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Angelique Reitsma

It was a typical Dutch gray day. No rain, no sun. The train had just left the Utrecht station on its way to Bunnik. I was now only minutes away from seeing Angelique. The last time I had seen her was over thirty years ago when she visited me in San Francisco.

The last time I was in the Netherlands, there still was the Dutch guilder and Dutch freedom. Now returning so many years later, the monetary currency was in euros and the cultural currency was in lockdowns, face masks and QR codes. Dutch sovereignty and freedom had taken a beating. Holland had fallen once again, but this time from within. But we were no longer allowed to make historical comparisons or we would be shouted at. 

When the train stopped in Bunnik, my compartment was the farthest from the platform. When I stepped out, I saw a silhouette in the distance waving at me. It was Angelique. She was dressed all in black, with a long raincoat that looked like a cape and with a wide brimmed black hat. For a moment I felt I was in one of those Zorroesque Sandeman commercials I grew up on as a boy in the Netherlands. It was mysterious, like my distant long-term friendship with Angelique. I walked towards the mystery and with each closing step things became clearer as I saw her long, blonde hair becoming more noticeable. Angelique stood tall. Angelique was Dutch. 

The Mystery of Sandeman Port

I had a small suitcase rolling behind me and just as I released it to hug her, she quickly fist-bumped me with her black leather glove and said in Dutch: “Helaas dit is alles wat we kunnen doen” -- “Unfortunately this is all we can do.” 

I was stunned by the standoffish greeting but hid my disbelief with a stoic facial expression as I followed Angelique to her car. As she kept small-talking, I kept thinking: After all these years and past experiences together, she greets me with a first-bump? But then I remembered that she was always cold and robotic. The times she had shown charm and charisma it didn't seem genuine and spontaneous but more of an act. I had hoped she had grown and matured, but the verdict was still out. 

Once we were inside her car, I wondered if Angelique really believed all the corona hysteria? If so, why wasn’t she wearing a mask? And why had she invited me to stay the night at her place? It made no sense.

What I hadn’t told Angelique was that I had reservations at the local Postillion Hotel. And after the cold fist-bump, I suddenly had cold feet to stay at her house. I was thinking it would be better to stay at a hotel and have my own space. So after Angelique started driving, I told her about my hotel reservation. But she abruptly flinched and said she had already arranged everything for me. She asked me to visit her home first before making a decision. I reluctantly agreed, thinking maybe I had been too quick to judge. Maybe I was too judgmental  . . . let's give it a chance. 

Once inside her home, she showed me the room she had prepared for me; it belonged to her son who had moved out for college. Everything was nicely organized. I felt obliged to stay and Angelique called the hotel to cancel my reservation. I was wrong. 

We then had lunch in her kitchen and to my delight Angelique had bought me some North Sea herring. After lunch we took a long walk together through the Dutch meadows that was located right behind her home. And all seemed fine. 

When we returned, she offered me beer and potato chips. My favorite combination. Angelique and I had communicated with each other over the years, but there was nothing like seeing each other in person. We had so much time to make up for . . . and then the topic of vaccinations came up.

At some point I told Angelique about the Dutch officer at Schiphol Airport asking me if I had been vaccinated, and him being surprised that I wasn’t. I myself found this surprising because I believed that the Dutch were far more sober than the Americans about the corona policies and politics. Americans seemed to believe everything the news media told them. I myself had experienced too many masked women running across the street on a sunny day as they saw me approaching them as a pedestrian from the opposite direction. The bizarre collective hysteria had reminded me of something from a Rod Serling Twilight Zone episode.     

Corona virus hysteria reminiscent of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone

Ironically it was the Dutch political opposition to these government lockdowns and QR codes that had inspired me to return to Holland again. From what I was reading in the Dutch media, there was a strong philosophical movement against the corona policies of the Dutch government. I was most impressed with Thierry Baudet and Gideon van Meijeren from the FVD party, Forum voor Democratie. They rejected not only the government "science," but also the government's edicts nullifying the people's freedom in the name of "public health." Most impressively, they opposed the government mandates on moral and constitutional grounds.  

