“Freedom also lies in consciously experiencing the time you live in.”

DELFT – Kader Abdolah is one of the speakers who will introduce the city talk on freedom in the Nieuwe Kerk on 12 May. His input is colored by his own experiences as a refugee. They have given the author a completely unique perspective on the subject.

By Esdor van Elten

“Freedom has a different meaning this year than other years,” says Kader Abdolah. For decades, we in the Netherlands and Europe lived in the naive assumption that war in Europe is a thing of the past. The events in Ukraine helped us out of that dream. “The refugees from Ukraine have also woken up a lot in Abdolah himself. He fled Iran in the 1980s. Still, he does not want to talk about the misery of the war on May 12.” I would like to give “The refugees who come here are something beautiful: you have ended up in a free country. A special place where you get new opportunities.” The hopeful message also has a flip side: “Freedom also means that not everyone is happy for you. And you will have to find a place for yourself in your new country.” It is not an undisputed message, but Kader does not want to give moral judgments, but a helicopter view: “If you take a little distance and have a better overview of the situation, you can also react better.”

‘Fear is necessary’
History is currently being made, Abdolah believes. “We are at a turning point in history. I did not realize at the time that I was part of the first wave of migrants who want to change Europe and the Netherlands. The Netherlands will look very different in a hundred years.” He is not surprised that this evokes fear and even resistance. “Fear makes sense. It is a necessary part of the process. It must, no, be expressed. Hiding it and hiding it makes people and society sick. I do not want to vote for him, but I respect people like Geert Wilders. ” As far as Abdolah is concerned, that freedom can go very far: “Acknowledge and express your fears, even your aversion, to the limit of violence, as far as I am concerned. If you do not express yourself, you are betraying your own culture. ” It is not a pleasant message to those who come here as a refugee, Abdolah is also aware of that. But: “The freedom from the books is different than on the street. People are quick to dismiss someone who is different in the beginning. It is in nature. You also see it in animals. ” But shouldn’t people rise above their animal condition? “Yes, but only if they have been recognized and heard.” He is convinced that expressing disgust helps bridge the gap. “After seven expressions, the aversion dissolves, and then space is created.” Because expressing is one thing, staying in it is another: “Get in touch with the other person you fear or who you do not want here. Invite them. Get some coffee. Get to know people. And just criticize. For refugees and newcomers should not be spoiled so much. They also need to learn about how things work here and take their place. It is your responsibility as a newcomer. ” It sounds a bit like the ‘fight’ that Prime Minister Rutte talked about in 2015, and which at the time was much criticized. But Abdolah does not think it so strange: “It is the law of flight.”

free world
Is that a hopeful message? According to Kader Abdolah, yes. For behind this ‘law of flight’ a new free world reveals itself: “An escape also has a magical effect. Yes, it’s traumatic. You leave home, family, culture and the grave of your ancestors. But at the same time, you also break free from the inhibitions that you may not even have been aware of: cultural, religious, and spiritual inhibitions, even the inhibitions of language. When I came to Holland and started writing in Dutch, I felt like an astronaut who can move freely and weightlessly in space. Then I experienced ultimate freedom. ” For that is what is possible here: Once you have conquered your place, you can develop yourself. ”

Kader Abdolah realizes that others will think differently. Yet he wants to stay away from moral judgment. “Recognize that we are experiencing history. And the story is not about you as a person. It is inverted. Experience the story with its beautiful and difficult sides. Freedom also lies in consciously experiencing the time you live in. ”

You are cordially invited to the city meeting of the Nieuwe Kerk on Thursday 12 May. In addition to Kader Abdolah, Harcourt Klinefelter will also speak. He is a former press officer for Dr. Martin Luther King, participated in the civil rights movement in the United States and, after moving to the Netherlands, has continued the campaign for freedom, peace and reconciliation. The city speech is free to attend and starts at 20.00 and lasts until approximately 22.00.

Leave a Comment