As a complete surprise I found myself at the night ceremony in the Oude Kerk (old church) of Amsterdam this year. I do not belong to that community, but it is a very interesting church and it is next to my house. I decided to reconcile a little bit and try to step into this church and see if their Christmas celebration would stimulate me.
It is lovely to hear a choir sing songs, that I know from my childhood. But it was also a realization that I do not think as most people are saying out loud here. I have problems with the preaches in the mosques of Amsterdam, but the preacher in this christian church also had some disturbing words to say.
He told about this story of the parents of a Dutch soldier that got killed in Uruzgan. Also Afghan children got killed. What happened after that, is that the mother and father of the Dutch soldier sent a video message to the parents of the Afghan children, to say they were sorry. The reaction of these fathers (where were the mothers of these children) got taped and broadcasted in Holland. The preacher was happy about this. And he added to my disgust, that every soldier’s life that gets lost will always be in vain.
It made me feel sick. What about all those Americans and Canadians etc. that died for the liberty of Europe? Was that in vain? I do not think so. The reason our soldiers are in Afghanistan is to make sure that next time we tape a video in that country, we will see fathers AND mothers talking about their families and emotions. The fact that we do not see the mothers is the reason this soldier was killed.
This christmas made me feel weird, as if the world was upside down. And people do not realize anymore how fragile our modern world is. This column (in Dutch) should have been the preach that evening. Amen.