And so Meghan and Harry are married, like “we did.” “Royally.” Meghan, a mixed-race American woman and Harry a royal British prince. A fascinating story many are calling a ‘Cinderella’ story. Well, Meghan was not exactly washing dishes and cleaning house, nor was Joy. Meghan is an accomplished actress and a gifted person, and Joy was a clever and adored World Bank front office staff-assistant. Both are extremely charming. But it does sound a bit like a Cinderella story: Meghan is a mixture of a Caucasian father and an African mother. The gripping marriage scenes under clear skies (what a gift from Heaven to the UK!) beautified this ultimate contemporary event, which would have been impossible some forty-five years ago, when we married.
What a difference! I remember watching just-crowned Queen Elizabeth visiting Amsterdam with her Prince Philip in 1958. (The story goes she met him, a second cousin, in Greece when she was 13 and fell in love with him at that time already, writing letters to each other). The state visit to the Dutch Royal family was all stiff pomp, though cordial. Then followed the problems with growing-up children: Charles and Diana’s disastrous divorce, followed by Diana’s tragic death, Andrew and Fergy’s divorce, and daughter Anne’s divorce from Captain Mark Philips. Her third son, Prince Edward, is the only one remaining married to his first wife (Sophie Rhys-Jones). Queen Elizabeth reportedly acquiesced in Harry’s marriage for love to a US commoner of mixed race because she was tired of facing her children’s unhappy marriages. Harry and Meghan’s wedding pictures show that the royal protocol has fundamentally changed.
I can feel that difference probably more acutely than others: Joy Jaundoo – a Guyanese of East-Indian descent – and I, a Dutchman from Amsterdam, married in Washington, D.C. in 1974.
The only person reacting positively was my mother seeing her picture: “Wat beautiful children will you have.” The majority in stiff Holland was upset and against. “He better stay in America,” one noble uncle said. “Why doesn’t he marry one of our own,” one prominent American uttered (many Dutch said the same). An American friend walked out of the elevator when he saw the two of us together. “Don’t do that! You break your family’s bloodstream forever,” another friend offered. “Why don’t you marry a French girl,” a boss said. In Georgetown Guyana, the reception proved a lot warmer. It was mostly more accepting in the World Bank, an eminent multicultural institution where we worked. “In fifty years the whole world will be brown,” a supportive French girlfriend said. Working in a multi-cultural institution made adjustments to each other’s cultures surely a lot easier!
Guyana beach: Drinking coconut water is an art you have to learn before messing up.
Well, perhaps we had the foresight and were ahead of our time: what would that Dutch uncle say now? However, Meghan and Harry will find that mixing cultures and race does have its consequences. Their children will grow up in privileged circumstances but will still be faced with the fact that they are different from their peers born out of same-race families. As parents, they will have to compromise perhaps more than others. The mixture of different bloodstreams causes unmistakably unintended fallouts: how do the children feel internally towards others, to whom do they ‘belong?’ Do they resent the cards that they were dealt with by their parents’ decision? How do they adjust in their childhood and puberty, can they find a partner in their split world, how do they think about being put on this world still full of bigotry? All children and young adults have growing problems but biracial children perhaps more, requiring close parental attention.
Visiting home in Holland in 1979
We are blessed with two good-looking and successful children, with each showing the ‘remnants’ of our individual backgrounds. At my and my sister’s eightieth birthday anniversary last year in Holland at the Maarten Maartens House in Doorn, they were a tribute to today’s changing world. The pictures below of Joy, our children, family and friends clearly show that we and they are no ”exception” anymore. That has been royally confirmed.
Below follows a slightly revised column I wrote in 2014 at the time of the Hamas intrusion into Israël. I repeated it in 2017 in view of the anti-semitic resolution adopted by the UN Security Council, orchestrated by the outgoing Obama Administration and the disturbing anti-Israël speech by John Kerry. I repeat it again in the face of the Hamas riots regarding the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Noticing the continuing appeasement themes of the ‘liberal left’, it seems many still don’t see Hamas is mistreating its people by throwing them into the line of fire.
