Needless to say that the perpetrators of this wanton destruction of property are still at large. But what is interesting is a rather offhand remark, made in the reporting of Amsterdam TV station AT5 (now redacted out), that the firemen extinguishing the fores were escorted by police on motorcycles and riot police (NL).
That remark actually raises more questions then it answers. Were these escorts by riot police necessary? Or precautionary? Have the fire brigades in recent days become the target of the Amsterdam 'youth', like so many emergency services in France and in Sweden (to name just a few examples)? But if that is the case: Why haven't we heard about this harassment?
One would be forgiven for feeling that the Amsterdam authorities are doing everything within their power to control the flow of information around the goings on in Slotervaart and surroundings. They give off a stunning impression of an old-fashioned soviet themselves. In their desperate attempts to shield the Dutch population at large from finding out the truth they seemingly have organized a total clampdown. Not on the 'youth', who are still able to roam the streets of Slotervaart, Geuzenveld and Osdorp, setting fires wherever they please, with impunity. But rather on the reporting coming out of that besieged part of Amsterdam.
Reports of 'sympathy car-b-ques' in The Hague reach us via Nieuw Religieus Peil, which links to a report in the Telegraaf (NL) telling us how the inhabitants of the The Hague neighborhoods of Transvaal and Schilderswijk are too afraid to press charges of vandalism, which has seen a sharp increase this last week.
In the mean time the PvdA (Labour) fraction of the Amsterdam city council have voiced their opposition to cutting child benefits enjoyed by parents of the 'youth' engaged in festively lighting other peoples cars. This proposal was made by alderman Lodewijk Asscher in the wake of the car-burnings of the last week in an attempt to punish parents for their apparent lack of parental control over the 'youth'. Ostensibly the opposition to this measures is inspired by worries about the organsiation of the help these families would get in return for their forfeited benefits. But there are a lot of people that suspect the PvdA of openly pandering to what, in Amsterdam at least, is their major constituency.
[UPDATE001 Tuesday 23-10] Here we go again. Geenstijl (via LGF. Don't ask...) is reporting that 1930 hours local tonigh another car went up in flames in Slotervaart. In the update they also report an incident where a scootmobil for invalids was set ablaze. There's a new variation on an old theme!
BTW, Charles of LGF is asking for a translation of the GeenStijl post. Red Sock (comment #102) pretty much nailed it. Saves us the trouble of doing it ourselves.
[UPDATE002 Wednesday 24-10] It appears we are in for a relatively quiet night. No reports (yet) of any cars burning out in Amsterdam, the Hague or anywhere else. In the mean time: The frustration of the inaction of the authorities has mounted to such an extent that even Michael of The Van Der Galiën Gazette (the most moderate and realistic blogger in the Dutch blogosphere, as far as I know) is fed up:
If they burn down a car again, don’t just arrest them, run to them, beat them down and then arrest them. As Bill Maher said so well, “ass kicking is what’s called for.” These youths want a war. Give it to them. We’ve talked to them for years, that hasn’t worked and it will never work. The time has come to act.Good advice that will go completely unheeded by Mayor Job Cohen c.s., unfortunately.
[UPDATE003, Thursday 25-10] And of course I spoke too soon. Last night three cars in Buitenveldert (NL, with photo), southern Amsterdam went up in flames. The police are investigating whether they hold any connection to earlier fires... Any guesses?
[UPDATE004, Friday 26-10] Barring special circumstances this will be the last update. Frankly, because I am getting bored with the aggrevation it causes me.
Last night another 2 cars burnt out in Amsterdam-West (NL). And again nobody could be arrested. The ineffectiveness of the Amsterdam police and authorities in the face of this ongoing harassment is beyond disgraceful. Words like 'feeble', 'incompetent', 'spineless' or 'clueless' don't even begin to describe my opinion of both. They might be men, but they give off a stunning impression of aging, feeble women.
But there's a reason for this. In Trouw today the lack of reaction is explained as 'avoiding giving the moroccan youth a podium'. That's right: If we don't do anything, or say anything, the scum'll get bored with it soon enough. We are going to bore them into behaving themselves. And untill then 'tough luck' to any well-behaved citizen who sees his sweat-and-toil go up in flames. That'll show them!
(Except, who is 'them' exactly?)