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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Dutch Remember the Dead and Celebrate Freedom

Much emphasis is now focused on human rights in other parts of the world
May 4 and 5 are days in The Netherlands in which the Dutchmen remember those who have fallen in the war 1940-1945 and in military action afterwards and a day later celebrate freedom. On 4th  May everywhere in the country there are memorials for the dead. In a complete turn of the mood a day later festivals and celebrations are held.

Every year this day, 4th May being the invasion of the Nazi's in the Netherlands and 5th May the end of the war, have a theme. This year it is "Freedom is not for sale". Every year the emphasis of these days is becoming less focused on the Second World War, although it continues to play a great part, and more and more also on the Human Rights situation in other parts of the world.

This year Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prime minister said that one can't celebrate freedom if one suffers from fear or lack of food. "Freedom on an empty stomach doesn't become very well", he spoke this morning at the start of the festivities. In this theme it is remembered that under the German occupation people often could buy food and other necessities, but never could buy their freedom of speech. Unwanted opinions where punished by execution or being look up in a concentration camp. Many Dutchmen, like other Europeans, paid with their lives for saying and acting upon there believes. The enemy soldiers decided who lived in a camp or faced execution.

In many countries today, according to the organization, Committee 4 and 5 May, the situation today is not so different. Many people have to flee for the opinions they stated, or face execution or prison. With this theme the organizers hope to convince the Dutch and others that freedom is not something you can buy, but it is a commodity that you have to work for to get and to hold.

Richard Wagenaar
The Netherlands