Can One Truly Love the French?
Plea for Xenophilia
1996 was a year of relative tension between France and the Netherlands, due to differing views on substance regulations. Then Dutch Minister of Transport, Mrs. Jorritsma, thought it witty to declare, while in office: “France is a nice country. It’s a pity the French live in it.” Another famous quote of hers (from a television interview) concerns French President Jacques Chirac being “een engerd”. That is the typical girl-word for a creepy guy. Being Dutch himself, Abaelardus feels he has to compensate, penitent in sackcloth and ashes, for her ladyship’s offensive remarks. Instead of doing so in the shallow context of Franco-Dutch political relations, he sheds a broader light on these diplomatic incidents. It is politically correct to advocate for the civic virtue of xenophilia. To really endeavor it, requires a lot more courage than he imagined.