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7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

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24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

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21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Samira Abbos: ‘vote with mind and heart’

11 October 2006 - Samira Bouchibti, a TV presenter from Amsterdam better known as Samira Abbos, is a candidate for Parliament for the Social-Democrat PvdA. School drop-out, food banks, pyjama days: “I am concerned about everything”. And the term ‘allochtoon’ may as well be discarded.

Bouchibti is on the list of candidates under the name Samira Bouchibti. “That is easy to explain. Bouchibti is my father’s name, Abbos my mother’s. When I started working for TV, I decided to use my mother’s last name. She is not very tall, about 1.60 metre, but you could see her growing with pride when she heard her name on TV”.

Bouchibti is mainly known for the TV-programmes she has presented, but in addition she is active for the Rembrandthuis, the Jewish-Moroccan Network Amsterdam, Mama Cash and various other social organisations. She also frequently acts as a discussion leader.

It is sometimes said that the election campaigns pay insufficient attention to the issue of integration. Is that correct? “I do not agree entirely. Instead of integration I would like to argue for participation. We must have good policies for all the residents of this country”.

Recently, Bouchibti spent five weeks in America as part of an exchange programme. Is there something we can learn from that country? “Let me emphasize that we should be very critical of America. The way in which they have organised health care... By now we are moving in the same direction in the Netherlands, that is very depressing”.

“And the emphasis they put on personal responsibility. In practice, it amounts to deserting people”.

“But there are also good things. For example, the pride of one’s country, and the fact that it does not matter what ethnic group you belong to. That is something we should strive for too. The idea that we are all Dutch, with all our different backgrounds. I am getting a bit tired of the term allochtoon [person whose parents were born abroad – Ed]”.

The Amsterdam PvdA has proposed to do away with that term. “I think that we should be moving in that direction. I hear many young people saying: I am an Amsterdammer. Or Hagenees, or Rotterdammer”.

“It is important to be allowed to belong to a group. We all know how it feels for a child when they won’t let you play along with the skipping rope or marbles. Essentially, the same applies to grown-ups”.

The Christian-Democrat CDA and the PvdA have removed three candidates of Turkish descent from their lists of candidates, because they did not explicitly acknowledge the Armenian genocide. The Parool warned for a “new politically correct regime, in which ethnic minority candidates are subjected to an additional test of loyalty”.

Bouchibti: “I think that it is too bad that things happened this way. The discussion focussed immediately on people’s positions; I think it would have been better to have a substantive discussion first”.

Asked what she wants to achieve in The Hague, Bouchibti says she finds it difficult to name one specific subject. “I am concerned about everything. The way in which young people are treated, school drop-out, food banks, women’s and men’s emancipation. The fact nursing homes have pyjama days [when residents are hardly allowed out of bed because of lack of staff – Ed], that is something I find really depressing”.

During the coming weeks, Bouchibti will be campaigning. On Saturday, she will be at a meeting at the Mercatorplein, where PvdA leader Wouter Bos will be present as well. Her message: “Do vote. Vote with your mind and with your heart. In my view, you will automatically end up voting PvdA this way”.


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