Lammert de Jong ~ Barrières van de Nederlandse nationaliteit

Eerder gepubliceerd in: Constitutioneel balanceren tussen Europa en nationale identiteit. Liber Amicorum voor Willem Pedroli. Symposium op 14 februari 2017, Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties.

Graag buig ik mij kritisch over de stelling, zoals verwoord in de uitnodiging voor het vriendenboek Willem Pedroli [1]: De grondwet zorgt ervoor dat de waarden die gekoppeld zijn aan de nationale identiteit beschermd worden. Wat zijn ‘de waarden van de nationale identiteit’ wanneer ‘de nationale identiteit per definitie meervoudig is, per moment en door de tijd heen (WRR 2007)?’[2] Inderdaad, de nationale identiteit heeft geen vaste inhoud; menigeen heeft daaromtrent een eigen opvatting en gedraagt zich daarnaar; vandaag zó en wellicht morgen anders. Dat geldt ook voor de sterk uiteenlopende impact van ‘Europa’ op de nationale identiteit, de een verlangt ‘meer,’ een ander wil een ‘exit.’ In de uitnodiging wordt de Grondwet gezien als beschermer van waarden die gekoppeld zijn aan de nationale identiteit. Mag dit zo worden opgevat dat de Grondwet een strong box is van welomschreven rechten en vrijheden van Nederlandse burgers, dus van de nationaliteit? Het begrip nationale identiteit is niet eenduidig te vatten. Haalt het daarmee de vaste grond onder de Nederlandse nationaliteit, de grondwettelijke zekerheden, overhoop? Het hedendaagse populisme daagt uit deze grondwettelijke zekerheden met woord en daad te borgen, met andere woorden, gestand te doen, ongeacht de culturele zingeving die en vogue opgeld doet voor de hedendaagse ‘nationale identiteit,’ welke dan ook!

Nationaliteit en nationale identiteit
Het onderscheid tussen de Nederlandse nationaliteit (citizenship) en nationale identiteit wordt gecompliceerd door het begrip ‘burgerschap.’ Daarin wordt zowel de Nederlandse nationaliteit in juridische termen gevat, maar óók wat het betekent een Nederlandse burger te zijn, een duiding van de Nederlandschen volksaard. Daaronder wordt van allerlei begrepen, zoals belangstelling voor de publieke zaak, zorg voor de ander, politieke participatie, maatschappelijke verantwoordelijkheid. Wat betreft het Europese burgerschap gaat het met name om rechten, dus om ‘burgerschap’ in een juridisch formaat. Het Europese volk, oftewel de Europese Demos, wordt tegenwoordig vooral als een problematisch fenomeen gezien, met name vanwege nationale identificaties die ‘minder’ Europa willen, of lidstaten die de grenzen voor moslimvluchtelingen sluiten. Huizinga benoemt in zijn Nederland’s Geestesmerk in wel gedragen taal de Nederlandschen volksaard. Het is verhelderend dit nog eens na te lezen. Hier kan ik niet nalaten Huizinga’s bevrijdende multiculturalisme te belichten: Wij kunnen het vreemde niet weren, en wij willen het niet weren [… ] De internationale penetratie der volkeren gaat, ondanks de ijlende koortsen die het lichaam der wereld schokken, haar gang. Laat haar op dezen onzen bodem vrij doorwerken, en houdt Uw Nederlandsche hoofd koel (Huizinga, 17, 1935).Dit was in mei 1935!

Drie jaar later wordt in de Memorie van Antwoord bij de Nederlandse Rijksbegroting 1938 gesteld: Vermeden moet worden alles wat de strekking heeft duurzame vestiging in ons reeds zo dicht bevolkt land te bevorderen, daar een verder binnendringen van vreemde elementen schadelijk zou zijn voor de handhaving van het karakter van den Nederlandschen stam. De Regeering is van oordeel dat in beginsel ons beperkt territoir voor de eigen bevolking moet blijven gereserveerd.[3] Kort daarna werd de Nederlandse grens voor Joodse vluchtelingen uit Duitsland gesloten.

Lees verder: http://ikkiseiland.com/barrieres-van-de-nederlandse-nationaliteit/

 

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Imaging Africa: Gorillas, Actors And Characters

Africa is defined in the popular imagination by images of wild animals, savage dancing, witchcraft, the Noble Savage, and the Great White Hunter. These images typify the majority of Western and even some South African film fare on Africa.
Although there was much negative representation in these films I will discuss how films set in Africa provided opportunities for black American actors to redefine the way that Africans are imaged in international cinema. I conclude this essay with a discussion of the process of revitalisation of South African cinema after apartheid.

The study of post-apartheid cinema requires a revisionist history that brings us back to pre-apartheid periods, as argued by Isabel Balseiro and Ntongela Masilela (2003) in their book’s title, To Change Reels. The reel that needs changing is the one that most of us were using until Masilela’s New African Movement interventions (2000a/b;2003). This historical recovery has nothing to do with Afrocentricism, essentialism or African nationalisms. Rather, it involved the identification of neglected areas of analysis of how blacks themselves engaged, used and subverted film culture as South Africa lurched towards modernity at the turn of the century. Names already familiar to scholars in early South African history not surprisingly recur in this recovery, Solomon T. Plaatje being the most notable.

