The Dutch-language AT5 reports, August 19, 2019, that returning from vacation last week, Salih Ozcan, a businessman in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, got a big surprise.
First, he found piles of garbage in front of his business property in Westpoort, a borough of Amsterdam.
Inside was an even worse surprise.
Some 40 “migrants” of We Are Here — a group of failed or refused asylum seekers — were squatting inside the property that Ozcan intends for his car company. He had first rented out the space, but “a bad tenant” used it for growing weed. After he evicted the tenant, he had the building refurbished.
When Ozcan tried to enter his property, one of the migrants blocked his entrance, told him to leave the premises, and threatened to call the police.
Ozcan exclaimed incredulously: “Do I have to leave my own building ?!”
A bewildered Ozcan told AT5: “I am a small entrepreneur who uses this property for his business. Because of them, I now don’t have a business. It’s a very bad feeling.I have no words for it at all.I can understand those people somewhat, but they don’t understand me at all.Unbelievable that this is possible in the Netherlands.”
Referring to the piles of trash outside, Ozcan said: “This is too crazy for words. Only rats and mice come here.”
The police said the squatters would not be evacuated “as a matter of urgency” and that on average, a property owner has to wait six weeks to evict.
I wonder how many of these frightened Americans are just showing up at a country’s border and expecting to obtain illegal entry? Oh wait, they are applying for Visas. Guess only other countries are expected to determine who has the right to enter their country…
From Yahoo: Eleanor Pelta has secured Polish passports for herself and her two sons. Stephanie Schwab is planning an escape route via Spain. Elie Jacobs has begun to keep enough cash on hand to buy last-minute plane tickets to Israel for his family. Alex and Aussa Lorens are applying for work visas in Australia, while Josh Lewin is aiming for New Zealand.
And Kami Lewis Levin already has her bags packed and tickets purchased. She leaves next week, with her husband, three children and a dog, for a new home in Costa Rica.
Americans are not flocking to the exits, but some of them are thinking about it, and some are talking about it, and at least a few are acting on the idea. Google searches for terms like “how to move out of America” spiked this past weekend to levels not seen since November 2016, right after the presidential election, and last seen a decade ago during the Great Recession. And in dozens of interviews after the massacres in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, people who were born here spoke of their crystallizing desire to leave.
These are not recent immigrants who feel threatened by nationalist rhetoric coming from the White House and Congress, but for the most part middle-class or relatively affluent Americans disheartened by the turn in American politics since the 2016 election. And it is not necessarily Canada — the default destination for agitated Americans over the decades — where they are threatening to move, because work visa qualifications there are tight. Instead, they are casting a larger net across the globe.
“The text-message threads and FB message threads have surged with questions about how and when to leave,” said Jacobs, a 41-year-old public affairs consultant who lives in New Jersey with his wife and toddler, and who began looking to Israel as an “escape hatch” as soon as Donald Trump was elected, but whose stockpiling of cash took on new urgency this week.
For many, the exploration of the departure gates is a direct response to the current president of the United States and his party. Before 2016, Coloradans Alex and Aussa Lorens were saving up to buy a house; after that they turned their attention to qualifying for a 190 Skilled Nominated visa for Australia, which requires proving English proficiency, a skills assessment and an “expression of intent” letter to those Australian states that are specifically looking for workers in Alex’s industry, which is hospitality.
Among what the couple sees as the many attractions of Australian society — including universal health care and affordable private insurance, mandated parental leave, four weeks of vacation for all workers and strong limits on guns — the Lorenses are drawn by the political culture, which, Aussa says, “protects them from a Trump-like outcome.”
“They do not have a major political party that is at all equivalent to our far-right Republicans,” she says. “Their conservative party is more like the moderate Democrats. They don’t argue about whether health care is a basic human right or whether climate change is real. They banned guns after a mass shooting.”
For others, the motivation is what they describe as an increasing level of daily fear.
“The way things are going, it’s to where you can’t even take your family out in public because it’s just a matter of time,” says Josh Lewin, 34, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., who lives there now with his wife and four sons ages 4 to 14 and works selling commercial security systems. “I need to do something to protect the family and not have to worry about this day in and day out.”
