I was the last one to enter the classroom. The teacher was not there yet and the fellow students were noisy. Suddenly everyone started to laugh when I read a text on the board when entering the classroom. "God, give me a gun and I shoot Frank!", Was chalked on the board. I felt the ground disappear under me. I would prefer to leave the classroom as soon as possible. I was ashamed. "Why is this happening now? I do not hurt a fly? I am only a Jehovah's Witness! There is nothing wrong with that, is not it? "
This week I drove for my work at the A7 in the province of Groningen. I picked up a truck that apparently was on its way to an event or meeting. It was a promotional car of the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM). The trailer was provided with all kinds of promotional statements about the NAM. Before me, a car drove a bit less when he drove the driver of the truck. I saw that the motorist raised a middle finger to the driver of the truck. I could not remember that a traffic violation had occurred, which caused the driver to show this behavior. I quickly realized that the aggression could have to do with NAM. Perhaps the motorist had an antipathy towards NAM; perhaps his house had been damaged by an earthquake and he had landed in a legal battle with NAM. All assumptions. It may well be that the motorist was angry with NAM, as many citizens in the province of Groningen are indignant about NAM. One thing is certain, he expressed his feelings to the driver in a non-adult way. In fact, this behavior is counterproductive.
At the same time I realized that the NAM driver might experience this behavior of fellow road users in traffic every day. He must have a thick skin to endure this every day, while he just does his job. "If I were the truck driver, how would I deal with this aggression? What would that do to me? " I was triggered by this thought. It reminded me of the above incident at school with the hateful text on the board.
Netherlands, I need something from my heart! I see this hateful behavior of people widely in society. A hard and loveless way to indicate that you do not agree with a group of people, a religious community, an ethnic minority, a political party, an association, etc.
I am concerned about how we express our outrage in society about social problems, such as sexual abuse of children within closed communities such as Jehovah's Witnesses. There is a lot to do here. It is widely highlighted in the media. It is a good thing that the taboo on this fraught issue is broken. The indignation about sexual abuse can lead to an improvement in the situation of children in the long term.
The individual Jehovah's Witness is often a sincere person and is not the cause of the suffering that is caused, just as the driver of the truck is not the problem. The policy and behavior of the management of this community is mainly the point of discussion. Do not mock the individual people when they come to your door. But make the topic negotiable and tell what you think of the problem. Show leadership in this! I regularly see hate speech on social media and aggression in my environment towards the community of Jehovah's Witnesses. It is no solution to argue for a prohibition of this religious community. The change must take place from the bottom of this organization, through talking to each other. Go into the dialogue without being directly ready with judgments. Questions such as 'do you think children's safety is important, why do you think it is important and what is necessary for this', can initiate a respectful dialogue. Netherlands, let us now more often discuss how our children in this society can grow up safely instead of condemning a group of people.
Will we make our world a little bit nicer together?