May 4th, 2007


Two minutes

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Every year on the 4th of may, 8 o'clock in the evening, in the Netherlands we remember the deaths fallen in all wars, a tradition started after WW II. The two minutes of silence always impressed me as a little boy, when I had no idea what a war was, apart from the fact that a lot of good books had been written about it.

Now I am a bit older. I still haven't experienced a war, but I have read enough to understand a bit. I have to spoken to many refugees who only start to describe the atrocities after many years and after they have learned to trust you or anyone at all.

This picture taken by one of my students last week in one of the barracks of the former concentration camp Sachsenhausen, near Oranienburg on the outskirts of Berlin, tells us about a non-existing silence in a camp. So therefore in just over half an hour I will be silent for 2 minutes again. Like every year. Because I can. Because it is just a small thing to do. Because even if it doesn't actually help to get rid of war, it might make some people think about it.