I didn’t go to Memorial Day on May 4th. I was at work (in the Sorting Centre) but I heard over the radio the trumpet calls and the National Anthem. There was a two minute silence and everybody stopped working. Incidentally, I’m of the opinion that the Dutch National Anthem is the most beautiful in the world. When I hear it, I have to steel myself against tears.
During the National Remembrance of Dutch war victims (especially those in World War II), gay victims are also remembered. Today, passing by the Westermarkt on the way to my language class, I saw that the wreaths of flowers laid at the Homomonument eleven days ago are still there, by the water. I wanted to get off the tram and lay a flower but I was in a hurry. Silly, when you consider………how hurried we are, and we forget to take time for what is really important.
I quote from a Channel 4 document:-
In Germany, homosexual acts remained criminalised until the late 1960s, and gays convicted under the Nazis were not pardoned until 1998. Unlike other victims of the Nazis, none of them has received compensation for what they went through. How many died?…………… researchers estimate that some 50,000 men were convicted for committing homosexual acts, and that 15,000 gays died in Auschwitz alone, often as a result of being worked to death.
I have seldom been socially engaged. Writing music seems to soak up all one’s energies. But I have written several letters to newspapers where I felt someting needed to be said and I should try to say it. In the summer of 2006 a Scottish cardinal was quoted in the press as complaining about discrimination against Roman Catholics. I wrote to the Scotsman and they published this letter:-
Amsterdam, 8th August 2006
On New Year’s Day, no less, Cardinal Keith O’Brien saw fit to deliver an implacable rebuke from the pulpit over the government’s introduction of civil partnerships for same-sex couples. His homily discriminated against these unions in no uncertain terms, even adding insult to injury by associating them with the problem of sexually transmitted diseases.This same cardinal now protests against “sectarian discrimination”. I believe his cause is just, but I cannot myself view this particular prelate as a champion of fair-mindedness.
Yours Faithfully,Geoffrey King
It was a short letter, but it said something that needed to be said.