Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Balkenende & Guerrilla Girl

These awesome t-shirts 'inspired' by the iconic Che Guevara image were part of the political campaign that got Christian Democrat (i.e. conservative) Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende elected last year. Oh, the delicious irony!

Today, Jan Pronk, the guy hoping to become the Howard Dean of Dutch politics (that is, Labor Party chairman) called Balkenende a "liar" for misleading the Dutch into Iraq.

"We were rushed into that war on the basis of lies," he said. Where have I heard that before?

Sticklers for detail like me will remember that the Dutch technically didn't rush into anything, but had a more nuanced stance on the war, namely that they supported it "politically but not militarily."

Politically but not militarily? Whatever.

Later, the country participated in peacekeeping. In a comparatively peaceful province (al-Muthanna). But I digress.

Pronk later said he "was a little sorry." But he still thinks this country is ruled "by a person who has lied."

In politics, it often seems, the goal is either:
a) a race to see who can say the stupidest thing first or
b) a fight not to have to retract the stupid thing you said.

Meanwhile, the Dutch press is in a tizzy about "Guerrilla Girl," identified (first by website Geenstijl, who else?) as Tanja Nijmeijer, from the small Dutch town of Denekamp.

(photo courtesy GeenStijl).
She studied Spanish, started hanging out in leftist squatter circles in the Dutch city of Groningen, and wound up traveling to Latin America to help impoverished people.

She's fighting for FARC in Colombia these days, and Colombian daily El Tiempo is leaking out the dirty details of her diary bit by bit, milking this story for everything it's worth.

Apparently none of the guerrillas use condoms, and big-breasted bimbos get favors from El Commandante. Her diary was recovered after a raid in which they were caught bathing and had to run into the jungle half-naked!!

Titillating story, no?

So how does this all tie together?

Proceeds from those Balkenende shirts go to a good cause: an organization called COMUNARTE by a young Colombian named Elkin Ramos, in which rather than fight turf wars, gangs are encouraged to dance instead.

Or so they say.

So, if you're either "with us or against us," then you're either a Balkenende or a Pronk, or a Nijmeijer or a Che or an Uribe.

But maybe, just maybe, if Us is Them, and the world isn't all black and white, and you can support a war politically but not militarily, you could choose to be a Ramos instead...

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