“First it was a shooting once a year, then once every six months, then once a month, and now it’s every day,” he says. “We don’t even bat an eye as a country now. I would like to move somewhere where that isn’t true and my kids don’t have to be afraid.”
He is surprised to feel as he does, both because he knows that statistically the dangers to any one individual or family are quite small, and because he has never been one for strong political opinions, and lives among relatives and friends who are Trump supporters. In fact, he emphasizes, “I’m not trying to choose sides. I am the type to sit back and support whoever is piloting the ship because you want to support your president and not see him fail.”
He has kept his feelings to himself, he says, particularly at work, where other men wear handguns strapped to their ankles at the office and, according to his wife, “joke about mass shootings being a force of natural selection.”
The Lewins have rejected Australia because “they have huge spiders there,” Josh says, and he is about as scared of spiders as he is of mass shootings. He has set New Zealand as his goal, intrigued years ago by the popularity of the extreme sport of “drift triking” — riding nonmotorized Big Wheels-like contraptions down huge hills. (New Zealand does have spiders, but venomous species capable of harming humans are extremely rare.) More recently he has been attracted by the fact that “after one mass shooting there they took steps to make it not so easy for people to get ahold of weapons of war.”
And then, “after the shootings this weekend, I went from a 3 on the scale of how likely I was to actually move to a 6.”
Those who say they are serious about leaving are quick to add that they recognize the privilege that allows them to consider such a move at all.
“I am acutely aware of how not everyone can do this,” says 40-year-old Janelle Hanchett, a writer, who sold everything she owned in Northern California in July and moved with her husband, Charles MacDonald, a union ironworker, and their four school-age children to the Netherlands. “We are not rich, we have crippling student loans, but we had equity in a house and the means to pick up and leave.”
Tired of what Hanchett describes as “the specter of this rising authoritarian regime, and of feeling unsafe all the time,” they applied for a “freelance visa” that the government of the Netherlands created to thank America for liberation during World War II, and that allows Americans to live and work as freelancers. (If they become employed by a Dutch company full time, their status switches to a sponsored visa.)
“It feels saner, more humane,” she says of her new home in the city of Haarlem, the capital of the province of North Holland. “The people seem happier. And there aren’t guns.”
Under the program, they are entitled to all the country’s benefits, including universal health care, a payment from the government of about 250 euros per child per quarter, and admission to a “Newcomer” school that costs 3 euros per month and helps children learn Dutch and transition to their new country. When they learned about the school, Hanchett says, “we started to cry from happiness.” The principal told them, “Americans always react this way.”
“Noa had to wait half a year for a treatment place in an eating disorder clinic in Zutphen, which meant she eventually had to undergo tube feeding for a year at Rijnstate Hospital. If accurate, we have a case of systemic failure being “resolved” by mercy-killing.
Child’s mother in Dutch press: “There are also huge waiting lists there. We actually want one place for her, where she can stay and where all her physical and mental problems are addressed. You can’t find it in the Netherlands. ” Untreatable illness?”
From NY Post: A 17-year-old Dutch girl was legally allowed to kill herself using euthanasia after she was raped when younger and spent years battling depression, according to a report Tuesday.
“Love is letting go, in this case,” Noa Pothoven of Arnhem wrote in an Instagram post announcing her choice to die in the living room of her home Sunday.
Pothoven — who was sexually abused at 11 and raped three years later — said she was sick of suffering unbearable pain. “Maybe this comes as a surprise to some, given my posts about hospitalization, but my plan has been there for a long time and is not impulsive,” she wrote.
“I will get straight to the point: within a maximum of 10 days I will die,” she added. “After years of battling and fighting, I am drained. I have quit eating and drinking for a while now, and after many discussions and evaluations, it was decided to let me go because my suffering is unbearable. I breathe, but I no longer live.”
In The Netherlands, kids ages 12 to 16 need permission from a parent to be euthanized and must have consulted a doctor, who agrees that their suffering is unbearable and likely to continue.
But at 17, children no longer need their parents’ consent to apply to kill themselves. Pothoven turned 17 in December.