In the United States no politician was able to articulate it like Thierry Baudet and Gideon van Meijeren, and there was no political party like the FVD. The best thing some Republicans would say was: "Well, I strongly recommend getting vaccinated, but it should be a choice." But this was not an argument that would win back the people's freedom from a government that had just robbed them of it and was replacing freedom with QR codes.  

Suddenly it seemed that the democratically elected governments in the West who normally received its "consent of the governed” now had become the rulers. 

Now the government had rights, and the people only had privileges. And when the rulers were in a good mood, they would temporarily toss some of these former freedoms back to the people like bread crumbs. All in the name of science.  

The peoples' "freedoms" were now all based on fluctuating government "statistics" that government alone tallied, defined, computated and controlled. The people's freedoms, their individual rights, were now dependent on government numbers. And like all forms of tyranny, the rules were not objective and consistent. They instead were whimsical and arbitrary. And if you challenged them, you were not patriotic or were committing treason.      

Thierry Baudet, Forum voor Democratie (FVD)

I hadn't shared any of these thoughts with Angelique, but I did tell her that only a few weeks before my arrival in the Netherlands I didn’t have to show a corona test result, then suddenly I had. Then one day the US was considered a safe country, then the next day the EU said it wasn’t. Then one day US citizens arriving in the Netherlands were subject to quarantine, then the next day they weren’t.

But Angelique didn’t appear very interested. I tried stoking her curiosity by mentioning that many corona virus policies had been wrong and ridiculous, such as the wet/dry sand rule. I explained that when all these lockdowns occurred in California, people were not allowed to sit in the dry sand of the beach (and were arrested). But they were allowed to walk in the wet sand along the beach. And all this was considered “science.”

None of this seemed to interest Angelique. She just looked at me with a blank stare and asked me why I wasn’t vaccinated. When I explained that I believed natural immunity was better than the vaccines, she reluctantly agreed but said that vaccinated people wouldn’t become seriously ill if they became infected. I responded to her by saying that the research from Israel showed that the majority of people hospitalized were vaccinated. Angelique then asked me if I was an "anti-vaxxer." I told her I wasn't, but I didn't believe the covid vaccine to be effective or safe. Angelique then looked away, paused, and said she had to go upstairs for a moment.

When she returned a few minutes later, she told me in a very controlled and subdued manner that she was extremely angry and that I wouldn't be able to spend the night in her home. When I asked her if it was because of my views on the corona virus, she confirmed it was. When I told Angelique I was open to listening to what she had to say, she declined to explain her thought process, assuming she had that.  

It was only two hours ago that she had greeted me with a fist-bump and now she was about to farewell me with a boot-bump.

A few minutes later Angelique was driving me to the Postillion Hotel, and calling them again to see if she could “uncancel” my reservation while she had cancelled me into an "unperson." 

Becoming an "Unperson" for corona "wrongthink"

We exchanged no words during the ride to the hotel. I just kept looking out the windshield and wondered at what point in her life Angelique had lost her humanity.  

The Angelique I remembered never had a conviction of her own and always avoided controversy, and she was always greatly concerned how others perceived her. Once I tried having a political discussion with her and she said we couldn't really discuss the topic because she said we weren't "experts." I found that an odd answer. Why weren't we allowed to participate in our own thoughts? Why do we have to be credentialed? I knew then that that type of thinking was rooted in the ad verecundiam fallacy, the argument from authority.       

But way back then in the Netherlands I had just been a mediocre student who couldn't even pass the Mavo high school while Angelique attended the elite Atheneum  or Gymnasium and thereafter attended other universities in the Netherlands. She had a much more "prestigious" education than me and her social circle was comprised of academics and white coats. And then it hit me. She was still living in the ad verecundiam fallacy, except now she was the "expert" -- and whatever anyone said was "irrelevant" because she had a higher education than them. The verecundiam fallacy in reverse had become the ad hominem fallacy: the person is invalid ("unworthy") therefore the argument is invalid. And that now applied to me. I didn't have her credentials, therefore whatever I said was irrelevant.     

Angelique seemed to believe, based on her academic standing or position, that no reason or rational discussion on her part was required. She seemed to think that she had the moral high-ground by virtue of who she was. The thought had occurred to me that if Angelique was so much better educated than me, and if she were a genuinely good person, why wouldn't she help me find the truth? Why didn't she explain my errors? Why didn't she show me the light?   

