As I promised in my previous post a few days ago, I’m posting the translation of the article of de Volkskrant published on 16th April, written by a guest columnist.
I publish the article in English in honour of my PhD friend working for CALTEC at the moment, who comes from Iraq originally and proves most points below. Being an Arab, a G.P., fluent in three languages, well-versed in European and world literature, a devotee of J.S.Bach, whose smaller piano pieces he began to learn at 28 years of age as his first ever piano pieces, he is a gifted and internationally quoted microbiologist with a bright career ahead of him.
I’d like to warn my readers, though, that, towards the end, the text could be seriously misunderstood or misinterpreted. Please do not construe the writer’s words as a threat to the existing society – the intention is to show the sheer effort, value and positive effect immigrants add to the existing society. The intended change the writer means is the change to inward-looking thinking some original natives of the country apply against those added values. It is to show that people should not consider immigrants as different in colour or culture, but as people who add their own talent and efforts to build a better future.
Here comes my translation.
“Guest column: an ode to the immigrant
GUEST COLUMN In spite of the barriers that the Dutch society erects, thanks to his own effort, the black-and sand-coloured Dutchman has made a historic success of his own part of the integration process, argues guest columnist Izz ad-Din Rahman.
Izz ad-Din Rahman 16 april 2017, 07:00
Often, a tragedy forms the basis for migration. No one voluntarily chooses to leave his homeland for good. Persecution. Hunger. War. Hopelessness. Forced by the colonizer and quartered in former Nazi camps. A tragedy that has left deep wounds, sometimes still noticeable to the fifth generation.
In spite of the visible and invisible barriers that the Dutch society erects, thanks to his own effort, the black-and sand-coloured Dutchman has made a historic success of his own part of the integration process. The pearl of the nation, who features determination, discipline and endurance.
People who often came to Netherlands with empty hands as guest workers or refugees are now directors, politicians, journalists, officers, judges, lawyers, tax advisors, entrepreneurs, surgeons, engineers and architects. The immigrant has taken over complete business sectors, or has revived them himself. From nothing, they have built vibrant communities, which now form the backbone of the economy of the Randstad. It is the black-and sand-coloured Dutchman who sustains the public and commercial life in the power centres.
Blood, sweat and tears
From his first steps in the sandpit, the black-and sand-coloured Dutchman has been fighting for his position in this country with blood, sweat and tears. The long way from the elementary school teacher and his framework advice at the technical school up to the professors who unsuccessfully try to bring down their thesis. Graduation with honours while his parents sometimes can’t even read.
From the harshest of conditions, he has shown what it means to be a fighter. The hopelessness of the concrete jungles and the uncertainty of the asylum procedures could not break the immigrant – on the contrary, it has armed him with unique experiences that bring out the best human qualities from the black-and sand-coloured Dutchman.
For many, that path has not been strewn with roses. For some, sheer agony. Of poverty. Of raids and round-ups. Of less, less and less. Of having to take too great responsibilities too early. The stabbings and shootings. The traffickers. The lonely abortion and the infants in the containers. Periods of despair and destitution. Losing everything and starting again. Going on despite setbacks or wrong choices. Not giving up, not losing sight of the objective. Soldier. A generation of lions make an act of presence.
This is a generation that does not allow you to tell them that they should be grateful. No, it is precisely the Netherlands that should be grateful to this generation for the energy they put into this reclaimed swamp. The success of the black- and sand-coloured Dutchman is purely the result of his own excellence. Of the courage to stand firm in a hostile climate that disclaimed him before he was born at all.
In particular, the immigrant who took his first steps in the conservative environment of predominantly white-populated offices. To have to be in a completely different world from nine to five and not speak about the stupid ideas that regularly circulate around the coffee machine is gruelling. It takes character to hold your ground in this mental torture chambers. Keep your head up. We support you.
This is a generation that realizes that they can stand on their own feet. Which does not allow victimization by those who would rather see us fail because they need empirical evidence to support their sociological theories about perpetrators and victims. Or even worse: to make a PROFIT out of them. No, the black and sand-coloured Dutchman knows: a butterfly that is pulled out of its cocoon will be permanently maimed. This generation cannot be maimed by those whose degree of sympathy correlates with our level of subordination.
Glass ceiling? Even a ceiling of reinforced concrete will not stop us. We have the talent. We have the numbers. The hostile discourse in the media is just a last gasp of a social order that knows its days are numbered.
The stubborn black- and sand-coloured Dutchman ruthlessly deals with any obstacle that stands in the way of its emancipation and success. He does not need to be saved, helped, protected or being pulled ahead. He does not want to be the object of other people’s urge to have a clean conscience. Diamonds are formed under extreme pressure. All those elements that, according to the statisticians, make us fail at birth, created exactly the opposite: a whole generation of gemstones that shine far beyond the horizon.
It is this generation that paves the way for those who come after us. I am proud of my dark-eyed soldiers, the future of my country. A shout-out to all fighters: life can give me no greater honour than to be able to call you my contemporaries.
Shout-out majesty to the queen of Amsterdam-West.
Izz ad-Din Rahman is a publicist and a guest columnist of de Volkskrant this month.”