The Netherlands legalized euthanasia in 2001 — the year she was born.
There are no reports of her parents legally challenging her choice at age 17, although a year earlier, they refused to give her permission because they thought she should complete trauma treatment and that her brain should be fully grown before a definitive decision.
Pothoven, who asked friends not to try to change her mind, wrote before she died that she suffered from post-traumatic stress and anorexia in the wake of the sex attacks, according to the UK Sun.
Last year, she was admitted to the Rijnstate hospital in Arnhem seriously underweight and with near organ failure. She was put in a coma and fed via tubes.
In her 2018 autobiography “Winning or Learning,” Pothoven said she was sexually assaulted at a friend’s party at age 11, then again a year later at another get-together, before being raped by two men on the street at age 14. She has said she wrote her book to help other young people.
She said she didn’t tell anyone about the sex attacks on her when they happened out of shame and fear. “I relive the fear, that pain every day. Always scared, always on my guard. And to this day my body still feels dirty,” Pothoven wrote in her book.
Pothoven said she tried hospitalization and visits with specialists to no avail before eventually contacting the Life End Clinic in The Hague about a year and a half ago, around age 16 — without her family’s knowledge, the outlet reported.
Her parents had no idea she was tortured mentally until her mom found a plastic envelope in her room around the same time filled with farewell letters to them and friends, according to the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander. “I was in shock,” her mom, Lisette, told the paper. ‘We didn’t get it. Noa is sweet, beautiful, smart, social and always cheerful. How is it possible that she wants to die?
“We have never received a real answer. We just heard that her life was no longer meaningful. For only a year and a half have we known what secret she has carried with her over the years,” she said. “We, her parents, want[ed] her to choose the path of life.”
Her dad, Frans, said the teen underwent electroshock therapy. He hoped she’d “see bright spots [in life] again, ‘perhaps fall in love’ or learn to discover that ‘life is worth living.”
More than 6,500 people ended their lives using euthanasia in the Netherlands in 2017, according to past reports. Belgium also allows people to get doctor assisted suicide for psychological reasons.
Euthanasia must be performed under the standards of the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act.
Try and process this statement: “Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s.”
From The Guardian: Belgian officials are investigating whether doctors improperly euthanised a woman with autism, the first criminal investigation in a euthanasia case since the practice was legalised in 2002.
Three doctors from East Flanders are being investigated on suspicion of having “poisoned” Tine Nys in 2010. The 38-year-old had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, two months before she died in an apparently legal killing by a doctor.
Belgium is one of two countries, along with the Netherlands, where euthanasia of people for psychiatric reasons is allowed if they can prove they have “unbearable and untreatable” suffering.
Among Belgians euthanised for mental health reasons, the most common conditions are depression, personality disorder and Asperger’s.Many experts – in Belgium and beyond– dispute whether autism should be considered a valid reason to be killed.
Last year, the Associated Press reported that after Nys’ family filed a criminal complaint, alleging numerous “irregularities” in her death, her doctors attempted to block the investigation.
“We must try to stop these people,” wrote Dr. Lieve Thienpont, the psychiatrist who approved Nys’ request to die – and one of the doctors now facing charges. “It is a seriously dysfunctional, wounded, traumatised family with very little empathy and respect for others,” the message read.
Sophie Nys, one of Tine’s sisters, told the AP that the doctor who performed the euthanasia asked her parents to hold the needle in place while he administered the fatal injection, among other fumbling efforts. Afterwards, the doctor asked the family to use a stethoscope to confirm that Tine’s heart had stopped.
Belgium’s chamber of indictment “presumes that there are sufficient indications in this particular case” and the doctors involved have been referred to the court of assize in Ghent. They will now face trial “due to poisoning”, said Francis Clarysse, a Ghent prosecutor.
Concerns have previously been raised about whether Thienpont, Nys’ psychiatrist, too easily approved euthanasia requests from patients with mental illness.
The AP previously published documents revealing a rift between Thienpont and Dr. Wim Distelmans, who heads Belgium’s euthanasia review commission. Distelmans voiced fears that Thienpont and colleagues may have failed to meet certain legal requirements in some euthanasia cases – and wrote that he would no longer accept referred patients from Thienpont.
