51 / Truth

An old friend who I first met in Amsterdam has contributed this post:

When I was young, truth was easy. I knew what was right or wrong. When I was seven or eight, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) didn’t exist anymore, but God did. Although being a city boy, I wanted to become a farmer, with cows, a horse and a tractor. Becoming older, certainties were replaced by questions and doubts. In my twenties I was deeply unsure about myself, and how to relate to the world. I now realize that I hid that by holding on to truths that suited me, and with which I fitted in the group.

Those were the days, the seventies in Amsterdam. In the squatting movement we definitely had some points. There was vacancy and shortage of good housing at the same time. Speculation, and an anarchist movement against it, arose.

On the current of this movement lots of idealistic social and cultural initiatives developed. Some were really positive and innocent. But some idealism was easily mixed with opportunism and self-interest. We thought of ourselves as anti-capitalist, therefore having the right to occupy empty housing, but also to steal in supermarkets, and use the social security system to fund our ‘Struggle’. And we had a strong opinion on which was wrong or right.

I remember a guy, called Mo. He lived on the Anglo-Saxon side of the Channel, and just came walking in with a friend one day. He had a fresh view on our supposed truths, and a subtle way of unmasking us in our role as warriors.

Some people can hold on to their certainties forever, and even get quite influential in world issues. I wish all those with homemade truths meeting wise people to correct them.

Mo left. The banner (trans.): ‘SQUATTING GOES (ON)’


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