October 24, 2006

Inburgeringscursus, or 'In Lebanon, we drive with our arm on the door'

Inburgering; It’s the Dutch buzz word of the moment. Assimilation. These days, it’s all about ‘assimilation’ in the migrant policy of Holland. It seems we experience some difficulties with Arabs that fail to ‘adapt’ themselves to the Western society. We have a great many Arabs that are not assimilated, or ‘ingeburgerd’, as we say in Holland.
Mostly it is because of a lack of understanding. The older generation of Arabs, that arrived in the 60’s, never got the chance to fully master the Dutch language, and as a result were always living on the outskirts of society. This wasn’t much of a problem for the Dutch as there weren’t that many Arabs to start with, and the ones that were there minded their own business.
The Dutch, very conveniently, never did try very much to help them assimilate, sort of hoping that eventually they would go away, or at the very least would not speak up.

Well, obviously they didn’t. They stayed and they got children. Some of them have become Dutcher than Dutch. Others haven’t. They demand that society accept them as they are. Well, you don’t know the Dutch if you think that is going down very well. I know that we Dutch have the reputation of being the most tolerant nation in the world, but I can tell you that it is our general lack of interest in other peoples affairs that is often mistaken for tolerance.

Anyway, we are now having ‘inburgerings cursussen’; assimilation courses for new immigrants. To make sure that they understand that in Holland we do things differently than in the Arab world. We, as Dutch, make relentless fun of other people's religion, or actually we make fun of just about anyhting. 'Afzeiken' we call that in Dutch (pissing off, would be the direct translation). In my family we are quite good at it. And we believe that when living in Holland, you should be a good sport about it.
I had some lessons in assimilation as well, when, on my first interview with Hezbollah, somewhere in 1990, I drove into Dayiha on my Honda cross motor; 150 cc. That did not go down very well with the then press officer, I guy who I only got to know as a certain 'Mr. Mahmoud', if I remember well. Now if I had been a boy, that might have passed. But I wasn't. He was quite nice about it, offered me a green veil as I walked into the office (they do not do that anymore; they have, in turn, adapted to the Western press since then), but he did mention to me that 'when in Rome,' etc etc,' so could I please come in a car next time?
I did.
The government in Holland is having actual debates on these assimilation courses. I am not quite sure what they teach, but all this (yes, all this) came to mind when I drove through Beirut this morning.
The weather was wonderful, so I had my car window rolled down, and my arm resting on the door. “Look Mom, just like you,” I heard my daughter pipe in the back. I looked in the mirror, and indeed, she had her arm resting on the door, just like me.

And it dawned on me that when it comes to driving, I have assimilated wonderfully well to Lebanese society. I even drive with one arm; the other one hangs out of the window. And now my daughter is learning as well.
So if they ever start an Assimilation Course' for foreigners, they should not forget that 'in Lebanon, we drive with our arm resting on the door.'

15 comments:

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

I loved your post! We need assimilation in Morocco...Come swing by my blog, if you have a chance.

Veeshir said...

I've been to Holland a few times and I love the Dutch, I always say they are aggressively tolerant.
That's why I was very surprised about what I read about in Holland about problems with Muslims.

My opinion, as an American, is that Dutch Muslims who think that "tolerant"="weak" are going to have a surprise coming.

Marijke said...

One more thing about our "inburgerings cursus": my 22-year old very Dutch son, who went to live in Holland this summer after living his life here in Beirut, has to do this course! And he even knows the "Wilhelmus" by heart, something his mum cannot say!
Marijke

Anonymous said...

Nee, dat meen je niet! Wil ik wel eens weten wat ie moest leren op die cursus, ben zeer benieuwd.

marijke said...

Ze leren daar nederlandse taal, terwijl mijn zoon een brief schrijft met mischien 3 of 4 taalfouten, ik wil dat de gemiddelde leerling in nederlands wel eens zien doen. Zijn mede-leerlingen zijn: "ikke nie wete"-niveau. Maar hij leert ook welke instantie welke zaken op hoort te lossen, onze bekende burocratie dus. Het "paarse krokodil" syndroom.

Anonymous said...

Hi List of hot girls in your area. ENTER
big tit hotgirls xanax sex sexcam phentermine+cheap xanax+online phentermine sex hotbabe sexforadult sex sexygirlsfree sexygirls sexfree adult hotgirlsonline
freeadult soma sexvideo valium meridia ativan xanax drugs valium xanax+cheap viagra drug store viagra levitra cialis
Check prices of these useful pills:tramadol pharmacy search cialis soma ambien meridia ultram tramadol carisoprodol viagra
for fun

Cialis Soft said...

hello friend very very interesting information about Inburgeringscursus, or 'In Lebanon, we drive with our arm on the door' !! thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

[url=http://community.bsu.edu/members/buy+online+Viagra.aspx]Viagra without prescription shipped overnight express[/url]

Anonymous said...

hi dudes. I'm really into shoes and I was searching allowing for regarding that singular make. The prices as regards the sneakers were around 300 pounds on every site. But completely I set this locate selling them for the benefit of half price. I really want those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]prada sneakers[/url]. I will absolutely purchase them. what can you say about it?

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Anonymous said...

good evening everyone. I'm actually into shoes and I was digging as far as something that particular model. The prices due to the fact that the velcros were approximately 200 dollars everwhere. But finally I found this site selling them as a remedy for half price. I in reality love these [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will absolutely order these. what is your opinion?

Anonymous said...

good morning dudes. I'm really into shoes and I have been looking for the sake of that meticulous model. The prices due to the fact that the boots are approximately 300 pounds everwhere. But finally I set this locate selling them someone is concerned half price. I absolutely want those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will probably order them. what do you think?

Anonymous said...

hi friends. I'm actually into shoes and I was digging for the sake of that meticulous make. The prices seeking the sneakers are about 170 pounds on every page. But finally I base this location selling them for half price. I really like those [url=http://www.shoesempire.com]gucci sneakers[/url]. I will probably buy these. what do you think?

Cris said...

HI friends, this information is very interesting, I would like read more information about this topic, thanks for sharing.

homes for sale in costa rica

niz said...

Hello .. firstly I would like to send greetings to all readers. After this, I recognize the content so interesting about this article. For me personally I liked all the information. I would like to know of cases like this more often. In my personal experience I might mention a book called Generic Viagra in this book that I mentioned have very interesting topics, and also you have much to do with the main theme of this article.