A predictive self-portrait
Predictive selfportrait 1970

What you have to know about the initiator of this website is on the home page.

In case you want to know more: in Dutch I published quite a long autobiographical text in a book titled “Bezorgde Vaders” [Concerned Fathers; I was one of six there]. It was one of the very few books I published when I was a publisher. It can be found at my Academia account.

Quite a telling anecdotal story about the younger me I published there too. I reproduce it here.
The self-portrait is one of only two drawings from before 1982 I made and kept. The funny thing about it is that I drew myself with glasses when I didn’t start wearing them until five years later.

The Parable of Foolish Freddy and the Real Islamophobes

This parable is based on something that really happened in my younger years. I was ten years old.
Islam did not exist yet, let alone the teachings of Mohammed! 
Actually this phenomenon of course did exist elsewhere in the world but not for us Dutch children, all of whom were born in the Netherlands, like our parents and most of our grand-grandparents.

It wasn’t until a year or two after this experience, I guess, that I first heard that lyric about the size of Allah’s genitals. Maybe you know it too. Or a variant on it. “He’s big, he’s mighty, his d**k is six feet long” (it rhymes in Dutch if you use European measures of length). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in later variants that thing got even longer.

My family moved to this Van Haarenlaan in Schiedam one or two years before the incident.The brand new flat had a real bathroom, running hot water and the kitchen in the winter had this built-in “refrigerator”: a cupboard with an intentionally not insulated backside. That side bordered on the balcony and on that side the hardboard plate with holes was provided with a surface that reflected sunlight. Superior find. It was also very handy that the coal storage was on the ground floor instead of in the attic, as in the upstairs apartment where we came from.

Every now and then a seriously retarded young man walked down our street: the neighborhood children called him Foolish Freddy*.
He often had a real transistor radio with him, which he carried on his shoulder. He listened to music like that. Ghetto blasters were introduced much later. This was actually a kind of civilized precursor of those. Freddy did not cause any inconvenience and Freddy did not hurt a fly in any other way, but we were a bit afraid of him.
Of course we were.
He was very different. Not mentally, but physically certainly a man, although of course we did not think or talk about it in those terms. I myself was, also for my age, small and slender.

One Sunday afternoon my younger sister played outside. She threw a balloon back and forth with some other children. And then Foolish Freddy caught the thing. And he made no move to return it.

My older brother was not outside and from the corner of my eye I could see my parents and one or two older sisters watching what was going to happen from behind the window on the first floor.
They had high hopes for me. Now I had to perform.
I told Freddy that it was fun to play with a balloon, but that the little girl would be sad if he took the thing with him. In a little more and in slightly different words, but that was the purport.
I remember this incident so well thanks to the praise I received afterwards.
I had done absolutely right. I had shown (a semblance of) spine and had combined it with a slimy approach.
And more importantly: I had not provoked the mentally handicapped Freddy.

The fact that I have been thinking about that incident more often lately has everything to do with the ‘do-not-provoke-them‘ card being drawn every time the mohammedan religion is criticised or mocked. A card drawn instinctively by the true islamophobes: those who are not accused of being afraid of islam, but those who really are afraid, afraid to show any form of resolve.
It is suggested that the approach that I successfully used as a ten-year-old towards Foolish Freddy, should also be used towards the followers of Muhammed.

Sure, you could call the average member of the ulema foolish or crazy too, but not mentally handicapped!
Their craziness is of a completely different nature than that of Freddy.
Unlike Freddy, these people are malicious and crafty and their madness has been acquired.

Freddy most certainly was not a fan of particular religious and/or political teachings. I don’t know if Freddy has ever done anything violent in his life. However, this is true for some of the most dedicated followers of Muhammed. A very different story is the real existence of his teachings.

One of the most embarrassing aspects of western politicians and media dealing with the teachings and followers of Muhammed is that they suggest that those teachings are new. As if this religion with strong political ambitions and growing influence does not have a long history and overwhelming impact on huge parts of the world.
As if islam is something between every individual muslim and this deity Allah. Talk about foolishness.

* I renamed him. Not so much out of privacy considerations, more because it is really hard to correctly translate the adjective ‘gekke’ when used by children.