Black Pete: The Continuing Story

Update from H. Numan:

The DA will prosecute the people who blocked the coaches of the ‘peaceful’ demonstrators. The DA takes this form of vigilante justice very serious. Those brave people don’t have to worry about a jail term or even a steep fine.

Immediately a crowd-funding action was started to collect money to pay for the fines and legal assistance. A lawyer volunteered to defend the accused, free of charge. Legal experts have already said the DA cannot charge them with the very serious crime of incitement to riot or racial hatred. All he can do is fine them for delaying traffic. If everyone is penalized to the maximum, €15,000 is necessary to cover it. The crowd-source already has $25,000. Anything over the amount will be donated to a charitable cause.

Every year about this time the Progressive Left in The Netherlands attempts to get Black Pete banned, and every year they fail. This year is no exception.

Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has the story.

Black Pete: The continuing story

by H. Numan

Folks, it’s becoming a tradition. Our social justice warriors call for racism, and I have to debunk them. Every year it happens again. And again and again. Always about nonsensical issues. For example, the Golden Carriage contains allegoric images of dark people. Racism! Give lots of money to Suriname and the other former colonies for compensation! Remove those images instantly! The Golden Carriage was build in 1898, when values were very different. Slavery didn’t exist anymore, nor did the artists feel particularly racist when they painted their allegory. You cannot look at history with our current view of today. Doesn’t work. But that never stopped progressive ignoramuses.

Another example: the word for waiter in French is garçon. It also means boy. The very few American progressive ignoramuses who do speak (some) French are appalled. This is beyond the pale! They call waiters ‘boy’! The shame! The humiliation! The fact that ‘boy’ has a different meaning in American English doesn’t mean that this word is racist or even offensive in other languages.

Exactly the same goes for Zwarte Piet, or Black Pete, in The Netherlands. We have a centuries old tradition: Sinterklaas, Saint Nicholas. You celebrate it too, but a more recent version of it. And on a different date. We celebrate Sinterklaas right now, with the highlight on the evening of 5 December. You celebrate Santa Claus on Christmas. Santa Claus is a mixture of Dutch, German and English traditions merged together into Santa Claus. In the 19th century these traditions crossed the ocean to America where they merged in what Santa is today.

The Dutch version is the original, and much, much older. It was already known in Germanic times. Woden rode his eight-legged horse Sleipnir over the rooftops to toss little gifts or sweets through the smoke holes. The Germanic tribes didn’t have chimneys as yet.

Christianity came along. The festival couldn’t be eradicated, so Woden became Saint Nicholas. Poor Sleipnir lost four legs and became a white stallion. Saint Nicholas then probably got a black demon as helper. That’s how the tradition survives today in Central Europe. In the Low Countries those black demons became Moors around the time of our 80-year war with Spain. Black Pete wears 16th-century Spanish-style clothing; that is not a coincidence.

Black Petes are jet black, and look a lot like American minstrel singers. That is all that socialists need to create pandemonium. If they look like racist minstrels, they must be racist minstrels. What we see is what we want to see. Anything else is ignored, ridiculed and beaten into submission.

The Dutch tradition is much more family-oriented than the American tradition. It still is mainly a children’s festival that grown-ups also celebrate. Every Dutch child (minus our more recent mohammedan imports) knows Saint Nicholas lives in a huge palace in Spain. Not at the North Pole. Together with his Black Petes. Once a year he gets on a steamboat (fairly recent tradition), to arrive somewhere in the Netherlands in the middle of November. This year that was on Saturday 18 November, in the little Frisian city of Dokkum. The arrival is broadcast on national TV. The mayor will welcome Saint Nicholas and his Black Petes, and accompany them when they make their entrance in the city.

Children are wildly excited now. In the evening they can place their shoe in front of the fireplace. Usually with a bowl of water for Saint Nicholas’ horse Amerigo and a carrot for him (Amerigo, not Saint Nicholas) to munch on. Again, the name of the dapple horse is a fairly recent tradition. It didn’t have a name in the past and it wasn’t dapple but white. The saint rides the horse of course, of course, while Black Pete walks alongside him over the rooftops, and drops little gifts and sweets through the chimney. Bad kids don’t receive anything, perhaps a stone or something. But that coal tradition is fading away. This tradition became your sock or stocking with coal or presents on the chimney. The difference is that we do that every evening until 5 December. You do that only on Christmas Eve. The gifts are most often small gifts or sweets for children. Big or expensive gifts are not customary here.

Tomorrow, after the Saint has rested, he will make appearances all over the country in schools, companies and offices. Sometimes, but not often, in malls. He will have ‘het grote boek’, the Big Book, with the deeds of the children in it, naughty and nice. Children know that Saint Nicholas himself may be in Spain, but about Black Pete, they aren’t so sure. All their naughty deeds somehow are known to Santa… so it’s not unlikely a few Black Petes hang around to eavesdrop.

Black Pete himself has changed a lot over the centuries. Originally it was a bogeyman or the devil tamed by Saint Nicholas. Later, during our revolt in the 16th-17th centuries, he became a black moor dressed in the fashion of the time. Back then Sinterklaas was accompanied by one or sometimes two Black Petes. Pete wasn’t a nice character at all: he carried a bunch of twigs to chastise bad children. His bag of goodies was multi-functional: on the way in, presents were stored in it. On the way out, Black Pete would scoop up the bad kiddies and carry them in the bag to Spain. There, children were told, those bad kids had to toil for a year in the marzipan groves before they were allowed back home again.