The UN is generally biased when it deals with Israël. Jerusalem was from millennia times in Jewish hands and was overrun by Arabs when Islam emerged in 630. The Holocaust was instrumental in assuring the Jews a State of their own in 1948. Jerusalem became “Arab” in 1949 when Jordan’s King Husain’s superior army overpowered the then still small Israëli army and annexed the Jewish capital. Israël took it back in the 1967 six-day war. The UN Security Council condemned this in the famous Resolution 242 which required Israël to “withdraw from the territories occupied in the recent conflict.”
ENCHANTÉ has Palestinian and Islamic friends. We sometimes agree to disagree but remain good friends. At a personal level, it works. At the political level, the Israeli-Arab conflict seems insoluble. Much is due to the anti-Israël media of the West, but also American and European antisemitic political forces. (more…)
The Hullahoo Bar is crammed with patrons at the counter. Ted, Frank and their regular raucous friends crowd around the half-circle, arguing testily.
“Yes,” Ted says. “I am writing a new book titled ‘Killing Deep Throat’. I’m fed up with this DC bureaucracy boiling up all this crap. I’m going to drain that swamp with the successful Killing Libido Pill and write how we did it.”
“You mean if you suck out all the libido from the system you actually will stop it from regurgitating hatred, obstruction, resistance and fake news?” Frank roared, laughing.
“Exactly,” Ted confirms. “You saw the results of my KLP book: the anti-viagra virus. Much better than that stuff about aging young. Tell me, you guys, don’t you feel relieved after taking the KLP, that you don’t have that urge anymore to go after women ?”
“I give you that,” Bert says. “But how do you apply that to killing ‘Deep Throat’?”
“I have researched it in-depth,” Ted explains. “Deep-throat people are the ones that constitute the megacenter of the swamp. They are all sexually frustrated by ED, inability to perform in bed or having to fake it, and jealous of men that are successful with women or women successful with men. Just look at the mainstream media anchors, always a man and a woman, each competing for being the most obnoxious gofer on the screen. If the guy takes the KLP, he instantly loses his drive to be more obnoxious than the female anchor.”
“But then you’d be left with those pesky females and nothing would change,” Bert says.
“The female anchor will lose her nerve because she’d feel she is no longer pursued. That frustrates her natural instincts. Look at our female friends here, how annoyed and inoperative they are because they get no free beers or Martinis anymore. True, Angie?”
“Don’t put me on the spot, Ted KLP,” Angie retorts. “All that gallantry you guys were displaying was only with one purpose in mind and that’s bedding me or her.”
“How would you impose that KLP on anchors?” Henry of The Washington Post asks.
“By mixing it in their coffee machines,” Ted says. “We have an army of paid KLP operators that serve these studios, government and newspaper offices. You don’t drink coffee? No problem, they mix it in the watercoolers. Just watch your offices at the Post, Henry. Don’t feel that horny anymore? You may already have been swallowing KLP.”
“And who pays for that?” Cindy asks, always on the money.
“The National Health Institute,” Ted says. “They have a stake in the matter because the growing political divide in the US is ruining the country’s national health and sharply increasing Medicaid and Medicare costs for psychiatrical care and domestic disputes. We’re expanding into the FBI, the Justice Department, even the Defense Department and the catacombs of the White House. You will soon hear that that FBI lover couple will disband because that stork guy has been klpeed and the whole case will come tumbling down.”
“This is pure subversion of democracy,” Henry says. “I’ll expose you and your group as underminers of the Me 2 movement, the new platform of the Democrat party.”
“What nonsense,” Ted balks. “You mean I undercut Me 2 if I KLpee the guys they’re fighting, the Weismans, Roses, Lauers and Cosbys? You mean that to remain relevant M2 needs these guys back into the limelight somewhere so that they can continue barking at them?”
“Precisely,” Henry says. “Your group must emanate from the right that opposes sinful movements. Me 2 welcomes freedom.”
“What has that got to do with Killing Deep Throat, Ted?” asks Frank.
“I’m positive that all this political wrangling is sex-related,” Ted says. “Why is the special prosecutor so interested in that playboy girl instead of that silly Russian collusion? I’m sure that if we klpee him he and his case would disintegrate.”
