Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Queens in waders

A column in The Wall Street Journal reminds us that there was a catastrophic flood in the Netherlands in 1953. The levee system collapsed in 500 places. More than 1800 people drowned and 100,000 evacuated.

As a result the Dutch government put into place "a complex system of dams and barriers...a technological achievement comparable maybe to the American Apollo project that put a man on the moon."

As in our present situtation following Katrina, for the first days and weeks after the flooding in Holland there was a deficiency of inspired local and national leadership. But there was an exception. The columnist concludes:

A notable exception was the royal family. Within one day of the disaster, Queen Juliana and her mother, Queen Mother Wilhelmina, visited drowned areas, wading though the water with rubber boots. Many who had lost everything recounted in newspaper stories how imortant those symbolic gestures were. Even a left-wing newspaper wrote: "The queen is everywhere these days...Just by being there she gives hope."

--Simon Rozendaal, Wall Street Journal, 9/7/05