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2. A mixture of themes

Discussed during the meeting

a. Our host and guests
b. Frontline and background action
c. A broader look: other times & cultures
d. A paradigm shift, and so, a new model


a. Our host and guests

Our host 

Our host, not a member, sponsor or organizer of this meeting was Paul’s Church, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In return we have sponsored Paul’s Church by gifts. It was very impressive to see the 24-hours-a-day work of that church community.

 Paul’s church practices love thy neighbour, especially for

Drug addicts


Homeless people, and

Sexual minorities.

The church organizes for them

A shelter: crisis center, center for the homeless and refugee center, and a free place for drug addicts,

Social and medical care and a clean-needles service,

Counseling and group talks.

The church also houses  a number of religious communities of several denominations from different countries and with different languages.
For imprisoned paedophiles there is a booklet, free for prisoners, 5 Euros for others.

< kas@xs4all.nl >

A well-known association 

Our guest, the chairman of “Martijn” and member of the church community - not an Ipce member – has told us that the association, Martijn, is well known in the Netherlands as a source of information:

 “We are regularly asked for classes, information stands, politicians and political groups.”
”Since the elections, we have had a right-wing parliament and government in the Netherlands. The founder of the new political party, the late Pim Fortuyn, has said: “Listen to those people (paedophiles); that’s far more safe than to persecute them”, but his followers haven’t followed him regarding this issue. They now argue for more punishment on moral issues.”
”Yes, giving information to classes is more difficult nowadays, due to resistance from  Muslim youths and adults.”

A sharp contrast: the USA 

Members and guests from the USA were astonished to hear what is still possible in the Netherlands. In California, for example, about 1000 people are behind bars – not for punishment, but for ‘treatment’ – in fact for brainwashing. They have been declared  “not able to control their behavior”. This declaration is a decision often reached by scarcely educated ‘experts’ on very doubtful and unscientific grounds.

Severe laws have been enacted in the US as a result of precipitate political action after certain events. Thus, since September 11, 2001, laws have been made that use the word “terrorist”. The meaning of the word has been broadened and those laws constructed so as to apply to a far wider range of activities than the original event warranted. People have accepted this uncritically. It’s an Orwellian world.
Similarly in the UK, an anti-terrorist law is being used against many more people to make arrests without accusation and travelling restrictions.

In English-speaking countries and culture, the word ‘pedophile’ is synonymous with ‘rapist’ or ‘predator’. An encounter with a pedophile is presented as a worst-case scenario for a child – whilst most children suffer and even die because of the guns and cars of their parents; and, if a child has an experience with whatever kind of sexuality, they suffer at the hands of their ‘therapists’.

In sharp contrast with the Dutch “Martijn”, USA’s NAMBLA has many problems: prosecution, Internet service providers, lack of money and more. NAMBLA is seen as the new devil in a simplistic way of thinking like ‘the Indians are bad, the cowboys are good’.


b. Frontline and background action

 Juridical and media action  

“In my work, I travel all over the world, so I have gained much experience and know many people. My activities are on behalf of ecology groups, gay groups and against discrimination of pedophiles.
For example, I have made a complaint against an ‘expert’ who influenced a jury by falsely contesting that a child murderer was “a pedophile”, which he clearly was not.

I have also reacted to a radio programme that used the expression ‘sex offenders’ as a synonym for ‘pedophiles’. I offered my feedback as an issue of semantics, not as a plea for pedophilia. I did the same to an author who wrote “pedophiles and other dangerous criminals”. This is misleading and dangerous. Not every pedophile is a dangerous criminal. The radio programme staff and the author were surprised, as though I had said something completely new to them. The author changed his article.
I remark that pedophile acts are punished more severely than murder. The public does not receive correct information, so people don’t think correctly – as a result they only become panic-stricken.

No, I never do this on behalf of a group. I always act as an individual only. The media present groups wrongly and consequently groups are not taken seriously.

No, I never give opportunity for an interview. Interviews with the media always go wrong.” 

Background work & defending people 

“It is very difficult to get the public to think correctly. People are sceptical and cynical. The media deform any information. Especially if one has once been convicted – that’s the first thing the media investigate - and if one does not have a qualification, one seems to have no right to speak at all.
Yet, I have gathered much background information, which most lawyers have not got anyway. So I am able to help people by gathering background information and thus help them with their defence.”  

