As I suggested might happen, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has declared a day of public mourning for this afternoon. This will coincide with the return of the recovered remains to the Netherlands tomorrow afternoon in Eindhoven.
The Times posted a second commentary, following on from the first, reflecting on Dutch sobriety in the face of collective tragedies. Again, I’m not sure that they get it right, or that they view it from a local Dutch social or cultural perspective. There are some good comments observing how the Dutch are avoiding the politicization of grief, individual and collective expressions of sadness, and how best to show support for the families who have suffered losses.
We all have to do what is best for ourselves, nobody else will, a friend reminded me yesterday. And in the realm of individually setting goals, choosing means, making choices for which one is responsible and accountable, that’s true.
But when those choices have consequences for others,then others have a stake in the decision. And when individual choices, however well or sincerely motivated, cause undeserved loss and pain, then the community has an obligation to speak out.
When an individual is silent, a group fails to speak out, that decision is a choice, and the choice carries an implied message off support and approval. I am glad that, once what needed to be done was done, and once patience let the facts become clear, that the community did come together to bear witness against atrocity.