Columns & OpinionsWith my hand up, a tattoo glued to my hand and with an angry look, I want everyone to know that I’ve had enough... “What are you fed up with?” Anton the photographer wants to know. “With the violence, aggression and the hatred against GLBTI+.” There are a lot of people at the protest event. It also strikes me that there are a lot of young people who have themselves photographed by Anton de Bruin, the engine behind the virtual barricade. by Wil Groot
- 18 March 2019
|I’ve Had Enough!|
Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar
Inspired by Dusty, who let it be known through clips that she was fed up as well, Anton felt that he was being called into action. “It is bonkers that young people are getting beaten up,” he says in a clear and militant way. “I want to help in my own way, and do so through #ikbenhetzat (I’ve had enough), for which I photograph people with a rainbow fist.” “What kind of people do you get in front of the camera?” I ask him. “All sorts of people, even children. I ask them what their emotions are. A little boy told me he had enough of violence. His grandfather has just come out of the closet, and he would hate for him to fall victim to violence. The boy’s sister was also there, as well as a lot of straight people. A somewhat older man didn’t want a clenched fist in his hand. The clenched fist is associated with violence. But violence begets violence, he opposes. Then use a pamphlet with #ikbenhetzat, I suggested. He complied and got overwhelmed by emotion. It often happens that people start crying,” Anton says.
The day after, I am meeting up with Dusty. We have known each other for years, are from the same generation and have overcome many obstacles in our lives. “A year ago, I was at the COC party ‘True Colors’ and wore a T-shirt with #IKBENHETZAT, as I was worried about the violence in Amsterdam. Ever since the Gay Games, safety in Amsterdam is on the decline. First in the outskirts, but it’s slowly creeping into the inner city. When someone was beaten up in front of restaurant Prins Heerlijk, to me that was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. I put a video on Facebook and immediately got 14,000 likes. #Ikbenhetzat, even more so: #wijzijnhetzat! In Utrecht, a student’s union was inspired by this and started a #wijzijnhetzat (we’ve had enough) campaign. They think that everyone should be able to walk hand in hand - everywhere.”
Dusty introduced “The Dusty Code,” a four-minutes video that is shared by many. In it he says that violence against our community is a hate crime, which is punishable by law. Yet some Dutch judges seem to disagree. They claim that using “street language” is not considered verbal abuse. I look at Dusty with my mouth half open, searching for words. I am baffled and shocked, and it stops me right in my track. I am speechless. “I’m of the opinion that scolding, spitting, hissing and everything that is similar to this, is indeed a ‘hate crime.’ It is gay hatred, which should be punished. But what do the politicians do? Nothing!”
The clenched fist nowadays is associated with activism. The Black Panthers used it against discrimination, violence and injustice. The hashtag action is meant to activate youth - to fight for our rights. I do not blame them for anything. These are different times. The older generation was used to protesting on the streets. The younger generation uses virtual weapons. The two should join forces.
Anton, Dusty, and others do this entirely voluntarily. We are attempting to get the younger generation on the streets, even though virtual campaigning is the modern way of doing things. Young people should be encouraged to take over the protests. Virtual barricades are also fine, if they are effective. The Dusty Foundation was created to give support to those who fell victim to violence. It is a non-profit organisation. Anton can be reached via www.antondebruinphotography.eu.
We talk for a while in a pub on the Zeedijk. At the table next to us, the world population increase is discussed. “Oh well, if one would accept homosexuality globally, fewer children would be born, so being gay helps against overpopulation,” I hear myself say. “We have to start fighting back, Wil, alongside the younger generations, in whatever way. I’ve had it!”
At home behind my desk, I go through my notes and realize there is so much injustice in the world. Education could solve a lot. This modern missionary is taking on the fight in his own way!
The pictures by Anton de Bruin & #ikbenhetzat is on display at Getto, Warmoesstraat 51, Amsterdam www.getto.nl
N E W