Another member said: “Very good, I do the same. I have made an archive of news clippings and background information, which appeared to be helpful in the defence of people and to inform their lawyers.” 

Influencing people 

“It is surely difficult to persuade people to recognize nuances. However, I try to do this by writing ‘letters to the editor’ in the media.
I am open to my family and friends. They accept me, but say that other people with feelings of this kind are still bad. Then I say there are far more people like me, and I know many.
On request, I give, together with others, information to classes or by information stands.
For the public, I am writing a book about my feelings. I shall describe how I am responsible in the way I handle my feelings and contrast this with the standard image of pedophiles. Many people I know differ from that standard image.
I have made a logo used now by many ped-groups and sites [not by Ipce].”

Members said during the meeting:: “This does not help, because you in turn set people apart.”

“OK, but it helps people to know they are not alone”. 

Working on the personal level 

Several members said that working on the personal level is the best way to influence people. These members said they live fully within society, so they meet many people and have many contacts. Especially those who have contact with women tell us that women often think and feel more empathy.  Feminism has lost ground. Remarkably, also the most fervent opponents are also women. But for most women, being in the company of children is a natural way of living.
Some members have found good listeners in gay groups; others found language groups or ethnic groups and help with translating articles for them. 

Working in the forefront and the background 

In the forefront are the public media. It is very difficult to work on this level. Media have much influence, but mostly they want only to present hot news, the outing of persons - and they mostly follow the mainstream culture. Culture is moving now worldwide in the right-wing direction. 

Members who have experience with outing in the media have learned that not reacting at all is the best way. Sometimes, silence is better than speaking. Media tend to tell lies instead of truth.
Other members keep writing to the media – or make their own, like the Ipce web site.
All members agree that influence is possible on the personal level. Not in the public area, but in the personal area people will listen and think with understanding.
At a group level the public and most media react with panic, but in some scientific circles and universities at least, colleagues react far more thoughtfully. They search for the truth, not for infotainment. 

Members report from several countries that it’s not possible form a group or hold a discussion in public there. Freedom of speech exists more in theory than in practice. An opinion that differs from the majority’s or the government’s opinion is seen as ‘dangerous’ or ‘inciting to illegality’.
In several cultures, it is ‘not done’ to speak publicly about certain issues. For example, in the cradle of our democracy, Greece, it is factually not possible publicly to criticise the president.
But in the personal area one speaks the same as elsewhere.  

The history of the gay liberation movement tells the same story. However, gay liberation has not succeeded by staying in the closet, but by speaking. However, a ped liberation or emancipation movement – or any other such movement – may have to follow other ways nowadays in a changed and changing culture.  

Members also agree that it is necessary to analyse the culture, the society, its ethics and the changes carefully. Better to say: several cultures, not only the dominating western one.  

It is also important to study the legal systems; they differ greatly from country to country. On the other hand, severe laws originating in English-speaking countries are being introduced by other countries and cultures.  

Several members said they read many articles and books so as to understand what happens in society. Some members are performing research or writing books and articles – or translating articles and research reports, or making overviews, and sending them to the Ipce web site.

Other members said they are still searching for their own personal way. “First, I will meet people, and I will start reading basic literature. Then, I will decide what to do.” 

It is not fruitful to think in terms of “enemies”. Better to think about people with other opinions, which is their right. Better to try to understand their motives and arguments. “You need a knowledge of anthropology for this”. If they act as enemies and tell lies, they act as a part of a societal system. That system is the enemy, not people. Try to analyse and understand that system.  

c. A broader look: other times & cultures

Once upon a time… and now  

“Yes. So, most people with pedophilic feelings are living quite lonely lives. It is a privilege to have a group like this. Anyway, we have.

When I was young, even the word “homosexuality” scarcely existed. The old sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld did research on that issue. All sexology was German in that era. When his book was published, it was kept hidden for students. I needed the permission of a professor even to borrow it from the university’s library. The word ‘pedophile’ did not exist anyway those days. It was a synonym for ‘mad man’ more or less. The early gay clubs named themselves “Shakespeare Club” and so on, and also their addresses were inaccessible to students. Any kind of information was rare, even in the gay world.  

