I visited my friends, Daan Beekers and Thomas van der Molen in Amsterdam. Bristling with Dutch pride, Daan and Thomas tried to take me round Amsterdam and show me the beauty of their country Capital. We passed by the Queen’s palace which was under renovation: she was on holiday in Austria. We went to the roadside open market somewhere in central Amsterdam. Many things were on sale in the market. I was attracted by a man who sold gods and goddesses of other lands—especially Africa.
He has idols of deities from different parts of Africa and Asia (See pictures left and right) to your left. He has Buddha for sale. He allowed me to take his picture and those of the gods but he wasn’t willing to tell me how these things got to Europe or to his shop. He was busy attending to ‘customers’. The gods and goddesses looked starved: they have not received any sacrifices for ages. I could not help feeling this was travesty, and sacrilege. It brought to my mind the old allegations of shrine robbery repeatedly levelled against pioneer anthropologists, missionaries and colonialists.