In the 15 years since doctors were granted the right to legally kill patients, more than 10,000 people have been euthanised. Only one case has previously been referred to prosecutors; that case was later dropped.
From Associated Press (via Sacramento Bee): An Afghan asylum-seeker accused of stabbing two Americans in Amsterdam believes that Islam is insulted in the Netherlands, Dutch prosecutors said Monday, giving the first indication of why they think a “terrorist motive” was behind the attack.
The 19-year-old suspect is accused of stabbing the 38-year-old tourists Friday in an unprovoked attack after he arrived at Amsterdam’s Central Station on an international train.
The American men were not targeted because of their nationality, which the alleged attacker did not know, prosecutors said. The suspect’s grievance was with the European country where the assault took place, they said in a written statement.
“It is apparent from his statements that he believes that in the Netherlands, the Prophet Muhammad, the Quran, Islam and Allah are repeatedly insulted,” prosecutors said, noting that the young Afghan man specifically mentioned Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who is well known for his fierce anti-Islam rhetoric.
“From the suspect’s statements so far, it is clear the man had a terrorist motive … and that he traveled to the Netherlands for that reason,” the prosecutors’ said.
Earlier Monday, German authorities said the man had applied for asylum in Germany and was not considered a security threat there.
Wilders last week called off a planned contest for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad following death threats and concerns other people could be put at risk. Prosecutors said the suspect did not mention the contest in his statements.
Wilders reacted with a tweet, writing: “Muslim terrorists hate our way of life and our freedoms. They answer criticism of Islam with violence.”
The prosecutors added that there was so far no indication the suspect, identified as Jawed S. under Dutch privacy rules, was working with anyone else.
Police shot him after the stabbings, and he remains in a hospital. An investigating judge held a closed-door hearing there Monday and ordered him held for two more weeks on suspicion of assaulting the Americans “with a terrorist motive.”
They suffered serious, but not life-threatening injuries in the attack.
The judge extended the suspect’s custody because of fears he may flee, repeat the crime or violate the law, according to a statement by an Amsterdam court.
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From Fox News: A Swedish prosecutor may have set a dangerous precedent last week in regards to the Islamic State flag.
Prosecutor Gisela Sjovall announced last week that a 23-year-old man wouldn’t be charged after posting the flag to his Facebook page in June, according to The Local. Authorities in Laholm had investigated the man, who came to Sweden from Syria, on suspicion of committing “hate speech.” In comparison to the Nazi symbol which has come to be a symbol for prejudice against Jewish people,the same couldn’t be said for the Islamic State flag, Sjovall added. “Up until now, we haven’t come to that point,” she told the Hallandsposten, a local newspaper. “That could change in ten years.” The Local noted that under Sweden’s hate speech laws, for an image to be considered “hate speech,” it needs to threaten or disparage a group of people in connections to their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
No disparagement here…
“If there had been anything in the text (posted alongside the flag) with more specific formulations about certain groups, for example homosexuals, the ruling could have been different,” Sjovall said. “For me, there are no doubts about the decision not to prosecute.”
Sjovall said the man told authorities in June that he does not support ISIS. The man’s lawyer said that what he posted wasn’t an ISIS flag, but a symbol of what had been used within Islam for hundreds of years before ISIS misconstrued its meaning.
The flag had already been banned in the Netherlands and Germany. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron had also said that anyone displaying the ISIS flag should be arrested, but there wasn’t a law barring people from displaying it.
LifeSite News: As many as 650 babies are euthanized every year in the Netherlands because they are believed to be suffering or because a newborn’s imminent natural death is emotionally distressing for the parents, reports the Royal Dutch Medical Association (KNMG).
In the organization’s policy statement “Medical decisions about the lives of newborns with severe abnormalities,” it explains that a lethal injection to euthanize a baby is ethically permitted if “the period of gasping and dying persists and the inevitable death is prolonged, in spite of good preparation, and it causes severe suffering for the parents.” In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world after the downfall of the Nazi regime to legalize euthanasia, but the law at the time restricted the practice to those 18 and older.