After my work in several quite far off countries, I was able to do research in the Netherlands, in its far more open climate, partly achieved by the Dutch NVSH, which had 40,000 members those days. It was there that ped-emancipation started just after  gay emancipation had its first results.  I still had to defend my work, and myself, emphasizing that it was research and not propaganda.  

After those days, there were many changes. More recently, much has changed again., but this not a going back to the twenties: In those days there was far more isolation and much suicide.  A person with pedophilic feelings was simply a mad man then. Now, the situation is far more complicated.  

The future? I suppose and foresee further changes coming in waves. If the tide turns again, publications written and preserved now will be usable in the future. So, publish, and carefully save the files already written.
New research is very difficult to conduct now, because it’s nearly impossible to get honest answers, and thus, to reach the truth.  

It’s a moral problem, not a scientific one. Scientific data are known. Every honest person can know now that harm is not always the outcome, only that it occurs in a few cases of incest and severe violence. But the spirit of the age says: “OK, no harm – but it is still not done.” 

Western and other cultures 

One of the members has written to the meeting: 

“I get the impression after being in a lot of places for good lengths of time that there are considerably fewer non-white BL's than among whites. I've come across very few black and Latin BL's. There is a handful in the chat groups but mostly from N. America. Orientals are an interesting lot in that there is evidence of a significant number of Japanese BL's but very few Chinese or Southeast Asian such as Thais and Vietnamese. The more modern (western?) the society, the more BL's there seem to be.  

     In the Philippines, the boys talked about foreigner BL's but rarely if ever about locals yet there were the movie theaters where the balcony was pretty much reserved for male oriented ped and ephebe activity, situations which were stumbled on by foreigners, not created by them. 

     Blacks as a group are more sexually active than non-blacks yet there appear to be so few black BL's. I've known one and his interest was actually more ephebe than ped. There are a couple on BoyChat. Those I've known who have been to Africa also didn't find any local BL's. 

     I've been of the opinion for some time that ped orientation has primarily if not entirely genetic roots. Could there be cultural situations that are part of the reason one becomes a ped or no? Is Daryl Bem's “exotic makes erotic” theory applicable here? Are male oriented peds that different from female oriented peds? 

     Do any of you have any knowledge or thoughts about this?” 

The meeting has discussed this. 

Child lovers are everywhere in the world, but not all are active on the forums. Forums are the domain of the western people with computers and knowledge of the English language. For example, the nambla membership is mostly white and well educated – and male. Moreover, it the western culture that divides people in ‘pigeonholes’ as sexual categories.  If other cultures make pigeonholes anyway, they make other ones. Furthermore, information on this matter is largely informal and not public. In fact, we don’t know. We have the research of Margaret Mead about Samoa, but it is claimed that the Samoans gave socially desired answers, such as ‘No, there is no criminality here’.  

In the Far East, homosexuality and pedosexuality are common phenomena, but there one does not speak about it in those cultures. For the native people, it is taboo; western tourists have more freedom than the native people. Ethnic and indigenous communities keep their information to themselves; tourists can only look from the outside. In the western world, ethnic communities do the same – for example, the Chassidic Jews in London, the Nordic community in Athens, the Arabic communities in Germany, and the large Spanish speaking communities in the Americas. 

These communities also have a kind of solidarity that closes the door to western police investigators or to researchers. By studying their languages one can learn the ways people give names to phenomena and the way they interpret them. For example, from even a basic knowledge of Arabic, it is possible to learn that the individual and society, men and women, boys and girls, and the relationships between them are regarded in a completely different way.  

“I am living in the Far East. As a researcher, I have concluded that western ways of thinking do not work there. The indigenous communities have their own way of interpreting phenomena like intergenerational relationships – a less problematic way. But if a western person, a tourist or researcher, knocks at their door, the door opens no further than ajar. They also have their own, often for us difficult, languages to give names. For example, intimate contacts between men are not seen nor described there as “homosexual’, a term referring to an identity. There are a lot of boy-lovers there, but they are not named with western terms like ‘pedophiles’ as an identity. They have quite different concepts, words and ways of thinking. So, the concept of ‘pedophilia’ and all questions around it, are typical western phenomena.” 

