Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A history lesson

Did you know that we, the Dutch, killed Anne Frank because we felt she was a lesser being? No?? Well, neither did I until recently. I was always taught Anne Frank died in a concentration camp set up by the Nazis lead by Adolf Hitler, together with millions of other Jews from European countries that were conquered by the Germans. But apparently, all the history books are wrong and we, the Dutch, killed Anne Frank.

That’s what the American television station FoxNews is telling their viewers. You can read the column that started it all here. After reading this column and seeing the reports they showed on TV I could only laugh. But after that initial reaction had subsided I became very angry. The average American probably doesn’t know that much about the Netherlands, so when FoxNews or other media tell them these lies they do not know better and will assume it is the truth. I find it very offensive to write such a story when the ‘facts’ you use are wrong and nothing more than preconceptions.

They used this “fact” about Anne Frank in a story about a hospital in Groningen (a Dutch city) that is euthanizing babies if they don’t have enough fingers… (this may not become very apparent from the column, but the rest of the reports have emphasized this particular point)

…Could someone please tell me who is making up this bullshit?? Of course they’re not euthanizing babies that don’t have enough fingers! Come on! When babies are extremely sick and have no chance of survival whatsoever the doctors, together with the child’s parents, may decide to make sure the baby doesn’t suffer anymore and let her/him die mercifully. This happens very rarely, but euthanasia on babies does indeed happen. I can understand why people would be against mercy killing, but why tell this ridiculous story about killing babies that don’t have enough fingers?? If you’re against mercy killing, just explain why you have this position with decent arguments. Don’t make up some way over-the-top story to make sure you don’t have to explain your position. Furthermore, I find it terribly funny that the right-wing media in America is making all this fuss about euthanasia in the Netherlands while at the Oscars two movies (Million Dollar Baby & Mar Adentro) featuring euthanasia were awarded.

We’re just about the only country in the world where euthanasia is allowed under very strict rules (and I do mean very strict rules). We as a people and the Dutch doctors in particular don’t take the subject lightly. There has been a long debate about the subject and I’m very glad our government has had the courage to legalize it. I’m convinced that more countries will follow in the nearby future. I’m an advocate of the freedom to choose whether you wish to live or die. I understand the babies themselves can’t make that choice. This means the responsibility for the baby lies with the parents. Parents make choices for their young children all the time, so the decision to end the misery of a terminally ill baby is also theirs. It’s a terrible choice to make, but at least they have the freedom to choose...


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