Since 2005 the country has not prosecuted doctors who euthanized children as long as the doctors acted in accordance with a set of medical guidelines called the Groningen Protocol, drafted by Dr. Eduard Verhagen in 2004.
Dr. Verhagen, who is one of the authors of the KNMG policy statement, explained to Volkskrant, a leading Dutch newspaper, why parental anguish is relevant to the decision to kill their child. He argued that doctors should spare parents the “abomination” of seeing their child die in distress, saying that it is part of good palliative care. “These children are gray and cold, they get blue lips and suddenly every few minutes they take extremely deep breaths. That’s very nasty to see, and it can go on for hours and sometimes days,” Verhagen said.
The KNMG policy statement said that out of the 175,000 babies born in the Netherlands each year, 650 are candidates for euthanasia because these children are likely to die anyway.
“These babies, despite very intensive treatment, will certainly die in the short term. They have a poor prognosis and a very bleak life perspective. They may not be dependent on intensive care but they face a life of serious and hopeless suffering. Doctors and parents face the exceedingly profound question of whether to start or continue treatment or even whether a good action may actually be a harm, in view of the suffering and disability that may result from the poor health of the child.” Dr. Verhagen says he himself is unsure about whether a child who is “gasping” is actually suffering. “It may feel pain and discomfort, but suffering is a complex social and psychological phenomenon without scientifically validated criteria,” he said.
While Dr. Verhagen is well known for his continuing support of euthanasia in the Netherlands, other experts have changed their minds after seeing the escalation of administered death in their country.
Dutch ethicist Professor Theo Boer, who is on record for having said that a “good euthanasia law” would produce relatively low numbers of deaths, told the British House of Lords in 2014 that he now believes that the very existence of a euthanasia law turns assisted suicide from a last resort into a normal procedure.
“I was wrong – terribly wrong, in fact to have believed regulated euthanasia would work. I used to be a supporter of the Dutch law. But now, with 12 years of experience, I take a very different view,” he said. “Euthanasia is now becoming so prevalent in the Netherlands, that it is on the way to becoming a default mode of dying for cancer patients,” he continued. “Assisted deaths have increased by about 15 per cent every year since 2008 and the number could hit a record 6,000 this year. Campaigns for doctor-administered death to be made ever easier will not rest until a lethal pill is made available to anyone over 70 who wishes to die. Some slopes truly are slippery.”
Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, wrote in The National Review that the argument for euthanasia based on elimination of suffering due to terminal illness is a dangerous illusion.
“Stop pretending assisted suicide is about terminal illness and admit it is much more about disability–which is why the disability rights movement remains so opposed as they are the primary targets. It is about allowing killing as an acceptable answer to many causes of suffering, whether terminal or chronic disease, disability, mental illness, or existential despair,” he wrote. “Indeed, as we have seen in Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium, once the fundamental premise [of euthanasia] is accepted, the sheer force of logic leads to permission for virtual death-on-demand.”
TULIP SEASON IN THE NETHERLANDS At first glance, it looks like a giant child armed with a box of crayons has been set loose upon the landscape. Vivid stripes of purple, yellow, red, pink, orange and green make up a glorious Technicolor patchwork. Yet far from being a child’s sketchbook, this is, in fact, the northern Netherlands in the middle of the tulip season. With more than 10,000 hectares devoted to the cultivation of these delicate flowers, the Dutch landscape in May is a kaleidoscope of giddy colors as the tulips burst into life. The bulbs were planted in late October and early November, and these colorful creations are now ready to be picked and sold as bunches of cut flowers in florists and supermarkets. More than three billion tulips are grown each year and two-thirds of the vibrant blooms are exported, mostly to the U.S. and Germany. Their dazzling colors are thanks to the years in the 17th century when mania swept the globe and the most eye-catching specimens changed hands for a small fortune. But like a rainbow, this colorful landscape is a short-lived phenomenon. When the flowers are gone, the land will be cultivated for a rather more mundane crop of vegetables. The Netherlands produce more than nine million bulbs a year. A big h/t to beloved fellow and horticulturalist Joseph! ~Eowyn