Henry slammed his fist on the counter. “I oppose that because it would destroy all the media fun.”
“You see?” Alicia yelps across the counter. “You perverts only like to write about porn to sell your paper and you don’t care a fig about making America great again.”
“Hah!” Henry yells back. “We write it because you want to read it, and if we wrote only about the low unemployment rate you wouldn’t buy the paper.”
Ted scoffs. “Watch your Keurig coffeemaker, Henry. Soon you’ll be only interested in writing about the unemployment rate.”
Ted and Frank sit at the counter of their regular Hullahoo bar for their weekly chat, and sitting not far from them we are overhearing their babble. It’s a busy night with many patrons sharing their corner.
“Do you have skeletons in your closet?” asks Ted, referring to a politician whose election failed after sex revelations surfaced in the media.
“Oh man!” Frank responds with a sigh. “I wouldn’t dare open it for fear they’d all tumble out with a rattling cabal. And you?”
“Mine are in the garden shed,” Ted confesses. “Too many to count. At night they haunt me, making me scream, yelling ‘why was I so stupid!’ Then Ann asks, ‘Are you all right?’ What am I supposed to say? If I told her, she’d probably run away.”
“But why do only men have skeletons in their closets?” Bert wonders, sitting next to Ted. “Women are never accused of hiding them.”
“Women use closets to store clothes, Bert,” Frank says. “You of all people who live with one should know. There ain’t any room for skeletons.”
“It’s because you guys are the perverts,” joins in Alicia, sitting next to Frank. “It’s us the weaker sex that always gets molested.”
“I know a few of you who collaborated quite eagerly in the molestation,” Frank shoots back.
“But you must’ve started it,” Alicia says. “Passing by in the office and glimpsing invitingly? Asking to have a coffee together, then lunch and then dinner, and then the nightclub with dancing cheek to cheek and more? And then the skeleton gets baked.”
“You could’ve said ‘No’ but instead you went along,” Frank says, grimacing. “Our skeletons are shared with your permissive weaker sex, but it’s always us who get burned.”
“I didn’t speak of myself, just the experiences of my girlfriends,” Alicia says, looking away.
“So you don’t have skeletons, only your girlfriends do?” asks Ted, pressing her. “Your type’s always the holy Mary.”
“They’re all hypocrites,” Bert shouted, gulping his beer. “Them so-called journalists who uncover these skeletons have tons of them in their own closets. He who’s without sin should cast the first stone. Remember Bible class?”
“If you remember, Alicia, the adulterer in that story was a woman.” Frank sneers.
“That was then and this is now,” Cathy buts in, sitting next to Bert. “Sad enough it took two thousand years for the roles to turn around.”
“But a man still needs a woman to make a skeleton,” Bert argues. “So you guys must have skeletons, too. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Not so, Mister Bert!” Cathy hollers. “You heard about that scumball of a sports coach that molested all those trusting young gymnasts against their will?”
“And that ugly guy in Hollywood who forced himself on actresses if they wanted a job?” Alicia adds.
“And what about that lewd role model of all husbands and fathers, Bill Cosby?” yells Cindy from the far end of Ted’s.
Sudden silence reigns at the counter. All males pull shameful faces feeling they truly belong to a bunch of public perverts. In an effort to turn the conversation back to the usual uplifting clatter, Ted asks Frank, “Can you share any skeleton you’re hiding?”
Frank’s face clears up. “So glad you asked. There’s one I want to get rid of. I took it out from the shed at Halloween but forgot it had an eye-operated talker. Each time trick-or-treat kids passed by, it squeaked ‘Come in and meet Frank Womanizer.’ The whole neighborhood came out, especially moms, who told their daughters to stay away from me! Colleagues gave it to me as an office award. I became the neighborhood villain. It ruined my chances of running for State Office.’
“You see,” Alicia says. “You ain’t any better than the rest of them. You better pay me a drink to make good.”
“Bert, any skeletons you want to share?” Frank asks, ignoring Alicia’s demand because he’d taken his killing libido pill.