The same holds for phenomena like prostitution. Many religions and cultures have temple-prostitution as well as civil prostitution. In countries like Morocco and India, boys’ prostitution is quite normal. In the Thai culture, man-boy relationships have a positive value. These relationships are not viewed as ‘apart’. But these cultures are like islands, closed to foreigners. People want to have their own room and do not want people who impose themselves on those communities.  

A similar question is why there are so few women in the child love movement. There are some, but a few only. For women, it is accepted worldwide if they intimately go about with children, so there is less of a problem. Also, women are viewed as less longing for sexual pleasures. “Women don’t do things like that”, as Queen Victoria said, signing the bill against male homosexuality.  

The modern counter variants are the western feminists who try to put feminism on the agenda of the eastern women. Eastern people have a completely other view on males and females and masculinity and femininity, so feminists are quite unwelcome there. Sexism, as well as racism, is a typical western phenomenon. 

d. A paradigm shift, and so, a new model

During modernism, the fundamental incentive of the groups was emancipation. The underlying theme of emancipation is: power contra powerlessness. Then, discussion groups were formed in which people explored their feelings and opinions in meetings. The underlying theme was here: authenticity, and truth versus untruthfulness.  

Nowadays, we live in post-modernism, and the former themes are no longer discussed. The new underlying theme is living together in spite of differences between people. An example is the ability of fundamental Christians to live together with modern Christians and many different-minded people. After all, religion has changed from a more or less uniform way of living into a wide variety of forms and beliefs.  

The great theme is now living together, which implies themes like human rights, righteousness, and society. This is far more than emancipation and meeting. There has been a paradigm shift. The new paradigm uses a new language. The old language of the emancipation model no longer appeals to people.  

For example, in the emancipation model the priority is to clarify one’s own thinking, or the opinions of one’s minority group. In the living together model, the priority is to clarify and understand the opinions of others, including your opponents. This kind of thinking appeals to people after that paradigm shift – no longer the notion of emancipation, important as it has been for our, or at least for my, generation. For my generation, the emancipation model was the central way of thinking and acting.  

Nowadays, other models appeal to people, the emancipation models no longer do so. The gay movement has had its emancipation and liberation. The ped-movement has not. These people have to emancipate in an era when the model of emancipation no longer holds any appeal. Also the Civil Liberation Movement no longer concentrates on liberation, but on human rights. The paradigm has been shifted.  

Foucault studied especially those paradigm shifts in history. These shifts are the lines of history, not the straightforward lines thought before. Two such shifts that he described are the ways of thinking about homosexuality and about the prison system. The history of western thinking is a history of paradigm shifts. This is ‘the archaeology of knowledge’, the different ways of thinking in the past. This is the actual way of knowing: exploring the worldwide different ways of thinking. It is impossible to understand the modern world by thinking along western lines only.  

Nowadays, in the post-modern era, that new kind of thinking is still not a harmonious whole. It is still a kettle with a brew, a mixture of ways of thinking without any structure. We see this, to take the earlier example, in the churches. A mixture of different beliefs exists with and near to one another, with the common task of mutual acceptance. In the past, it was a world of opposing beliefs, orthodoxy versus heresy. This is no longer accepted nowadays.  

Now, it is a pluralistic world in which we live, a world that accepts differences between people. The old stable models like Christianity, communism, socialism and capitalism – the one against the other - have lost their strength and stability.  

Well, speaking now about people with pedophilic feelings, the time has passed for seeing them – or for them to see themselves - as people with a particular belief that other people have to be persuaded to accept. In our pluralistic world, one can better view them as people who ask for a modest place under the sun – and who give their opponents the same right. But not to have the right to start witch-hunts and systematically to persecute people who hold particular feelings.  

A problematical factor relates to our latter-day emperors and popes: the media, with their enormous influence on people’s way of thinking. Just as with former rulers, the media want to control people’s thought – or want to maintain their power by mirroring the public’s way of thinking.  

Powerful counter forces nowadays exist in the level of social consciousness and in pleas for pluralism and human rights. Therefore, be conscious of the post-modern society we live in, analyse society and pluralism, and also analyse the way of thinking of our opponents. Remember, too, to use more models than just the western one in that analysis. Discover and explore the words and grammar of post-modern language, and employ it.

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