Open letter to Dasmag

Open letter to Dasmag

Dear Dasmag,

(Is that ‘coincidentally’ a corruption of ‘damage’? The irony is unmistakable.)

Today marks the beginning of the trial of Ali B., who stands accused of assault and rape, with one of the incidents occurring at a writing camp for young people organized by you. This cannot go unanswered.

From the initial announcement of this writing camp, I had serious reservations. The idea of a writing camp for young people, organized by a publishing house, raises at least some questions. This is not only due to the historical associations with the scouting movement, which is known to have fascist backgrounds, but also because of the lack of clear benefit or necessity for such events. Why would a publishing house take young people to a camp? The concept of a ‘writing camp’ seems more like a misguided marketing ploy than a serious educational initiative. The thought of young, vulnerable minds in your care in such a context is deeply disturbing.

Moreover, the choice of Ali B. as a guest writer raises significant concerns. I seriously question what this man, whose literary talents are, to put it mildly, dubious, contributes to the development of young writing talent. It is not just an unfortunate choice; it is a sign of a severe lack of insight and judgment on your part. What compels a publishing house to appoint someone like Ali B. as a mentor for young writers? It is like inviting a fox to guard the henhouse.

A glance at your website reveals that you still talk about ‘creating an intimate atmosphere’ with your readers at festivals. After the events in Heiloo, this phrase leaves a particularly bitter taste. How can you still speak of intimacy when irreparable harm has been inflicted on the vulnerable young people entrusted to your care? The rhetoric of ‘intimacy’ sounds hollow and cynical in light of the inflicted damage.

I urge you to take responsibility for the gross negligence that has occurred. It is your duty as a publishing house and organizer to ensure that such incidents never happen again. The safety and well-being of young participants in your events must always be paramount, and it is clear that you have fallen gravely short in this regard.

Spare us the talk of ‘intimate atmospheres’ you wish to create with underage teenagers, all under the guise of ‘literary fame’ when no true writers are involved. Arie Boomsma, Katja Schuurman, Ali B.—this is your ‘writing brigade,’ and they would not be able to write a book even if they had six more centuries to blunder around this planet.

The ‘talent shows’ were bad enough, but ‘writing camps with young people’ is a case of putting the cat among the pigeons. Leave young people alone and stop bombarding them with infantile literature (‘Coming of Age novels’). Or better yet, dissolve your organization while you still have the chance to do it yourself.

Your irresponsibility has led to a situation that deeply harms us all. I call on you to not only publicly take responsibility but also to implement fundamental changes in your organization. Such scandals must never happen again, and it is up to you to ensure that young people are protected from such misconduct in the future.

Sincerely,

Martijn Benders

June 12, 2024

About the author

Martijn Benders has published twenty-six books, eighteen of which are in Dutch. Critics such as Komrij and Gerbrandy have hailed him as one of the greatest talents of his time. He has also written three philosophical works, one of which is in English and focuses on the Amanita Muscaria, the Fly Agaric. Publishing on the international platform of The Philosophical Salon, he has also gained international recognition as one of the most remarkable thinkers from the Netherlands.

Books

There exists a considerable group of leftist individuals who vigorously opposed the prevailing coronavirus narrative, including some of the world’s leading philosophers, such as Agamben and Kacem. However, this stance was heavily censored and vilified by what is referred to as ‘neocon-left’ or ‘woke-left’, as something associated solely with what they deem ‘far-right’. In my book, I discuss the reasons behind these actions, the underlying motives, and how this is emblematic of a new form of fascism aimed at seizing power permanently.

The middle section of the book is dedicated to poetry. It features a beautiful selection of poems from the Mediterranean region, by poets from Turkey and Greece, who have been imprisoned and tortured by the regime.

The final part of my book is a manifesto against literary nihilism, as manifested in the Literature Fund. It reveals how this fund is dominated by a group of Christians and ‘wokies’, which is undesirable in a free society.

Amanita Muscaria – The Book of the Empress is an exceptional work that sets a new benchmark in the realm of mycophilosophy. While one might be tempted to classify the book within the domain of Art History, such a categorization would fail to capture its true essence. 

Amanita Muscaria – The Book of the Empress – De Kaneelfabriek, 2023

You don’t have time to read this, but that’s because you are no longer human. If anything remained of the original person within you, the old mycelia of childhood, you would learn a great deal from this book. In fact, its magical knowledge might become your most valuable possession. This is a book about human imagination and how it fell into the iron grip of transdimensional cockroaches. Additionally, it offers magical tips to significantly improve your life and time acceleration. M.H.H. Benders also takes a light-hearted yet scathing look at the entirety of Dutch literature. What more could you want?

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