Sunday, March 30, 2008

The book has come out. Just a short entry, to show my surprise: the work can be bought in the web, on
According to that site, those who are interested in my story, are also interested in 'Mein Kampf', by Aldof H. Oh irony. If only he knew, the lice. My story won. And will live on. He lost. His story died with him. As it should.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Violating privacy

When do you violate someones privacy? And when do you violate someones privacy on the internet?
My little nephew Abel can not consent to anything yet- the young man is 2 months and 1 day today, so he is preoccupied with sleep, food and diapers. His internet privacy is not of any concern to him yet.
So when i wanted to put some pictures of him on my blog, I was a bit hesitant. Should I? What if he does not like the pictures of him? I asked his dad, and after we both agreed that Abel is indisputably the best looking baby in Amsterdam and surroundings, we decided as well that there is no way that he will not like his pictures on this blog. So democratically we have decided to allow, for once, two pictures of him on the net.

Friday, March 21, 2008

ISBN 9789025427191

I exist. And I am much more excited about it than I thought I would be.
Now that I can be found on the website of my publisher, I have to say that the whole book-thingy does not look so abstract anymore. It just looks quite cool!

Dutch writer Tommy Wieringa asked people not so much to buy his books, but he asked his friends to ask in bookstores nearby for information about his book, and what it was about. It drove the sales up... I hope some of the people who read this blog, understand the hint...

By the way, International Standard Book Number. That is what ISBN stands for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A memory of Solferino

Saturday March 15th, I spent in a cell. I was detained for a few hours. It was cold, it was cramped, it was odd and most important of all: it was part of a role play.

My studies have some very practical components. Last Saturday we visited the International Committee of the Red Cross for a workshop. Most people associate the Red Cross with medication, doctors and relief work in places of disaster. However, it is first and foremost a legal organization, which deals with International Humanitarian Law. By using this law it tries to alleviate the suffering of people in regions struck by disaster, albeit it international or non-international armed conflicts (what we used to call 'war' and civil war') or natural disasters, like the tsunami.

My academy has close ties with the ICRC, and a lot of my class mates would like to work one way or another with the ICRC, preferably as a delegate. Delegates are the ones who are in the field, in the frontlines of wars, negotiating with war lords, military strongmen, politicians and soldiers of the warring parties about the way they are fighting their war, about how they can stop the suffering of civilians, and about how prisoners of war ought to be treated. Delegates are the guys in the mud, the men and women who on a personal and direct level make sure that those effected by war have at least a minimum of protection.

In order to be able to do this, they get a thorough training, those delegates. Saturday we had such a training- a one day training though, whereas the real delegates get a training of a few weeks. We did a role play: in the basement of the ICRC headquarters they built a fake prison, where some of us were locked in. Staff played prison guards, and wardens. My class mates had to make sure that I would receive a fair treatment, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. Not an easy task in a role play, let alone in a real armed conflict.

Before I went to Bosnia, I always thought that diplomats where the ones who were though, and made the difference in a war. In Bosnia I started to realize it were the people from NGO's and aid organizations who make a difference on a personal level, for real people and individuals. Relief is often the work of individuals, not of governments. The ICRC realizes that, and works with this in mind, to keep the memory of Solferino alive.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My life in Geneva is expensive. Very Expensive. VERY EXPENSIVE. And since I am a very poor student, I need to find money to survive. Unlike other people in my family I lack artistic talent, so I decided that I might write a book- you can do that while studying, it does not need particular qualities nor skills- just a good computer.

And man oh man, it works! On the 28th of March it comes out, my book!! 'Een oorlog die de mijne zou zijn' (a war to call my own). For those who don't believe it: see the picture. It is the back- and the front side of my book...

Sunday, March 02, 2008


'The law of War', is usually what I answer when people ask my what I am studying in Geneva. Most people think I am joking, but at the end of the day, that is what I do. The official name of the law of war is humanitarian law, but eventually it is just the law of war.

It is not the most common field of studies, but in the world of today, a very important niche of the law, I am afraid. More and more countries are engaged in armed conflicts, and societies, economies and cultures are affected and effected by it. Better understand the rules of it, than.

There are moments that you just reflect upon what you are doing. Today was one, and I was wondering whether I am not crazy for choosing this line of work, this field of study. Because it means I will be dealing for the rest of my life with the misery of the world, since world peace is still a utopia, and not too likely to happen in my lifetime. It is a combination of adventure and trying to do good form humanity that drew me to this field. But whether I want to be 'in the field' for the rest of my life, I am not too sure about. Maybe for a while, but always, and if so, with a solid base in Europe, a place to go back to and be able to work in as well.

It is funny: although I would like to work in a hot-spot again for a while, I am not as gung-ho anymore as I used to be. It is wise to build a career in normal life now in which I have the opportunity to go back to the field later, instead of building a career in the field now, without being able to back to normal life later. Maybe I am finally getting some sense of grownupness...

Still, this studies focuses on working in the field, and I am glad I chose it. I am very curious where my classmates and I will meet in 15 years, and whether all 'soldiers' are still standing...