by Mindy Ran
The New Year has begun with a veritable "avalanche" of activity on our debate forums and in our post bag. This week we will catch up with what has you talking, and next week we will answer some of your questions.
In the news and current affairs, our coverage of the story on 'Animal rights activists force out property developer' by Louise Dunne, and 'Police protection for Venray mayor and alderman after threats from animal rights activists ' by Dave McGuire and Louise Dunne has created quite a bit of debate. What is perhaps surprising is that a lot of that debate is in support of the activists.
The story so far goes a bit like this: There were plans for an industrial property development called Sciencelink to be built near the town of Venray in the south of the Netherlands. The park was to house biotech research companies, many of whom carry out testing on animals.
Animal rights groups in the Netherlands are vehemently opposed to the project and over the Christmas period, members of the Animal Liberation Front (DBF) visited the homes of a number of the development company's directors. The property developers have now pulled out.
Jan Velema of Canada had this to say:
"The Venray city councillor who said, 'I've always believe we live in a democracy and the way the animal rights activists are behaving is not the way we should treat each other,' is of course a radical hypocrite. He or she obviously believes that it isn't okay to threaten other humans but it is okay to 'experiment' on other animals. This is the fundamental problem with humanity. Humanity puts itself first when in actuality we are connected to all life. I give Hail, Hail to these activists for their courage. The rest of us are cowards."
Rene Woodham of Brazil contributed this comment:
"Animals cannot speak for themselves so someone has to do it!"
Georgette Chalker of both the USA and the Netherlands joined in:
"I salute these brave heroes who will make a difference in thousands of innocent lives. All creators have a consciousness which experiences pain. If we call ourselves intelligent beings, we should not afflict pain on the innocent. Animal activists cry real tears everyday. Salute to Holland! Salute to these heroes!"
Another of our current affairs articles, 'Queen should only cut ribbons... ' by Philip Smet, highlighted in last week's column, about the row between Queen Beatrix and leader of the right-wing populist Freedom Party, Geert Wilders was followed up by 'Half the Dutch want the Queen out of politics', also by Philip Smet.
According to this latest report, a recent poll instigated as a result of Wilders comments say that 50 percent of the Dutch want the Queen to get out of Dutch politics and give up her role as a member of government. As with the first article, this debate has many of you going one way, and many of you going the other.
Nora is firmly in support of the Queen and the monarchy:
"It's a pity controversy appears at the end of a highly beneficial reign for the Netherlands. Monarchy might have been here for only 200 years, but the House of Orange is such an inseparable part of the country's history since its beginnings. I, for one, want to see Queen Amalia retire in old age in favour of her son/daughter, provided I make it to 100 years..."
BF from the USA may or may not support the Queen, but has some definite ideas about Geert Wilders:
"If the Queen were advocating the racial superiority of Germanic tribes, or of the royal families (so frequently identical), I could see the problem... but objections to a plea for tolerance seems a bit fascist. Looks like Holland has found its equivalent of Rush Limbaugh in Geert Wilders, but with extra hair and more comical-looking. From a distance, it looks like liberalism in Holland under the EU has intentionally and strategically been allowed to get out of control in order to create a conservative backlash."
Which, in true debate forum fashion, inspired Sandra, from the Netherlands and the USA to have her say about BF and another American who has posted a comment:
"You two Americans who posted here do not speak for me or many other Americans that I know who support Geert Wilders. You should be grateful that such a courageous person as Geert Wilders risks his own life to defend our western cultures and freedom."
As the machinery of the Dutch government is not known for moving quickly, this debate will probably run for quite a while. Much like the coverage of the Presidential Campaign currently gaining steam in the USA on the road to pick the candidates to represent each of the main parties, otherwise known as the Primaries.
Newsline ran a recent article, 'Finding your best candidate for the US presidency -
"This is very interesting. I gained a clearer understanding of my tendencies in choosing a presidential candidate."
Finally, for a more general comment, from Todd in the USA that continues to show us that web-savvy does not automatically shut out shortwave:
"I discovered your broadcast on shortwave, which then directed me to your internet stream. I now listen to both. I bought my son a shortwave radio for Christmas (he's nine) and it's something we enjoy listening to together. By the way. I am a web-services architect. I enjoy your programming. Thanks."