Anwar’s column-NL

National anthem

I am jealous of this country. For a lot of reasons. There is only one thing that I find special and ridiculous, namely that you do not know your national anthem. You can sing along on Spotify, but when I ask people to sing the national anthem, they say they only know the first sentences. Or they do not know it at all. “Boeiuh,” they say. As a child in Syria I had to go to school as a soldier. We wore green uniforms from the age of six and that went on until we were 17 years old. Now school children in Syria no longer have to go to school in such a uniform. However, on the first and the last day of the school week they are still in rows in the schoolyard and the national flag is hoisted. I remember it well. With the right hand against our sleep we sang the national anthem. When I was small and did not know the words, I was playing along. We also had to swear allegiance to the ruling party and to the country every day. Then the teacher asked: “Do you have to be ready to defend your country?” And we called in unison: “Yes, we are ready to defend our country!” We also had to shout: “The president forever!” while we tilted our stretched right arm upwards. The President and the party were so important in Syria that I thought I should learn everything here about politics and the royal family. For my civic integration exam, I read everything about King Willem-Alexander. I know who he is married to, how many children he has and much more, but there was not one question about that on the exam. That is not all that important to you. Arjan Lubach even ridicules the king in his television program. Unbelievable! Now a political party has said that all children in school must learn the national anthem and there is discussion about it. I do not think it’s odd to teach all children the national anthem. The national anthem is part of the country you belong to and that you love. That’s why you have to know it. That is not boeiuh. I just do not understand what it has to do with the Netherlands that Wilhelmus van Nassouwe is of German blood.

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