Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Multiculturalism thriving in the Netherlands
Six teenage footballers and a father are jailed for kicking volunteer linesman to death after he officiated his son's junior match in Holland. Unusually for the Daily Mail, there are no pictures of the offenders, but we are told that they come from a "a mostly immigrant neighborhood". We read in a Dutch source, however, that the offenders were:
"all of North African origin. Their names: Yassine, Soufyan, Ibrahim Fady, Daveryon, and Mohammed Othman". The name of the father was "El-Hasan D." The Netherlands has a large and aggressive Muslim minority
Six young footballers and one of their fathers have been jailed for beating a linesman to death as he officiated his son's junior match in the Netherlands.
Richard Nieuwenhuizen, 41, from Buitenboys, died after being punched and kicked by players from opponents Nieuw Sloten on December 2 last year, apparently because they believed he had made a bad decision.
A Dutch court convicted the seven people involved of manslaughter in the death of the volunteer linesman who was knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked after a youth match last December in a brutal attack.
Judges in Lelystad sentenced the 50-year-old father to six years in prison. Five teenaged players were given two-year sentences in youth detention for their roles in the attack and another was sentenced to a year.
A seventh player, age 15, was sentenced to 30 days detention for assault.
All the defendants had insisted they were innocent. They have two weeks to appeal. Their lawyers had argued that the linesman, Richard Nieuwenhuizen, had an underlying medical condition that contributed to his death but Dutch forensic experts said he died as a result of the beating.
Judges said the young players acted together in the fatal beating and gave them the highest sentences available.
'The seriousness of the event, the lack of a clear reason for it, the terrible consequences, the fact that they haven't accepted responsibility for their acts and the enormous shock it caused throughout society and the entire football world meant that the minors received the maximum possible sentence,' the court said in a statement.
The fatal attack took place on December 2 in the Dutch city of Almere, after the home team Buitenboys drew 2-2 with Nieuw Sloten, which is based in a mostly immigrant neighborhood of Amsterdam.
In a statement, the court said the father sentenced to six years had received a heavy punishment because 'instead of setting a good example to the youths by criticizing their behavior he joined them in kicking and beating the linesman and has never accepted responsibility' for his actions.
Nieuwenhuizen's death triggered a bout of soul-searching in Dutch football and beyond about the loss of respect for sports officials among youth players. 'You can't imagine it happening,' said Ajax coach Frank de Boer. 'That boys of 15, 16 years short circuit like that. You wonder about the parenting.' [Why the shock? It was nothing to do with the Dutch. It was just Muslims doing what many Muslims do]
More than 12,000 people attended a silent march for Nieuwenhuizen in Almere on December 9.
'What can I do to teach today's football youth the difference between anger and aggression?' said Dutch football association chairman Michael van Praag at a ceremony afterwards. 'Football is emotion, but it's also winning and losing. You have to be able to do both, otherwise you don't fit in our sport.'
Nieuwenhuizen's sons said Monday they hoped the convictions would send a message around the world that such attacks should not be tolerated in sport.
Are we caught in a happy trap?
Happy ever after: We want it for ourselves, we want it for our kids, and we want it now. But what if everything we know about happiness is a lie? What if the relentless pursuit of pleasure is in fact making us miserable?
A growing number of psychologists and social researchers now believe that the "feel-good, think positive" mindset of the modern self-help industry has backfired, creating a culture where uncomfortable emotions are seen as abnormal. And they warn that the concurrent rise of the self-esteem movement - encouraging parents to shower their children with praise - may be creating a generation of emotionally fragile narcissists.
Some therapists believe this positivity obsession is partly to blame for rising rates of binge drinking, drug use and obesity. The more that genuine contentment eludes us, the more we seek to fill the gap with manufactured highs. But as we try to anaesthetise feelings of sadness, failure and disappointment, our rates of depression and anxiety continue to climb.
"So many people now think, 'If I'm not happy, there's something wrong with me.' We seem to have forgotten that feelings are like the weather - changing all the time; it's as normal to feel unhappy as it is to have rainy days," said Russ Harris, a British-born Australian doctor and author of The Happiness Trap, in which he argues popular wisdom on happiness is misleading and destined to make you miserable. "Painful emotions are increasingly seen as unnatural and abnormal and we refuse to accept that we can't always get what we want."
As the "happiness industry" of life coaches and self-help gurus has exploded, parents have been taught that self-esteem is the cardinal virtue for raising well-adjusted kids.
But it has had unexpected consequences. Researchers say the value of hard work has been replaced by the belief that every child is "special" - a phenomenon fuelled by rampant consumerism and reality TV shows, which promise: "If you want it enough you can have anything."
Some of the world's leading happiness experts now fear that the self-esteem juggernaut will leave future generations hopelessly ill-equipped to deal with life's disappointments.
On Wednesday, some of those experts will converge on Melbourne for the Happiness and Its Causes conference. Among the delegates will be
Harris, and Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University. "More and more, parents are unwilling to let their children struggle," she says. "They want them to feel good at all times so they're telling them how smart they are, they're really showering them with what we call person praise - 'you're talented, you're smart, you're special.' My research shows it backfires. It makes kids worried and tells them that the name of the game is to be smart.
"Then, when we give them harder problems they don't do well and they lie about their performance because their ego gets so wrapped up in all of this. But if we give them what we call process praise - 'you focused well, you tried hard, you used good strategies' - then it makes them want hard things, where they can apply their effort and strategies and be resilient."
Professor Dweck urges parents to talk to their children not just about their victories but their struggles. Like Harris, she maintains that accepting setbacks and unpleasant emotions, rather than trying to block them out, is the key to building resilience.
