So, that should do for the introduction of what is one of those ever returning Icons of our popular culture.
I have the good fortune of having a sister who is so kind hearted towards children (perhaps because she hasn't them of her own) that she organizes a Santa Claus evening every year for the extended family on which she hires the services of a "professional" Sinterklaas together with one Zwarte Piet. There's a number of couples among us with children still small enough to believe in the Holy Man descending from chimneys and handing out the rewards for not having been (too) naughty. So this evening, we off to my sister's home somewhere in Belgium's northwest.
I took the following pic when it was my daughter's turn to listen to Sinterklaas's lecturing on her behaviour throughout 08.
Something was different on his mitre. Something that was not there during the same celebration one year ago, or in the preceding years.
Look at his mitre.
The cross was gone.
When the "performance" was over, Sinterklaas quickly disappeared, together with his Zwarte Piet, before I had the occasion to ask him some questions about his wardrobe dysfunction. However, he did exchange some words with my brother-in-law, who had hired him in the first place, and afterwards the latter told me the "Sint" (abbreviation) had confided to him that the organization which dispatches the Santa Clauses (remember, these are "professionals") had received instructions to remove the crosses from their mitres in order "to be less offensive". Which institution had given the instructions my brother-in-law could not tell me. However, even more frightening was the news that at least in certain neighborhoods of Antwerp the ceremony had been forbidden altogether in several schools.
In Antwerp, one third of pupils is muslim already. During Spring, the decision of the Antwerp Town Selectman for Education, the socialist Robert Voorhamme, to allow only halal meat for lunch packages on school trips, including for non-muslim kids, caused some uproar (but not that much, many indigenous people seem resigned to their fate of becoming dhimmis). I haven't had the occasion to check out personally to what extent the passing of Santa Claus has been forbidden in Antwerp schools, but given the recent developments I have every reason to believe it's at least true for several ones. Those would be the ones where almost all indigenous kids have been replaced with Moroccan kids. After a couple of years, the results of the soft ethnic cleansing which is relentlessly taking place can be shocking indeed.
Sharia law which is now de facto operating parallel alongside British law in the UK; the white uniforms the Brussels Police is considering to appear less aggressive when confronting scores of young Moroccans (they will however presumably keep the black ones to harass VB personages), two hundred mosques set to be built in France the next few years, Moroccan Secret Service agents monitoring everything that happens in The Netherlands, the Turkish President exhorting Turks living in Germany to certaily NOT assimilate and remain Turkish, the Syrian Grand Mufti blasting European MP's personally for "allowing" the Danish cartoons, the exponential rise of the number of no-go zones, the French and Dutch Intifadas....
... when I set off this evening with my wife and my kids to participate in an innocent age old tradition in which I myself was brought up (and enjoyed tremendously), I thought I could forget about all that for a couple of hours...
...I was wrong.