
So many lessons that should be learnt, and that could be transposed to today. The grips of economic crisis. The discrepancies between rich and poor. Trust that things will sort themselves out. The different political “pillars” who don’t work together … Sound familiar?
I feel very deeply that though this museum is confronting and emotionally wrenching, that all people, and all children should come and see it, and experience it, and learn from history.
For those that don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.