A Dutch Affair
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by Sally Dixon
Description: Sadime is alienated from her Moroccan family. Despite her father's threats, she wants a boyfriend of her own choosing. Young Dutch student Jaap van der Broek is captive by Sadime, but their relationship looks doomed. Ironically, terrorist Abdul is the catalyst who will bring them all together?
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, 2010 SynergEbooks
eBookwise Release Date: April 2010
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [369 KB]
Reading time: 228-320 min.
The cars in front of them ground slowly past the two policemen who had parked their motorbikes across the highway, effectively forming a roadblock.
Marianne nervously opened the driver's window as they drew level with the dark--uniformed figure; cold air cutting through the warm cocoon inside the car.
"Papieren alstublieft." The tone was abrupt and a pair of cold blue eyes looked searchingly over the car, missing nothing. Pressing back into his seat alongside hers, Doug could feel his breathing involuntarily speed up. Shit, why did these guys always make him feel guilty? He watched the officer's face as Marianne handed over her driver's license and the car papers. The policeman scrutinized them searchingly and held out his hand again. This time he spoke in English, obviously having registered Marianne's foreign sounding name. "And your passenger's papers, please."
Doug fumbled inside his coat and retrieved his passport from an inside pocket. This was also scanned agonizingly slowly before they were given a curt nod and told they were at liberty to proceed.
"That's really odd. I've never been stopped here before. I wonder what's up." Marianne gave a shiver of unease, glancing again at the policemen in her rear view mirror as they drew away before leaning down and turning on the car radio. "Let's see if there's anything on the news." There was a blast of pop music, jangling Doug's nerves in the confined space of the car. Before long it was interrupted by a news flash, of which Doug understood hardly a word.
"Do you speak Dutch?" he asked when it had finished.
"Not well, but I understood most of that," Marianne replied thoughtfully. "It seems there has been some trouble down at Pernis.
"It's a huge petrochemical complex -- refineries and suchlike, outside of Rotterdam. The Company has a big interest in the site, so I guess it's something you may get involved in."
"It's quite a long way from here though, isn't it? Why the road blocks here?"
Marianne pursed her lips. "I'm not sure but I think they said it's linked to some politician who's gotten involved in environmental issues -- Otto van Schalken. He's apparently speaking in The Hague at some conference or other this evening... There have been death threats against him -- he's not real popular with the eco lobby and it looks like the police are taking it pretty seriously this time after the assassination of Pym Fortuyn a while back."
"Oh yeah, I remember reading something about that at the time, but I'm hazy about the details."
"Fortuyn was a real liberal -- except when it came to immigration. Holland has had huge numbers of immigrants in recent years, especially Muslims and they don't tend to integrate very well. Pym Fortuyn didn't believe that a multicultural society really worked, at least not here with our present mix. One of the big problems was that he was gay and of course Muslims hate homosexuals. They don't like women much either come to that." She gave a dismissive shrug. "Anyway Fortuyn said that he felt it was wrong that a society that had only recently received civil rights for gays and women, should embrace millions of new immigrants who despised that freedom and threatened those rights..." She sighed, her voice flat. "They didn't like what he stood for -- so they killed him." Her eyes took in his slight flicker of surprise. "Oh, I know the news reports said that his murderer was a Dutch environmental activist, but at his trial he admitted that he did it to protect the Muslims."
Doug sensed from the grim look on Marianne's face that there more behind her reaction than sorrow for the death of the politician. "Wasn't there some other guy who was murdered at about the same time for the same sort of reasons?"
"Theo van Gogh? Yes, he was a filmmaker and he made this film called submission about how women are really oppressed in Muslim societies. He was assassinated by a Moroccan immigrant."
"Hmm...Is it still a problem, the immigration thing?" Doug asked. "Or has it calmed down a bit since then?"
Marianne sighed again, expressively. "No, it's still a problem, especially in the cities where there are so many immigrants. They're not all Moroccans of course, Holland has a lot of Surinamers because it was a Dutch colony for so long -- they say there are almost as many Surinamers in Holland as there are in Surinam. At least they speak Dutch and generally integrate OK, but the Moroccans don't. Some of them are third generation immigrants; they live in their own very tight knit groups, with their own schools and they still mostly don't speak Dutch."
They had entered the city now and Marianne pulled over into a feeder lane for the hotel where Doug was to be staying. "It's this one isn't it?"
He glanced up at the facade of the Hotel des Indes, liking immediately its air of old world grandeur and position in the older part of town -- he'd noted some of the embassies were close by, located behind similarly imposing facades. Very different from the more modern hotels they had passed on the outskirts of the city.
Marianne swung into a parking space in front of the hotel, the small car jolting on the cobbles and turned to face him with a rueful smile. "I'm sorry. I hope I haven't bored you. I'm afraid it's a bit of a bandwagon of mine, the Muslim problem. My younger brother is gay and I've always felt protective of him since my mom and dad died so I feel quite strongly when certain sectors of society threaten people like him." She shrugged her shoulders again. "I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm not racist -- we have some great Moroccan and Surinamer guys working in the company. It's their ideology that's the problem, not them."
She stared out of the windshield unseeingly, her profile etched by the weak winter sun shining into the car. "One of the things I always loved about Holland when I used to come and visit with my mom and dad was their tolerance as a nation -- you could be anything you wanted here... and now all that is being destroyed." She suddenly looked back at him, embarrassed. "I'm sorry, I am boring you now. Enough of my problems, I haven't asked you what you're going to be doing here exactly -- you've been brought in for some sort of security check, is that right?"
Doug shook his head. "You're not boring me at all, really. I need all these insights to do my job properly." He smiled. "To answer your question, yes, I'm in security. The powers that be reckon there may be some problems brewing."
Marianne pulled a face. "Oh, there are plenty of those all right, and not just from the immigrant community."