Already, clinicians are seeing the first casualties of the self-esteem movement entering therapy.
In a 2011 Atlantic article, US psychotherapist Lori Gottlieb reported that many young adults - largely from happy, loving, advantaged homes - were feeling confused, anxious and empty due to overprotective parenting that focused too much on happiness and shielded them from adversity. Thrust into the real world, even minor setbacks became catastrophic.
Australian social researcher Hugh Mackay addresses these issues in his latest book, The Good Life: What Makes a Life Worth Living, and says we must look beyond the pursuit of success and happiness as life's main aspirations.
He believes that the self-help movement, which took off in the 1980s as a well-meaning antidote to rising rates of depression in Western society - born out of a turbulent period of social, economic and technological change - has morphed into a beast that sells happiness as a commodity.
"It's been hijacked by the pop psychology movement to suggest that we've all got to look for positive outcomes, that we've all got to be bright, shining optimists and extroverts. It's become an industry - there are conferences about it and a whole spate of books and talk shows and people on the lecture circuit who are feeding this idea that one of our emotions [happiness] is sovereign and that should be our default position."
Instead of viewing happiness as an entitlement, Mackay maintains that a sense of wholeness and meaning is what brings satisfaction. Indeed, he points out that even those in the Buddhist faith are starting to question the Dalai Lama's tenet that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness.
"We have to nurture our relationships, our engagements with other people, our responsibility for other people's wellbeing - that's what nurtures community, and we are sustained by those communities," Mackay says. "If we focus only on happiness we're neglecting the richness of the full emotional spectrum and we're overlooking the fact that you couldn't make sense of happiness if you didn't know sadness."
New Zealand psychologist Chris Skellett knows this only too well. His book, When Happiness Is Not Enough, explores how a fulfilling life can only be achieved by balancing being happy in the moment, with a drive towards longer-term goals.
When he speaks at the conference this week it will be from a position of tragic, lived experience. Last month, his 21-year-old son Henry died suddenly and unexpectedly. While processing overwhelming grief, his understanding of the importance of the full range of human emotions has never been greater.
"The loss gives you access to a wonderful array of very real human experiences, especially the connection between people," Skellett say. "Sadness is tinged with an incredibly profound depth of appreciation of life. You're acutely aware of what's important. A lot of the things that preoccupied me before seem rather trite and superficial now. Now, I'm much more connected to the little things. I'm much more profoundly moved by music. A walk in the evening just seems like a gift."
New British law will 'protect gay marriage critics': Act will help those who believe marriage should be 'between a man and a woman'
Critics of gay marriage are to get a new protection in law, senior government sources say.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller is said to be about to propose changing the Public Order Act so those who believe same-sex weddings are wrong can say so publicly without fear of prosecution.
The move is part of government attempts to prevent legislation running into further trouble as it progresses through Parliament.
Faith minister Baroness Warsi abstained in a key vote in the House of Lords, telling friends that religious groups needed extra protection.
Now the Culture Secretary is preparing to amend the Public Order Act so it is ‘clear that people will be protected who want to express their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman’, a source said.
Protections in the Act that exist for critics of ‘sexual orientation’ will be updated to cover same-sex marriage, it is understood.
‘It addresses the concern that there will be a chilling effect so that people, such as those of faith, will be afraid to express their views in public.’
The Government’s amendment is expected to be confirmed by Lords whip Baroness Stowell during the committee stage of the Bill, which starts today.
The Department for Culture, which oversees the legislation, refused to comment on the plan. But during a Commons debate last month, Mrs Miller signalled the Government’s thinking.
Referring to Britain’s tradition of tolerance and ‘rich tapestry of faith, belief and culture’, she said: ‘It is because of these strong traditions that enabling same-sex couples to marry will in no way undermine those who believe... that marriage should be between a man and a woman, they can continue to believe that. That is their right.’
Today’s move will be seen as an attempt to heal rifts over gay marriage.
The Government has also suggested it would consider measures to address concerns that teachers might have to promote same-sex marriage despite conscientious objections.
Veteran Conservative MP Sir Edward Leigh, said on the ConservativeHome website that same-sex civil marriage had done ‘irreparable damage’ to Tory electoral prospects.
‘Some of the damage can be healed by ensuring there are adequate protections for conscientious objectors, especially chaplains, teachers, and registrars,’ he said.
I was sacked from a museum teaching about the Roman Army, a job I had done for 3 years. The subject: ‘The Roman Army’…
My crime? Teaching an ‘inappropriate’ military subject, the Roman Army. I even showed the museum’s own leaflet advertising the events, saying ‘Learn about the Roman Army from one of UK’s leading experts’. Did no good. I got the sack.
I hold two degrees in the subject, a doctorate, and have appeared on TV and film as a scholar and commentator. Even that did not protect me.
I also got into trouble because when asked by a Moslem school pupil, ‘Why were Moslems not in the Roman Army?’ I replied ‘because Islam came into existence 500 years after the period’ I was talking about. My Archaeological Society received a letter stating I had made a racist comment. These events rook place some years ago but now it is all too commonplace. And people simply put up with it.
A few weeks ago, at an exhibition of Roman cooking, using food ingredients from the day, a Moslem family complained about the use of pork and ‘wine vinegar’ in their presence.
In that case the organisers had the guts to ask them then, ‘Why do you visit the site, when you should know that such ancient methods will be used? Do you expect us to change 2,000-year-old methods, just to suit you out of the thousands of visitors we get?’
Thankfully, we never had a letter of complaint. But I think this bodes ill for the future, where we will have to change even the past to suit Moslem sensitivities. Mad! Absolutely mad…
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.