Friday, May 04, 2007

Dodenherdenking - Remembrance Day

Today is 4th May, the day we, in Holland, remember the war dead, a time for reflection. The Queen lays a wreath at the Monument on the Dam and there is two minutes silence at 20.00. Tomorrow is Liberation Day, a day on which we celebrate the liberation of Holland from the German occupiers.

There is also a parallel service at the nearby Homomonument to remember the gay people who were killed by the Nazi's during the Second World War and to remind ourslves of the gay people in the world currently suffering persecution for their sexual orientation.

Without wanting to beat too much about repression of gay people, it was interesting to read that the European Court of Human Rights has declared today that a ban on a Gay Pride march in Warsaw in 2005 was a violation of human rights. Poland is quickly earning itself a very negative reputation in Europe by having a government which is very anti-gay. There are many anti-gay governments all around the world, most particularly in Africa, however there is not an awful lot we can do about that. However, with Poland being a member of the European Union, it is to be hoped that there IS something which the civilised part of Europe can do to stop such human rights abuses.

In the meantime, in Northern Ireland, the DUP, which is hardly known for its progressive sentiments has agreed to continue with a grant to help fund a Gay Pride march in Belfast, despite one of its members (of course, a Christian minister) calling the march a 'celebration of sodomy'! So, it is not bad.

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