Outrageous Publicity Tour
Travel agents are the connection between consumers/travellers and the KLM. Saturday 20th November promised to be a long day for the action tour. The action consisted of a tour of travel agents in Amsterdam and its surroundings. We asked the travel agents themselves to sign a letter and to send it to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The public were approached outside the travel agencies by activists in KLM uniforms.The places that we visited were the Amsterdamse Poort, and shopping centres in the Bijlmer and North Amsterdam. Among the travel agencies that we visited were D Reizen, BBI Reizen, Holiday Land (Neckerman), and Brooks.
"If KLM don't do it then who will? The people have to be deported." "What is it that you want? We cannot let everyone in." "You are blowing the whole thing out of proportion and are helping encourage racism." We did not allow ourselves to be discouraged. With our KLM aeroplane, minibus, uniforms and jingle we took part in a lot of discussions. North Amsterdam, a predominantly 'white' neighbourhood appeared to contain a lot of racism. Many of the Surinamers that we spoke to in the Bijlmer were amazed at KLM's involvement in deportations and promised to avoiding them in the future. Children were allowed to take their places in the pilots seats on the front of the aircraft and ride around. compitition for them came from Sinter Klaas and Zwarte Piet (do they have residence permits?) who appeared wherever we were.
Our answers to those who criticised the action was that as we see it the situation as it is now is untenable; force and violence are used and deportations are often carried out in a way that is haphazard and ruled by political whim. The alternative to this has yet to be formulated. We did not demand that holiday makers mount a boycott but simply confronted them with the fact that people are deported on the same aeroplanes that they take to their holiday destinations.
We demand a more humane policy from KLM.
That the target chosen and the means used have bought about a debate remains clear, this debate forms itself part of the action. The travel agents informed us that they would be sending copies of the signed letter to their own head offices. The action tour continues.