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There are two sites that feature my podcasts. People who support them on the Web - find my palavering real fun. I jibe at politicians and others - whenever they deserve it. The podcasts here are separated into those in Macedonian and the few in English. There is "About me" page too and some family pics. I plan to run conversational Macedonian chats, but need experience. This is on an OSX platform produced on a GarageBand and featured by iMac on iWeb. This is yet another, my all-Macedonian language podcasting facility put together and maintained by my friend George Zafirovski, an interface Merlin who builds (quickly) his reputation in London, UK. He is quite professional. So

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Parents bring their kids to play plane-spotting at the edge of the huge Schiphol airport. The children enjoy being there too: there is a Macdonalds restaurant with a small playground as an extra attraction. It features a model airplane in which boys and girls crawl and scream. The place looks so peaceful. Only an occasional flare with a big bang scares the birds away. The airport authority, Schiphol is mainly a Dutch state property, does not want the seagulls fill the engines of the landing aircraft and come out, as in cartoons, scorched on the other end of the jets. You see an occasional flame and whiff of smoke around the aircraft tires at touch down.

My six-year old grandson Christian loves the place. His attitude derives more from the meals and the playtime than the sights or the actual air travel. He now recognizes some of the planes, the hangars, the control tower, the terminals. I never told him that the low laying construction out there was the airport detention center. Even if I knew I would have shied away: too difficult to clearly differentiate between detain and arrest, between criminal and offender of the law.

In this peaceful quiet corner of Schiphol, where at least 20,000 people roam daily, five or six minutes into October 27, eleven out of some 200-300 unsuspecting detainees were burned alive. These might have been people like me, grandfathers who wanted to bring a Christmas toy for their grandchildren in some faraway villages. We may never know: their bodies were charred beyond recognition and the Dutch state tries its best to hush up, actually to completely cover-up this tragedy. In my only honest logic is needed to understand what was happening and why these innocent people were scorched under the lights of Europe's fourth largest airport.

This detention center is one of many in the Netherlands. Here the authorities (Ministry of Justice) keep mainly aliens who after disembarking from aircraft landing on Schiphol try to enter this rich country without visa or papers. Instead of placing them back and seeing them off on the return flight with the same aircraft, they are detained. Allegedly, there are others who smuggle dope which they swallowed after having it wrapped in plastic. All of them are locked two in a windowless cell. Logic guides me to conclude that the cement cubicle has only two iron beds with some sort of thin mattress, blanket and hopefully a pillow. Excluding their own bodies and clothes the detainees have nothing else to burn. Furthermore, the things which might be lighted up to burn can only cause a fire which is put out by stomping or peeing over. So, the question the ministers must answer is simple: "What burned so hard as to produce a fire in which eleven hopeless people are scorched beyond recognition, an inferno which the fire brigade could not extinguish"? The horrible deaths of those people is a burning question indeed. This is a tragedy and a huge emotional, moral and legal issue. How will the Dutch society tackle it?

If it does not - the parliament was told that the fire was treated "accordingly" - what are the chances that the world community tells the Dutch "We cannot allow you to let our citizens burn to death while in your custody".

My point is that this Dutch government may not be allowed to get away with this cover-up. The fire-brigade implied it could not approach the burning wing of the detention center because of a fence! Not a wall: a fence of chicken-wire. This may mean that the firemen watched from yards away the flames and listened to the forsaken cries of those burning alive. What stopped them tear the fence down? It is obvious that some ministers, those offering their condolences instead of their resignations, will have to be fired. Whatever was that burned for so long it should not be there. Full stop. The top boss of the security unit must be fired. The administration must have known all the names, cell after cell, of the individuals in custody. How many were in custody three hours after the fire was put of? How many were missing and exactly how many bodies scorched beyond recognition? The report by the commanding officer of the Fire brigade must be made public irrelevant who does it affect. A gentleman by the name of Ben Ale (the head of the Dutch institute for fire-protection, NIBRA) stated that either the flames were raging for full two hours before the firefighters arrived or the cells did not conform to safety rules.

Now, of course that incidents which explode into tragedies happen everywhere. But this tragedy happened under unexplained circumstances. Every single possible trick was used to minimize the awful impact which the full truth might have had on the public. There is absolutely no point withholding any information under any pretext. Feeble excuses are lies or semi-truths. They show full disrespect for the obligation to come out with all the neat facts. The notorious arrogance of the Dutch establishment in general and in situations when it is blatantly clear it is responsible for a huge public mess will eventually trigger an international backlash against Dutch attitudes.

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