Friday, 27 August 2010

Ethnic registration

This morning I found a piece of paper on the table in the train. It was a printed A4. The title read: 'Have you registered your ethnicity yet?' It was about the new government and how far PVV, one of the parties, wants to go. And that one should think twice before supporting such initiatives. PVV suggests everyone's ethnicity should be registered. I didn't vote for PVV. And I am inclined to oppose anything they stand for. But this pamphlet brought me back in time.

In Soviet Union everyone had their ethnicity in their passport. Kids had the ethnicity of their parents in their birth certificate.
Like this -->
If both of your parents had the same ethnicity, you'd automatically 'inherit' that. Otherwise you had to choose once you reached the age of 16 and ordered your passport. It was a tough choice for me then. Not that I felt particularly Jewish, but choosing one felt like denying the other. Tough choice.

When Ukraine became independent in 1991 a lot needed to be taken care of. We carried our Soviet passports, but at a certain point we had a stamp in them stating that we are citizens of Ukraine now. And then the new passports came. They didn't have ethnicity in them. And guess what? We were not happy about that! For all the minorities this felt like Ukraine was denying their right to belong to their ethnic group. Everyone is Ukrainian now. And that's not what we wanted. Russians, Jews, Hungarians, etc. all wanted to be what they are.

It's amazing how differently people can see the same issue when they look from different perspectives. I am against ethnic registration in the Netherlands.

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