Saturday, December 06, 2008


sinterklaasDecember 6 is Santa Claus Day. I do not know how exactly Santa Claus is celebrated in Anglosaxon countries, or even other European countries for that matter, but in the Low Countries, it's a kid's event with the impact of Halloween. First off, we call Santa Claus "Sinterklaas". In the days and even weeks prior to December 6, he, that is to say one of his numerous Doppelgaengers, can be seen in the streets distributing candy. In The Netherlands more often than in Belgium on his white horse, see pic, but in both countries he is invariably accompanied by several helpers commonly referred to as "Zwarte Pieten" ("Black Peters"). In our postchristian societies where political correctness has gone criminally insane, the role pattern of White Saint/Black aides has come under heavy fire recently, but that is not the topic I want to talk about tonight. Anyway, apart from the appearance of your instant "Sinterklaas" in the streets - often hired by toy shops to foster in the kiddos an appetite for presents - gazillions of Belgian families with young children have, throughout the ages, staged the arrival of the Good White Saint with his trademark white beard, red cloak and high mitre emblazoned with a golden cross in the homely circle, to shower the kids with toys and candy. For those parents wishing to add that extra touch, they encouraged their young offspring to write a letter with a wishing list to Sinterklaas on December 5, put it in a shoe under the chimney (the supposed entrance of the Toy Saint) and hope for the best come the next day. Depending on the degree they had been good kids throughout the previous year, they could expect to see all or part of their wishes fulfilled.

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.


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