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Reducing CO2 emissions is useless if developing countries burn our mountains of plastic

The Dutch are very good at processing waste. A solution is found for almost everything. And if not, we will send our remnants to developing countries. When I was a student in Aleppo, I was happy with that. I often bought cheap second-hand clothing from Europe. Then you had something affordable and something special. Well organized, I thought. I now know better. Clothing surpluses, cars and computers are given to poor countries of Europe as a gift. While Europe also knows that second-hand items do not end up safely and sustainably.

We abhor CO2 emissions in the Netherlands, so we bring computers that we cannot recycle to Ghana. There they throw everything on a mountain and light it. Children then look for copper among the remains. That again yields something: especially health and environmental damage. I know it from Syria. There too, there is a large mountain of waste in every neighborhood where children in particular roam. Other countries donate our remains: it seems generous and sustainable, but it is not. Reducing CO2 emissions in Europe makes no sense if we allow people in developing countries to burn our mountains of plastic. If such a “gift” is already given to a developing country, I think we should also provide the knowledge and technology. If you do not give me the waste to Ghana, if my residence permit has expired, I will be happy to help. At a factory, for example, where Ghanaians recycle computers in a safe way. Europe is smart, so let’s act that way.

Shall we just throw each other here in the gray tin when we die?

If more than forty Muslims come to your funeral to pray for you, then you were a good person, the prophet Muhammad said. Syrians actually work their entire lives on a funeral network. You visit weddings and funerals, so that the families visited also come from your own family at special times. That is why there will be no forty, but a thousand people. The link between you and the person you visit is sometimes very thin. ,, When my grandfather’s brother died, they were there too. So now we go to the farewell service in that family, “my father would say. Often the head of the family keeps a booklet with the amounts given. If you give a wedding for one of your children yourself, you know how much money you can expect in return. You look in your booklet and see exactly how much you have given to which families, so how much you can expect at your son’s wedding. A kind of savings system.

When my Syrian friends and I talk about this subject, we find it sad for our parents that they have now built a network for free. And for ourselves, that there are not a thousand people around our grave in the Netherlands. “Shall we just throw each other here in the gray click when we die?” My roommate suggested. We have seen our entire life and learned how it “should” be. If I introduce myself now in a wedding room with only a handful of people, I get the shivers. I think I’ll just ask the Arnhem municipal administration. Then I will visit all the funerals and weddings in the city soon. Who knows, I may not need a gray click later on.

Arnhemmer Anwar Manlasadoon on 4 in The Colorful Top 100

Anwar Manlasadoon, columnist of the Gelderlander, is number four in the Colorful Top 100. The ranking is an annual ranking of Dutch people who contribute to a more inclusive society with their work, personality and vision. The Syrian Anwar started his column “Anwar citizens in” with the Gelderlander three years ago, when he was still living in a refugee center in Arnhem. He is now studying at the Arnhem and Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences and keeps Gelders readers informed about his integration. ,, Anwar thunders with special perspectives over the prejudices of a skeptical society because he is new here. He shares his passionate view of society in his columns, which are really worth reading, ”writes the jury. ,, Anwar is in this Top 100, with him the average acidity of columnists has fallen. And his fresh look is a lot more pleasant to read.” Anwar calls the quotation “the proof that we are stronger together”: “I am happy with the Gelderlander, because together we make this column. It is important to remember that I am not the only one doing its best in the Netherlands, there are thousands. Together with Dutch people, we can make something beautiful out of it.”

The number one in the ranking will be announced on 28 February.

“Special education” sounds pretty nice, but Google makes it a “school for sick children”

“How can I make sure parents don’t get angry if I say their child can’t learn well?” A teacher asked me. He teaches in a link class, where children from a different culture temporarily bridge until they can go to a Dutch school. He sends some pupils to special education, because they are intellectually limited. ,, Parents are angry at school and are also angry with their children. They think they should do their best better.”
Well, that sense of honor remains important for many parents. In addition, the Dutch are direct. You will be told if you are not well or if you have to study “lower”. That is offensive in many cultures, people speak differently there. For example: ,, Your son’s talents are best shown at the carpenter training. He is very talented when it comes to precision chores and woodworking. ”What the student is not good at is not mentioned. Parents proudly go home: boy, their child is such a gifted woodworker. “Special education” also sounds pretty good in Dutch. Still, Google Translate makes a mess of it. A Syrian acquaintance received a statement stating that his son must go to special education. The man made the statement through Google Translate, and read in the literal Arabic translation that his child is sick and therefore has to go to a school for sick children. Painful. I understand that Dutch people like clarity, but it also seems much nicer for Dutch children to just hear what they are good at.

Public buildings

If you see a beautiful building in the Netherlands, you can enter it very often. In fact, it might even have been built especially for you. I often study in the Arnhem library. It looks very nice from the outside and inside. Long wooden stairs, a slide from the third to the second floor and everywhere there is art. Parents are reading while their children play or read booklets. Homeless people have a warm place there and rest in the armchairs and students prepare their exams. When I was still learning full-time Dutch, I was often in the library at the language café. Volunteers teach newcomers there. When I had already reached some level, I wanted to help newcomers myself.

I tried to explain to a boy from Eritrea what the word “bakery” means. He just didn’t know what the word for bread was in Dutch, so the boy and I became a kind of Buurman and Buurman duo. I tried to explain words in all sorts of ways, while I still don’t speak Dutch well. There is no such public building in Syria where everyone comes together. Very beautiful buildings are not for civilians, but for defense or a ministry. In the summer everybody comes together in the park, but that is not really a study place. Everyone is in during the winter, but studying with the constantly falling electricity is quite difficult there. The library is what the mosque and church in Syria are in the Netherlands. It is the destination and refuge for all inquisitive people. Only in a library not just answers are given, but you can discover them yourself.

My diploma is just like a bonus card

Most Dutch people I speak do work differently than what they were trained for. Because they could not find work with their diploma or because they encountered something else. It makes me restless. Because when I decided two years ago to study Industrial Product Design at the HAN in Arnhem, I thought I knew where I stood. “The point is that you will soon have a college degree,” my friend Gijs said. “You will be able to work with it anywhere. Because it shows that you can think broadly and are smart.” My education costs me a lot of money. My parents are not here and I myself came to the Netherlands empty-handed, so I borrowed my studies together. When I am finished, I will have to pay back 40,000 euros of study debt, apparently only to show that I am smart. My diploma is then a kind of bonus card. In the case of a vacancy where an unskilled person may need five years of work experience, I can keep my diploma. “Blieb,” and then I get a five-year discount. Because I have a college degree.

I think it’s a pity. I would prefer not to study a bonus card together, but just be sure that I will get work in what I have been trained for. I didn’t choose this course for nothing. During our studies we often have to make an analysis. As students, we find product analysis very boring. Then we start designing, which is really nice. Gijs said: ,, That is how you should see it with work. Your complete education is the analysis, the boring period. Then comes the design phase, when you start working. You can go to all kinds of places with your HBO diploma and then it will really be fun”! I hope so.

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