The story of how Black Pete became the jolly figure he is today is a charming one. It involves Americans and Canadians in World War Two. After Operation Market Garden failed, The Netherlands was split in two zones. One part was liberated, the other part was occupied by the Germans. That part was North and South Holland plus Utrecht. That’s also the part where the majority of the population (+65%) lives. Food became scarce and later non-existent. The biggest famine in the western world took place with lots of people starving to death. The allies helped out with food drops in Operation Chowhound and Operation Manna.

Later in 1945, after the liberation, the mayor of Amsterdam asked the allied commander if they could help out with Sinterklaas. Food and anything else was still scarce. ‘Why, certainly. Of course we can, and we will!’, was the reply. Especially the Canadian troops went for it. Some Canadians soldiers, for the fun of it, dressed up as Black Petes and started clowning around. Nobody asked them to do that; it was spontaneous. The public adored it. From 1945 onwards Black Pete became a kind of funny clown.

Until that time one or at the most two Petes accompanied the saint; from then on the saint had lots and lots of Petes. All have names resembling their jobs: there is the Head Pete, who is in charge of all the others. The Pakjespiet, gift Pete, who handles presents. The Postpiet takes care of the mail. What do you think the Marzipanpete does? There are also lots of little Petes, children dressed up as Black Pete.

Nice tradition, what? It was, until a couple of years ago. I call it the reverse Midas Touch. Whatever king Midas touched changed into gold. Whatever socialism touches withers away to nothing. Regretfully, socialism found and touched Sinterklaas. The festival is under siege. It holds out, because it isn’t the first time party poopers have wanted to spoil the fun. In the Middle Ages the Roman Catholic Church wasn’t too keen on Sinterklaas. They wanted to abolish the festival as it was too much of a party and not enough praying. No luck. A little bit later the next bunch of party-poopers showed up. This time the Calvinists. Calvinists don’t like parties. Period. So when they got into power they tried to ban it. Without any success.

The next bunch of party poopers came from Germany in WW2. The Germans didn’t have any problem with Saint Nicholas. But Black Pete, that was different. They concentrated undesirable people in camps, remember. So Saint Nicholas was okay, but Black Pete was banned. Without any result. What are you going to do? Mass executions in the streets? Shoot at children? Normally not a big problem for Nazis, but they declined, and let it be.

The latest in a long line of spoilsports are progressive socialists. In Holland that means everyone in government, politics, the media and the business elite. Do note that every poll favors Sinterklaas with Zwarte Piet as they are. Every poll, and overwhelmingly so. Even left-wing pollsters can’t get the numbers below 90%. No matter how much they massage and correct the numbers. Reliable polls set the number of Black Pete fans at >95%. Does that stop socialists? Of course not.

For a number of years they’ve done everything they can to terrorize the population into good behavior. By ‘terrorize’, I mean just that. Intentionally going to Sinterklaas festivals with the purpose of creating riots. The media came up with politically acceptable variations of Black Pete. The steamboat of Saint Nicholas sailed through a rainbow, and now all Black Petes became multicolored. Didn’t work. It was flatly rejected by the population. Black Petes were dressed up differently. No go. New Black Petes appeared without traditional black faces but with some soot. Complete failure.

The ratings of the highly popular arrival of Saint Nicholas and the subsequent Sinterklaas programs on TV are seriously down. People don’t want to watch it. Children are asking: ‘Where is Black Pete?’. The media don’t give a hoot about their audience, but the ratings do matter. So they promised to show Black Pete again. But of course they didn’t. For four days in a row. The ratings are down about 25% as a result.

Big supermarkets that try to promote Sinterklaas without Black Pete see their sales go down. And still they hold on. Why? They are giving in to left-wing progressive blackmail. A few extreme left-wing activists, notably Sylvana Simons, milk the (non-)issue for all it is worth. The government tries to look the other way as much as possible. ‘No, we can’t protect Sinterklaas. How? Why? There is no law for that.’ That kind of baloney. But at the same time, they give left-wing extremists permission to demonstrate next to an arrival of Saint Nicholas. I don’t know what you would call that, but I call it willfully instigating riots with malicious intent.

This year the arrival of Saint Nicholas is in Dokkum, in Frisia. Dokkum is rather famous, because another saint, Saint Boniface was murdered there. The progressive PvdA mayor of Dokkum gave activists permission to demonstrate against Black Pete. But she forbade Frisians to block the roads so their ten coaches could’t approach Dokkum. That is legal activism at work. She knows bloody well those demonstrators aren’t going to hand out candy, but blows against the police and the population.

Their ten coaches went on their way to spoil the party. But… no luck. Angry Frisians blocked the roads despite the ban by the authorities. At first the police tried — half heartedly — to clear the road, but gave up. A little bit later the authorities gave in, and ordered the police to turn the coaches around, back to Holland. In a few other cities the authorities also had to forbid previously approved demonstrations to prevent riots breaking out. Popular pressure does work, but you have to do something for it. By the way — if you look at the photos of the pro-Piet demonstrators, you’ll see they wear the proverbial Dutch clogs. I didn’t know people still wore them on a daily basis. But then, a wooden clog makes an excellent and perfectly legal weapon, should you need it…

I saw some interviews with those poor oppressed demonstrators whining about racism, the police state and vigilantes who violated their democratic right to ‘peacefully’ demonstrate. At the same time, the police had to act (without any arrests, of course) against an illegal anti-Piet demonstration in Rotterdam. They had nothing to say about their blatantly violently abusing democratic rights there.

It is in the news, but barely. You would expect this would be on the front pages of every Dutch newspaper. Not so. You can find it, but you have to dig for it. Small wonder people turn to GoV and other sites to read the news as it really happens.

— H. Numan

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