News - April 5, 2012


Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? The entire Passion story is encapsulated in this cry just as new life is contained in a grain of barley or a dandelion clock. Death and resurrection are the two great themes of Easter.

Yes, new life as well, because Good Friday is followed by the Resurrection. And Easter is indeed a spring festival, associated with spring flowers and lambs in the meadows, with spring cleaning and change and renewal: a festival of hope. 'A new spring, a new sound', begins May, a poem by Dutch poet Herman Gorter. The verses that follow are less well known but no less beautiful. They are full of music.
Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation: the ministry of EL&I. ELI, ELI, why have you forsaken me? I would so like to give voice to a different feeling, but I see few signs of hope. The discussions about mega-barns, animal welfare (yes, we do now have animal cops) and the flooding of polders drag on without any real decisions being made. I see no sign of a wish to really change agricultural practice, whereas everything points to the need to do so.
Instead of people taking responsibility, they pass the buck to the next person. Collective values have been jettisoned and nature has been for sale for almost two years.
It is spring and I donĀ“t want to spoil your spring feelings or my own. What is more, I am a born optimist, so I cling to hope. The St Matthew Passion is playing in the background as I write. As Jesus cries out in agony, the violins which accompanied him earlier fall silent. I wait for the next aria. With a violin accompaniment.