I just wrote a speech I am willing to share with you and the world. Hopefully I can use it when justice can correct the flaws of a country in despair…….
“Honourable judge, I want to ask you to speak to you today. Not only to you, but to all in this room here today, and even to everybody outside this room, in this beautiful city of love.
A little more than 16 years ago, I invited a beautiful girl from Brasil to visit me in Holland. Young, unemployed just graduated from university and single. We met just a few months earlier in Rio de Janeiro and I was happy I was able to invite her over. She brought a brand new passport, a few hundred dollars and guilders and my address and telephone number in her pocket. On Schiphol Airport she was stopped by the Dutch border police. In the mean time I heard nothing on my side of the border about her whereabouts, neither did she hear anything from me about my whereabouts. We both were angry, scared….. maybe, but hopeful things will turn out right. It took the police a few hours before they called me to the room as well. The explanation was simple: The police wanted to check me out. Because a young person with so much cash and a Dutch address in her pocket was for them reason enough for suspicion. A few hours later they let us go. We were happy. Not only for being together, but also for these safety measures. These measures prevent, for example, illegal prostitution and are there to protect and serve the good willing people.
Now, little more than 16 years later, I invited my brother in law from Brasil. A man, married and a young father of 2 gorgeous boys, having a job in Rio de Janeiro, being a volunteer in the local Catholic Church. My wife and I (we are married for 15 years in 2016!!) are happy to be able to invite him to visit us. I met him over 16 years ago, and last seen each other about 8 years ago. We have never met his children yet, and he never met our youngest pride. He never travelled outside Brasil, nor to say to Europe. This man is an example to me, to you, to every man in this room, in this city, on this planet. This man is dedicated to his loved ones more than most men are. Even when times get tough, and they do in Brasil, from time to time.
Anyway, we told him to bring a brand new passport, travel light, because there is nothing he needs while he will stay with us the whole time. He had a little letter with him telling the officials he is visiting his sister and staying with us. Together with our names, address and telephone-numbers in his pocket he went on his maiden voyage by an Air France airplane. On Paris airport Charles de Gaulle he was stopped by the French police. In the mean time we heard nothing on our side about his whereabouts, neither did he hear anything from us. A few hours later he could reach me, he told me was held by the police. We both were angry, scared……. maybe, but hopeful things will turn out right. It took me 6 hours to get to Paris by car to support him. Although I was at Zapi3, which we called the ‘hotel’ ever since, at 7.30pm (visiting hours are until 8pm) they did not let me in. They did not speak to me, nor explain anything to me. No-one spoke one word of English…
I went on to my friends in Paris. We are proud and rich to have such great friends in Paris to let me stay unexpectedly in their house. The day after I would try to see him again. Reasons why he was forbidden to continue his travel were explained and put on paper – in French only. There were two reasons:
- His papers where not in order: He missed an invitation from our side….
- He did not carry sufficient money for his stay: An estimated €1000!!…..
I tried to explain them (at Zapi3) he carried a brand new passport, a letter (from which the Dutch Police – Marechaussee – agreed as fit for the travel!!) with our address stating his visit with his sister, but there was nothing they could and want to do. Again no-one spoke English or dare to do so. I carried enough money to hand over to him to support his visit and finally, together with a nice friendly officer, we did. We also made a more official invitation in French (for a visit to his SISTER…..), so all requirements should be in order now…
Untill now it did not change his situation. Although I am confident in your judgement and that you will decide accordingly and we can finally share precious time together I want to address to you, this room and the world about the following:
All of us, my brother in law, me, my wife, my friends here with us, support the strict rules on traveling. We support all right measures to keep the wrong people out. But the rules should also allow the right people to enter our free world!
“Our free world”, we always call our world the free world, because we live in a society based on freedom. We are entitled to say whatever and go wherever we want without the risk of being caught and send to jail. Our “free world” based on three simple terms. Terms invented in this great country: France. Terms represented by the colours of your flag, and also mine (the Dutch one). Egalité, Fraternité and Liberté. First time introduced during the French Revolution in the 19th century but finds it origin in the century before already. These French word are the basis of the whole free (Western) world. A world that consists of countries like France, Holland, America but also Brasil and many many more. A world that we defend and cherish. Values that we fight for and are proud of.
Since the last years attacks in France (Charlie Hebdo and later on again in Paris) and more recent on Zaventem in Belgium and the constant threat for new attacks more and more national leaders declare “states of emergency” and claim to be a country at war. All to defend our three main values: “Egalité, Fraternité and Liberté”. But can we be in war? War is a machine that exists in the wish for two different countries that claim the same property. Is that the case nowadays? I think not. I do not say we are not under attack, but it is not war. The attacks are not based on the wish to gain the grounds we live on. The attacks are not even based on the wish to claim our values. The attacks have only one goal, the goal to destroy these values. Once these values are destroyed the opposite has won.
Constantly I hear world leaders say these terrorist won’t win. Constantly I hear world leaders say that they are determined to overcome these attacks and our values will prevail. A while ago these speeches made me silently proud. All leaders from the free world claim to stick together in defending these values. But so far, unfortunately without success. Attacks still take place, not only on our own grounds, but all over the world.
Dear court, honourable judge. Again I state I am in favour of strict controls at our borders and stronger regulations on who and when people can enter our free world, but this last week to me was a proof the terrorists are winning. Our three most valuable terms did not longer exist. My brother in law was captured while he did nothing wrong – His Liberté was there for strongly limited. Any possibility to correct any failure I or he made in the recent past was made impossible – Our Fraternité was there for obviously less important. The way he has been treated: For two days in a row now, he was put in a cold and empty room at the airport trying to break him so he would ‘voluntarily’ requests his return to Brasil (and repeatedly asking him to do so) is clearly a breach of our value Egalité.
But like I said earlier: I am confident in you – honourable Judge – to correct this. You have the power to restore these values. You have the power to regain a little of my faith, of my brothers faith, even the faith of many others in this room and outside this room, to set him free and let him join the remaining of his holiday in our shared free world. To show him we are brothers who live in peace and are equal to one another. Despite our difference in background and lives, it is the only right thing to do!
Thank you for your time!!
Your brother and friend in this free world,
PS1: I did not get the opportunity to use the speech, I even did not bring it with me. I had my moment to answer some questions, but the main part was played by my brother in law. And he did marvelous!! I am proud to have is my brother!!!
PS2: The judge did the only right thing he could do!!