But I realized that Angelique's decision for booting me had nothing to do with facts, logic, and reason. I simply had the wrong opinion and had committed a "thoughtcrime" as George Orwell would say, and I no longer deserved to be part of society, at least of her society. Moreover her circle of higher educated friends on their Facebook posts had mocked people like me, ridiculed people like me, and dismissed people like me, with phrases such as "WAPPIE." And I guess they couldn't discover that Angelique had me as her friend. And this is what it was all about. Angelique was still concerned about how she was perceived, but only by people of her standing, the academically elite. And they would consider me unworthy of being her friend.   

Angelique and I both came from modest backgrounds, but Angelique had always been encouraged by her mother to climb into higher social circles. Her (previous) marriage and friendships were mostly based on these criteria. This type of class consciousness is common in Dutch society.

A lot of it has to do with the Dutch caste system that is still inherent in its culture. In the Netherlands, the Dutch government seems to exist primarily for the royal family. The existence and justification of the monarchy is based on pedigree supremacy and superior social standing. The biggest cheerleaders for the Dutch royals are the Dutch media and politicians, and there isn't a day that seems to go by without the royal family being in the news, in one positive form or another.

Ironically, the Dutch speak a lot about equality, but its culture is still rooted in a caste system. The king and the upper political-media class (what Thierry Baudet refers to as "the cartel") lecture the working class about "diversity" and "equality" while they praise refugees (and lobby the United Nations to import more). They put people against each other so the focus will be on race, not class. This is how the Dutch upper class seems to maintain its power over the working class. It's a modern form of "divide and conquer."  

King Willem-Alexander lecturing the working class about equality and diversity

What made things more painful for me was that Angelique and I were romantically involved, but it never meant to her what it meant to me. I first met Angelique in 1986 at a cafe across the railroad station in Leeuwarden, Friesland. I had arrived there with my date, Jacqueline, and just as we were sitting down my eyes met the eyes of an elegant, young man who I immediately recognized. His name was Ronald van Blanken and we both attended the LDS high school (Lagere Detail Handel School) in Leeuwarden. He was dating Angelique. Several hous later we were all drinking coffee in Angelique’s home in Franeker, with her mother, Rita, offering Ronald and I small cigars while asking me questions about my father whose apartment was only a soccer field away.

Several weeks later, after my return to the US, Angelique wrote me a letter stating that my father, Doede Bruinsma, and her mother, Rita Reitsma, had met each other and fallen in love. They were together for almost 20 years until my father died in 2005. Therefore I always considered my relationship with Angelique to be unique and special. Before seeing her, she had written me on Facebook and said she considered me her brother. It was an honor, but I was now tossed aside for the "corona uber alles" ideology. My sin was not drinking the Kool-Aid.  

About my father: He was captured as a teenage boy during the Second World War and forced to work in a German weapons' factory, but he escaped and walked all the way back to Franeker. His best friend was Wijtse Vlietstra. Both men, of working class backgrounds, became very successful by hard work and were notorious in Franeker. My father became an international art dealer and Wijtse the owner of a large window-washing company.  

When we reached the Postillion Hotel, I took my suitcase out of the trunk and walked towards the lobby door. Angelique was standing by the car, seemingly offended that I didn't say goodbye to her, even though she had booted me from her house. After I reached the reception desk, I looked back and saw Angelique still sitting in her car. Moments later when I looked back again, she was gone. And so was our friendship and our history. 

Postillion Hotel Utrecht Bunnik, goodbye Angelique

Angelique via Utrecht

Franeker, Friesland

After WWII Doede Bruinsma, as a young man, immigrated to Canada

Doede Bruinsma passed away in Franeker in 2005

Wijtse Vlietstra, also from Franeker, was a good friend of Doede Bruinsma 

Franeker, home of Doede Bruinsma


De Eeuwige Bron book by Ayn Rand I gave Angelique in 1986

PC Franeker -- Kaatsen

Doede Bruinsma, kunsthandelaar van Franeker

Doede Bruinsma van Franeker met moeder Patricia in California 

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