The feel good motorcycle club story of the week is the news that three members of the No Surrender Motorcycle Club will not be prosecuted by the Dutch government for going to Syria and joining a Kurdish army called the Peshmerga to fight the medieval demons who call themselves the Islamic State. The three patch holders are all former Dutch Marines and until now it was a crime for a Dutch citizen to leave the country to fight in another army, like for example the French Foreign Legion.
“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable. Now it’s no longer forbidden,” a spokesman for the Dutch Public Prosecution Service named Wim de Bruin told the Agence France Presse Tuesday. “You just can’t join a fight against the Netherlands.”
This is an easy story if you look at it superficially but it has more lose threads than an old sweater. Some of the details that impede the narrative are the fact that the Kurdish ethnic minority in Northern Iraq and Syria has been involved in a war of independence from NATO ally Turkey for the last three decades. Yesterday the Turks bombed Kurdish forces after apparently promising our President they would bomb the guerilla army that calls itself the Islamic State.
There is a growing consensus in the print media to call that guerilla army “Islamic State.” Television journalists are more likely to call it “ISIS” which is an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. President Obama, demonstrating the kind of fatuous pedanticism that makes even his fans gag, insists on calling the group “ISIL” which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Whatever you call them, they are the bag of nuts who have beheaded four Americans and Brits on YouTube, in whose name a French tourist was beheaded in Algeria and who publish a slick, weekly webzine called the Islamic State Report. This week’s issue includes a long article explaining how the Koran compels true believers to sell captured women and children into sex slavery.
Most people in the west agree, hoorah for the three No Surrender patch holders. Here’s wishing them good luck. What was the name of that club again?
The enlistment of the three patch holders was announced by No Surrender president Klaas Otto who has previously demonstrated a talent for public relations. Sometimes Otto calls himself “General.”
No Surrender is an offshoot of another Dutch motorcycle club called the Satudarah Motorcycle Club. No Surrender’s mother chapter clubhouse is a former Satudarah clubhouse in a town called Zundert. Both clubs are growing very fast. No Surrender was founded in late 2012 and now has 33 chapters in Holland, Germany, Spain and Belgium. According to published reports No Surrender has 160 members in Spain alone.
Satudarah was founded by Dutch-Indonesians in 1990. It has 44 chapters in Holland and has chapters in Belgium, Spain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Norway. Satudarah also claims eleven support clubs including a club in England. When it was founded, No Surrender patched over at least 100 members of Satudarah. Satudarah still has at least 800 members in Holland.
Law Abiding And Multicultural
Dutch police and Otto have both accused Satudarah of being criminals. In an interview last year, Otto said, “For me Satudarah and the Angels are not so different. They are both traditional clubs with generally older bikers.”
Otto told a Dutch newspaper, “I have a club in mind that is open to motorcycle enthusiasts from all cultures. Whether it is for Turks, Moroccans, football hooligans, Gypsys or Antilleans, everyone is welcome. That gives No Surrender an obviously huge attraction which explains how we have grown so fast.”
Both clubs are “multicultural.” Satudarah’s members are mostly Dutch or an Indonesian minority called Ambonese but the club also has patched in Surinamese, Dutch Antilleans, Moroccans and Turks. Last year the Italian magazine Panorama reported that a No Surrender party included “halal food, ‘out of respect for our Muslim brothers,’ and a belly dancer.” Panorama also reported that No Surrender had “150 prospects” who were “Turks and Moroccans.” About 70,000 Kurds live in Holland.
So far, neither Satudarah nor No Surrender have announced plans to expand to the United States.