It is incorrect that ‘modernity denies history, as the contrast with the past – a constantly changing entity – remains a necessary point of reference’ (Outhwaite 2003: 404). Similarly, Masilela’s (2002b: 232) notion that ‘consciousness of precedent has become very nearly the condition and definition of major artistic works’ calls for a reflection on past intellectual movements in South Africa for a democratic modernity after apartheid. He draws on Thelma Gutsche’s (1972) assumption that film practice is one of the quintessential forms of modernity. However, there could be no such thing as a South African cinema under the modernist conditions of apartheid. This is where modernity’s constant pull towards the future comes into play (Outhwaite 2003). Simultaneous with the necessary break from white domination in film production, or a pull towards the future away from the conditions of apartheid, South Africans will need to re-acquire the ‘consciousness of precedent’, of the intellectual and cultural heritage of the New African Movement, such as is done in Come See the Bioscope (1997) which images Plaatjes’s mobile distribution initiative in the teens of the century. The Movement’s intellectual and cultural accomplishments in establishing a national culture in the context of modernity is a necessary point of reference for the African Renaissance to establish a national cinema in the context of the New South Africa (Masilela 2000b). Following Masilela (ibid.: 235), debates and practices that are of relevance within the New African Movement include:
1. the different structures of portrayal of Shaka in history by Thomas Mofolo and Mazisi Kunene across generic forms and in the context of nationalism and modernity;
2. the discussion and dialogue between Solomon T. Plaatje, H.I.E. Dhlomo, R.V. Selope Thema, H. Selby Msimang and Lewis Nkosi about the construction of the idea of the New African, concerning national identity and cultural identity;
3. the lessons facilitated by Charlotte Manye Maxeke and James Kwegyir Aggrey in making possible the connection between the New Negro modernity and New African modernity;
4. the discourse on the relationship between Marxism and modernity within the context of the Trotskyism of Ben Kies and I.B. Tabata and the Stalinism of Michael Harmel, Albert Nzula and Yusuf Mohammed Dadoo; and
5. the feminist political practices of Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Phyllis Ntanatala and others.
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Hannah Arendt’s Theory of Totalitarianism – Part One

Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt – Ills. Ingrid Bouws

Hannah Arendt wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1949, by which time the world had been confronted with evidence of the Nazi apparatus of terror and destruction. The revelations of the atrocities were met with a high degree of incredulous probing despite a considerable body of evidence and a vast caché of recorded images. The individual capacity for comprehension was overwhelmed, and the nature and extent of these programmes added to the surreal nature of the revelations. In the case of the dedicated death camps of the so-called Aktion Reinhard, comparatively sparse documentation and very low survival rates obscured their significance in the immediate post-war years. The remaining death camps, Majdanek and Auschwitz, were both captured virtually intact. They were thus widely reported, whereas public knowledge of Auschwitz was already widespread in Germany and the Allied countries during the war.[i] In the case of Auschwitz, the evidence was lodged in still largely intact and meticulous archives. Nonetheless it had the effect of throwing into relief the machinery of destruction rather than its anonymous victims, for the extermination system had not only eliminated human biological life but had also systematically expunged cumulative life histories and any trace of prior existence whatsoever, ending with the destruction of almost all traces of the dedicated extermination camps themselves, just prior to the Soviet invasion.

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Tiny Bouts Of Contentment. Rare Film Footage Of Graham Greene In The Belgian Congo, March 1959

Graham Greene in the Belgian Congo

Graham Greene in the Belgian Congo

My purpose in this contribution is to present and contextualize the only film footage ever recorded of the novelist Graham Greene (1904-1991) in the Belgian Congo in 1959. The footage was filmed with an 8mm camera, which did not record sound. It belongs to Mrs. Édith Lechat (née Dasnoy;1932-) and her husband, the leprosy specialist Doctor (later Professor) Michel Lechat (1927-2014).

From 1953 through 1960, Dr. Lechat was head of the leper hospital and colony of Iyonda, a village and mission station some 15 kms south of the city of Coquilhatville (now, Mbandaka) in central-western Congo. Greene stayed a number of weeks in Iyonda and other mission stations in the region in search of inspiration, a setting, and material for a new novel. The novel, A Burnt-Out Case, appeared in 1960, and was dedicated to Dr. Lechat. Greene occupied a room in the house of the missionary fathers in Iyonda, but spent long parts of his days with the doctor and his family. The film reached me through the hands of Édith Lechat, who had it transposed to a DVD-playable format, and via my friend Hendrik (a.k.a., “Henri” or “Rik”) Vanderslaghmolen (1921-), who was a missionary in the region at the time. As he was one of the only Belgian missionaries there with some knowledge of English, he often accompanied Graham Greene during his trips from one mission station to another. Rik Vanderslaghmolen and the Lechats are still close friends today.

Much of the information I offer below stems from conversations I had with both Rik Vanderslaghmolen and Édith Lechat in July and August 2013. Regrettably, Dr. Michel Lechat’s poor health condition did not allow me to probe his memory, but an interview he gave for the Brussels-based weekly The Bulletin on the occasion of Greene’s death in 1991 is available (Lechat 1991), as well as a closely similar talk he gave at the 2006 Graham Greene Festival in Berkhamsted, published in the London Review of Books in August 2007 (Lechat 2007). Édith Lechat has given me the kind permission to share the film with the readership of Rozenberg Quarterly and to add the necessary contextual information on both the historical situation and the contents of the film.

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