Bert shifts on his stool, uncomfortable he’s put on the spot. “Mine are only financial. I claim the fifth.”
“Ted, would you volunteer?” Frank asks.
“The most embarrassing thing that got me fired. I had a bad dinner the night before and went with awful tummy cramps to the office. I was asked to see the boss and as he hadn’t returned yet from a meeting had to wait for him in his office when it flew out. I didn’t know it would be that bad. I almost fainted myself. I thought of running away but he suddenly came in, got furious, threw all the windows open, and shouted me out. It took me two years before I got hired somewhere else as everybody kept gossiping about it.”
Laughter all around. “But that’s not a skeleton that interests the media,” Henry says, sitting next to Alicia. He’s from The Washington Post, so he knows. “It must be juicy, not stinky.”
“Come on, Henry,” Bert says. “Why are male skeletons always female? Because you guys make it so? Skeletons do not wear their sex, so how can you see what’s what? Dirt diggers you are!”
“Hey, Bert, I must write to earn my bread and butter, man! You do it with financial crookery. I’ll find out and leak it to the Special Prosecutor.”
“Sure,” Bert retorts. “From sources at a bar.”
Then a busty skeleton enters the bar door and rattles to the counter. “Hi, I’m Stormy Waters and am for hire.”
“Can I buy you a drink?” Henry asks.
Sitting cramped in my window seat, I wondered why the moon had this mocking smile on his face. My heliphone didn’t ring. Maybe because of secret regulations between Heaven and air traffic control? I still didn’t know the whereabouts of Anita’s husband’s prison. Stumbling through customs on arrival at dawn, a voice told me that the cab driver would know. “Oslo fengsel,” he confirmed. After going through town, he turned into a long driveway lined by leafless trees and snow-covered grounds, ending at a red-stone somber building. “You wait,” I said and went in. The guards watched me, quizzically. I was dressed as a priest, my faith-inspiring white collar shining trustingly behind the white scarf around my neck. I didn’t speak a word of Norwegian but had many times mumbled Anita’s husband’s name, Wilhelm Lassen, that bloody Viking who’d trounced me with Anita.
I sat in the bare visiting room when Wilhelm Lassen entered, took the only other seat, his face one question mark. I gazed at his hands. As I’d suspected, he didn’t wear rings in prison. I hoped he spoke a bit of English.
“My name’s Father John,” I said. “I’m bringing you a final word from Anita.”
The man’s face grew grey, his lips tightened, his eyes squinted. “Anita is dead,” he said with a rolling accent. “I did not do nothing. She suffered shortage of breath. Who are you?”
“Her confessor when she lived with you in Geneva. She left this small package to hand you in case she’d die before you.” I pulled a blue jewelry box from my pocket and handed it to him. In it was a golden ring I’d dipped with a tweezer into a small base with liquid cyanide in the airplane toilet a short while before landing. A friend at a chemical factory had given me the deadly stuff, believing I’d use it to kill persistent mice in my basement. If Wilhelm would slide the ring on his finger, his skin would absorb the cyanide and death would follow soon.
Wilhelm opened the box and stared at it. “My wedding ring?” he asked. “I thought I’d lost it. Rar,” (‘strange’) he muttered. Then he shifted it onto his ring finger, looking sad.
The guard came in and warned me my time was up. I stood, said farewell to Wilhelm, and left as fast as I could. The cab driver took me rapidly to the airport, and I grabbed the first flight out to Amsterdam to erase my footsteps, hopefully having left pandemonium at the Oslo fensel. In Amsterdam, I got the last seat in a crowded United flight to Washington, mission accomplished, I reckoned.
Back home at night, the heliphone rang. It was Anita.
“Thank you, Johnnyboy. He’s nicely burning in Hell, screaming his lungs out.”
“But won’t I be punished?”
“No, you’ll be rewarded in Heaven when you get here in a while. Can’t wait.” Her heavenly voice drifted away.
“Crime pays in the afterlife,” I whispered and fell asleep, uncomfortable about Anita’s eagerness. Wilhelm’s death was reported as a suicide.