'Celebrating' one month detention Zaandam with the Brig Clowns
August 5th 2011 - During the eviction round of Galery Schijnheilig on Tuesday, July 5th 143 people were arrested. One month later, Friday August 5th there are still 3 people detained. Why? Because these courageous people still fight for the right to don't cooperate in your own conviction - the right to don't give a name. The answer from the ones in power: put them under heavy pressure and keep them jailed in the Zaandam Detention Centre.
Clini Clowns are working in hospitals, demented people get support from Faria Clowns - so with so many people suffering in detention centres simply because they don't want to show or don't have the right wrong papers it's about time to cheer these brave people up with Brig Clowns!
A very first time for Brig Clowns isn't easy. First of all we almost got lost on our route to the Zaandam Detention Centre. But finally we reached the place Friday, August 5th - 15.15
The clowns rang the bell at the fence. It took a while: a security guy showed up. We friendly told them we had our first date in the Detention Centre. Confusion: 6 Brig Clowns waiting to enter... Of course he couldn't answer this foolish question - he was clearly clownfused!
So he told us he had to call someone. The director of course! Who else could solve this giant dilemma!
The answer was a clear No. We couldn't enter the way we looked like. We didn't look 'normal' (who does?!)
Negotiations started: compromising and prostituting ourselves because of the holy goal to get a guided tour in the Zandam Detention Centre. We offered them to put off our noses and wigs, even remove our beautiful make up. Again telephone contact with the director: we could enter if we should put off almost everything and every clown item. And our photo clown couldn't enter at all: one of the boat bosses loved to show his almighty power by refusing the offer to put his camera in a locker at the entrance.
We knew it shouldn't go smoothly - but now without our beloved clown items we almost felt naked... Anyway: we payed this horrible price and could enter, were checked (ID's), were accompanied to one of the ships, were checked again (same ID's), were checked for metal belongings, had to leave personal stuff in lockers, were brought to the waiting room. The negotiations and proceedings took almost 45 minutes: around 16.00 we finally met some of the great people we were looking for!
All clowns had to choose just 1 particular NN - so we had to split in different teams. We were guided to tables with numbers and were told not to have contact to other tables. As Brig Clowns we always follow the rules but not completely understand them.
The talks were great! We asked them about the facilities on board of this 'cruise ship': "Where is the swimming pool?, the bubble bath? the casino? the bar? the cinema? and wasn't it about time the ship should start to sail! Althought the service was hopefully friendly (guess champagne and caviar included) we clearly understood it's very boring to stay in the same harbour for such a long period. One of the NN's had still hope the ship should sail to Atlantis...
To be honest: the service on board of this 'cruiseship' is really lousy! We heard some clear examples and the only thing we could say is: "Respect for everyone who lives under these circumstances!"
Words doesn't cover the courage these people have.
Next to talks we did a few games and sang a few songs: the old Irish song 'the Wild Rover' in an adapted version ('the Wild Squatter') and 'Folsom Prison Blues' from Johnny Cash.
The NN's appreciated and applauded. Because nothing was allowed (for example: no contact between different tables) we had fool trust singing also shouldn't be allowed. The guards stopped it by telling the visiting hour was over.
The moment for saying "goodby" was filled with hugs (also not allowed) and wishing these wonderful people strength to go on!
Then another half hour started for all formalities to leave packets and postcards. Again ID's, forms, etc.
Finally we could leave the Zaandam Detention Boat. First mission impossible of the Brig Clowns accomplished!
Ending in the area close to the boats with that great "Bananaboat Song" from Harry Belafonte (with that nice line about "Wanna go Home!") The applause we got was massive banging on barred windows. Tenths of people did. Even when we walked along the boat where we didn't sang, people made that noise. It touched us. Guards came to accompany us to the exit. They said we should stop greeting people. One of them said: "You don't know what you're doing to these people". A Brig Clown reacted: "They great us, we should pay respect!"
Photographer: Karen Eliot