Argentine tango, Political Philosophy and Real Life

Tango, Taxi and Fraternity

Fraternity or rather Solidarity as an essential part of
Fraternity in Monument of the Republic, Paris

I was dancing tango in Barcelona and couldn’t leave early because the dancing in Tango Pantera was so good that night. So after the Cumparsita song, traditionally the last one of the evening, I realized I needed to find my way home. I had told my friend in whose apartment I was staying that I would be fine. I had my mouth, my tango map of Barcelona, my phone and my wallet, so that it would not be any problem.

Somehow however, I did not want to make the change from strong, independent woman to the needy tourist, so I did not ask the tangueros still standing there on the street. The tango map however did only have the biggest streets on it, so my street Fraternitat did not appear. My phone was out of data. When I finally asked random people in the street the road to ‘Fraternitat’, they had no clue. I thought this was very strange. I was in the Plaza de la Libertat, with the Mercat de la Libertat , so surely Fraternitat could not be far from here. In my neighbourhood Gràcia I had seen the streets Libertat and Progrés nearby, so it had to be around the corner, I thought. But after wandering around for twenty minutes to no avail, I realized I had now come to my last resort: the taxi.

Mercat de Libertat

I waited at the crossroads of two bigger streets and soon a taxi with a green light appeared and stopped. Suddenly, however, three youngsters ran up to it, trying to open the doors and when they remained locked, they shouted something to the taxi driver trough the open window. He yelled something back, drive a few meters further, gave me a signal with his eyes and then opened the back door for me. I asked him “és libre?”, “Si, signora”, he replied and we drove off.

Statue of Lady Liberty, NY

“Oh, these people”, he began, “people think that taxi drivers are like wage slaves or worse even, their personal slaves. They think that they can do what they like in the car, treat us like dirt, simply because they are paying for it. But I will not have it, signora. Money is only one thing, one aspect of life. But there are many and many others: civility, being kind to people, politeness, a nice conversation, enjoying yourself. Not everything can be bought. There is also the aspect of heling people in need. So when you sense, for instance, that there is a woman on the street in need, frightened or else, I do not care, if the richest people in the world would ask me a trip for a double fare, but I would help that lady”.

Statue of Lady Grande Liberty, Quito, Equador

“I am glad you stood up to them”, I said, I really appreciate your kindness”. “But of course”, he replied. “We are first and foremost a community of humans and for foremost a capitalist economy. That is only one aspect”. After many turns in the labyrinth of one-way streets in Gràcia, I saw a different Libertat street, Progrés and then Fraternitat. Under six euros. And, wow, I thought, what a great lesson in political philosophy was that! Of course fraternity or rather solidarity needs to accompany liberty, otherwise we get the small, capitalist version of Liberty and not a grand version of Liberty!

Lady Progress at top of the CST station of Mumbay

I wish you all great Christmas and End of the Year festivities!

Rianne Voet


Hurray: Book Contract!

Publisher Aspekt is going to publish my historical novel: “Het Land van Thorn. Een vondelinge in een 800-jarig Limburgs vrouwenrijk”. You will have noticed that I have been silent in this blog for a while. Sorry! The reason was that I was working on the last version of the manuscript. But now it will be published in Dutch within eight months and later I am going to publish in it English under another title.

Contract signed and posted!

An 800-year old Limburgian women’s empire

The story is about the foundling Anna in an 800-year-old Limburgian women’s empire within the current territory of the Netherlands. What? Women have ruled for 800 years there? Why have we not heard about this in our history lessons? You know, because it has been HIStory and not HERstory for a very long time! Slowly, we are changing this and this novel will be part of that proces.

Aquarel of Castle of Thorn

Women’s Power in Thorn

In the Land of Thorn women had civil, politital and even military power. They were not nuns even though they looked liked them. But they did not have to give the oaths of obedience, chastity and poverty. The ‘stift’ Anna was placed in was more like a boarding school for girls and women of very high nobility. They received an education making them suitable to marry counts, dukes and kings. At the head of the government supporting this structure was a Queen-Abbess.

Reconstruction of the dress the nobel women from Thorn worn in church

The story: Anna, a foundling

The story starts in Thorn, near Roermond, 1788. Anna is a foundling who, after charity, was admitted to the “Stift”, the boarding school, after her birth. She is afraid that she will be sent away now that she is eighteen. Anna wants to become important for other foundlings someday and find out who her parents are or were. She just doesn’t know how. Then an interesting offer is maid to her.

Ä Young Gril Reading” by Fragonard

The political situation

The turmoil in Anna’s heart is reflected in her environment. It is a revolutionary period, certainly in Limburg. In The United Dutch Republic, the patriots push William V, its representative on the defense. His wife Wilhelmina of Prussia calls in her brother, the King of Prussia, who comes with an army. Eventually the patriots gain more power and Willem V flees with Wilhelmina to England. The Batavian Republic is created, but Prussia, Austria and France prey on the Limburg territory. Will this 800-year-old women’s kingdom Het Land van Thorn survive?

Thorn in the time of the book: end 18th century

A question

If you want to be put on an email list in order to follow the Dutch or English publication, please send me an e-mail at: Now I am ready to write more regularly blogs for you! Promised!