DUTCH POLICEMEN WHO UNDERSTOOD, 1981
The following true story was written by doctor of law Eduard Brongersma for “Boycaught”, his regular column in Pan magazine, in its issue 9, July 1981, pp. 40-42. The illustrations accompanied the original article.
Dr. Brongersma (1911-98) was a long-term member of the Dutch Senate rewarded for his services by being made a Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion by the Queen in 1975, by when he was already openly a pederast and the leading Dutch activist and writer on the subject.
The boy caught this time was a thirteen-year-old youngster by the name of Jan. His big friend Antoon had just come back from a long vacation in the Far East, bringing with him a full bag of gifts -- nice T-shirts and, most exciting of all, a beautiful kris, which is a large Indonesian ceremonial dagger. They had met at the airport; now, walking home alone in high spirits, he was filled with delicious anticipation at soon lying in Antoon's arms once again and telling him all the stories which nobody paid attention to at home. Jan couldn't resist taking one more look at the kris. Out of the bag it came -- and a policeman on the street saw it.
Now Dutch law is particularly severe on weapons. Nobody is allowed to own a firearm, or anything resembling a firearm, without a license, and licenses are very difficult to obtain. Many other weapons, including swords and daggers, are prohibited. Well, here was a thirteen-year-old walking the street and brandishing a kris. The policeman stopped Jan, inspected the bag, which was bulging with new T-shirts, and his worst suspicions were confirmed: this was a dangerous young criminal, an armed shop-lifter! Jan was promptly marched off to the neighbourhood police station.
There the boy was questioned by a detective. No, Jan said, he wasn't a thief, these were gifts from his best friend. A phone call to Antoon quickly confirmed the truth of these words, and the boy was released with his bag of T-shirts but minus the kris, which was confiscated.
Actually he was returned to his parents by two policemen who wanted to inspect his room for other weapons. In the meantime the detective had looked up Antoon's record and discovered that six years ago he had been sentenced for having had sexual relations with a young boy. He felt it advisable, then, to inform Jan's parents that their son was associating with "a homosexual".
Now, Antoon was a frequent visitor in Jan's home and was on very friendly terms with his mother and father. They had been deeply impressed by how much better their son had been since he had come to know Antoon. Jan's school work had improved; he was much more pleasant at home. The boy was so obviously fond of Antoon that there could be no question of his being forced to do things he didn't want to do. Once Jan's father had asked his son whether there was a sexual aspect to their relationship, whether he had ever posed for nude photos (Antoon was a skilled amateur photographer). Jan had denied all this vigorously. Now his parents were upset -- but more because their son had lied and not confided in them than in this official confirmation of facts which they had long suspected.
While they were busy scolding Jan, two detectives arrived at Antoon's apartment. "You're guilty of importing a kris and giving it to a minor," one of them announced. "We want to search your apartment for other illegal weapons." Their search bore fruit -- not in uncovering a secret arsenal but in finding two albums filled with photos of young Jan in all his naked splendour. "We'll take these to the police station," they told Antoon, "and you will have to come with us."
But when they saw the horror in Antoon's eyes they tried to reassure him. He wasn't to be afraid. He would be back in an hour. He only had to sign a statement about the kris. As for the photo collection, they only wanted to discuss it with Jan himself and find out what the lad had to say about their relationship. Actually they knew quite a bit about Antoon, and it wasn't all bad. They knew, for example, that he had had close relations for a number of years with a certain Mustapha who used to do a lot of shop-lifting and bicycle stealing, but all of that petty criminality had stopped as soon as his friendship with Antoon had begun. Mustapha had also been backward in school. Since getting to know Antoon, however, his school work had steadily improved until now, at seventeen, he was first in his class. "Perhaps your influence on Jan is just as positive," they concluded.
"Fine," Antoon told them, "but when you people took me for only a half hour to the police station in 1975 I was there for two weeks!"
Antoon went to the lavatory for moment; the police continued their search. When he came out he found they had made another discovery: a letter Jan had sent him while he was away. "Dear Antoon: I'm longing so much for your return. I'm counting the days . . . Oh, I've so much to tell you and ask you, and I'm feeling so lonely . . ." And so it ran on.
"Sir, we've read this letter," they told Antoon, "and it tells us exactly what we wanted to know." They wouldn't need the albums any more; he could keep them at home. Their concern had been whether Jan was acting of his own volition or whether he was somehow being coerced into the relationship. Obviously he loved Antoon; this was a case of complete mutual consent. Since the boy's liberty had not been impaired they saw no reason to interfere. There was only one remaining problem: Jan's parents. Antoon probably ought to have a talk with them. Would he prefer them to accompany him or would he rather go there on his own? "It wasn't we who told them you were 'a homosexual,"' they said. "One of our colleagues did that, unfortunately."
Antoon went alone, and was surprised at how cordially he was received. Jan's mother and father were not so stupid as to think that they could increase Jan's fillial love by destroying his love for another man. They didn't consider Antoon a competitor, rather a collaborator in the upbringing of their son. They weren't jealous. Their boy was happy and free, partly due to the influence of his big friend. That was all that was important. The boy could set his own course in these matters!
The police had asked Antoon to report to them the outcome of this meeting. This he did, and they congratulated him. Wouldn't his relationship with the boy be much finer and less anxious now that he didn't have to hide it and fear discovery?
"You're a lucky man. Jan is a nice kid and he is fortunate in having found a loving friend in you." There was only one further comment they wanted to make. "One day Jan will grow too old to be physically attractive to you any more and you'll be looking for a new boy-friend. When you find him, go to the lad's parents and explain yourself. It will save you a lot of trouble!"
Here, I am afraid, these well-meaning policemen were too optimistic. Many parents would be disgusted, upset or angry if some man whom they had never met before suddenly announced that he was in love with their son and wanted to sleep with him. Jan's parents were wise and broad-minded, but, most important, they had known Antoon for some months and had been able to observe the beneficial effects of the man's influence on their son before they learned of the erotic element in their friendship. How would they have reacted without this preparation?
Antoon didn't make this point to the police officers, but asked them a quite different question. "Six years ago when I was arrested your colleagues treated me as a dirty queer, a dangerous criminal, a child molester. So I couldn't believe my ears when I heard you talking about my friendship with Jan and Mustapha the way you did. What has happened to you?"
One of the policemen smiled. It seemed that at the police academy they had heard a talk by a member of the Dutch Paedophile Action Group. They had discussed paedophilia with paedophiles. They had read quite a bit about it. "We even went to a meeting of the Action Group. We have learned a lot. And it has changed our minds."
Dear readers, to many of you living in other lands this must sound like a fairy tale, a dream. But I assure you, with my hand upon my heart, that this is not a confabulation. It is the simple truth as reported to me by Antoon himself not long after I had received a cry of distress from Mustapha: "Antoon is in trouble with the police!" And I know Antoon to be a very honest man.
But it is more than an encouraging story. The last words of these police officers contain a message to all of us: it is our task to explain boy-love to every authority, to show every thinking and responsible parent what boy-love really means. It is not too complicated, because boy-love simply means loving boys! This we must make clear, to fight sex-negative superstitions, to fight the witch-hunt of our age, so that more couples will be as fortunate as Jan and Antoon.