I would like here to answer certain allegations made against Dutch jazz pianist Reinier van der Sandt by Joe Moreno on his website saisathyasai.com.
As mentioned, I had never heard of Reinier until Joe informed me of a page Reinier had put up, flaming me (albeit only mildly) for being part of the pro-Sai camp.
While I wish that I could think of myself as a spiritually advanced person, the fact is that I am still as mired in samsara, and prey to anger and dislike, as the next person. It is all part of human nature, and it isn't until one attains true Enlightenment that one is free of this limitation. So, being the imperfect being that I am, I decided to see what Joe had written on Reinier. This is when I discovered a real internet flamewar, full of abusive ad hominen attacks that did not make either side look good. One Yahoo Sai Baba forum, sathyasaibaba2, was and still is full of the most puerile and adolescent name calling. Of course one can see this sort of behaviour in many forums - even in certain (not all!) elements of the versus subculture (where fans of Star Wars and Star Trek attack and insult each other and each other's preferred franchise). It is the ugly lower emotional side of the net.
Anyway Joe, in his usual fastidious manner, had documented every page both on Yahoo and on Reinier's website directed against him, and there were at the time a large number of these (the links to these have since been removed from the current saisathyasai.com as the pages are no longer up, but Joe's full documentation remains). This is when I felt a great sympathy for Joe, at at apparently being unjustly attacked, a sympathy that only evaporated much later when I received Joe's tirade against me for suggesting that, since Reinier had taken down his pages, it would be a good idea for Joe to do likewise, and so help bring some peace and small consciousness to at least a small corner of the net.
So the Joe that I respected at the time was different to the Joe who revealed himself later. It was more that I was thinking him to act the way I would act; often I am shocked when people don't act that way. I see now that it is a naivety on my part to expect everyone to be spiritual.
Anyway, at this time I still imagined Joe to be like myself, and because of human imperfection I had a bias against Reinier (not that I at any time saw him as a bad guy, but it was more an annoyance at being accused of something I didn't do). So when Joe, on the basis of a single email Reinier posted as part of the internet flamewar, expressing his disgust at child porn on the Net, accused Reinier of himself being a paedophile, I also went to that page, noticed the strange wording Reinier used, and reading between the lines found myself coming to exactly the same conclusions, for the same reasons of phrasing (e.g. someone denying on the surface but actually "giving themself away") that Joe had in his analysis. But just to be sure, checked the original page on the Yahoo archives to make sure that Joe had faithfully mirrored the page in question (he had). Joe also linked to another post on this Yahoo Sai Baba forum, in which Reinier again writing in clumsy English, seems to be implying racism or scatology (it's hard to know which). Joe took this as evidence of Reinier's racism, and I though "hmm yeah ok." I even wrote a long psychological diagnosis, based on what I had learned from Joe's site and Reinier's postings.
Joe has also documented emails and internet pages in which Reinier shows that he is a conservative Christian; I also incorporated this into my own analysis.
Joe's argument is that anti-Sai, Christian, and paedophilia go together (at least a number of times)
When Reinier showed true principles and unilaterally took down all his attack pages (not just against me, but the many pages against Joe and Lisa), I thought very much more highly of him, although I still believed Joe's paedophilia allegations. But it turns out however that in this I have completely misunderstood (and wronged) Reinier.
My wake-up call came when I discovered that Reinier's English is not the best. From what I have been told, he can read it fine, but he can write it only very poorly, as well a snot being a fluent English-speaker.
Suddenly everything fell into place. Reinier's flame pages were indeed poorly written, the reason being simply because he his English is poor. In the two emails I have received from him, he only writes a line or two, the rest is quoted reply. (Some readers may think - yeah, but maybe Reinier is being evasive or he may be afraid of writing things that may be used against him. Perhaps you could pose a number of questions of a sort most likely to need longer answers. Then you will have some direct specimens to examine) And as for the paedophilia and racism allegations, well, it is simply his clumsy English that makes it seem like - assuming he was an experienced and fluent English speaker and writer - he was blurting out things which could be read "between the lines". How many of us, were we speaking in a language we are very poor at, would make similar mistakes? And were he a native English speaker, or even a very fluent foreigner, I would stand by original analysis. But I can see now, the real situation, and I feel very deeply ashamed at myself for impugning (even out of ignorance) the reputation of someone who it seems is actually a very decent man.
The curious thing is that Joe, with all his fastidious and obsessive researching of facts, emails, long distance phone calls, and all the rest, did not bother to confirm this one simple fact, that Reinier's English is very poor.
This is why I have now become very cynical and sceptical of the saisathyasai site. His allegations against Reinier, Sanjay, and others, even more than those against Barry Pittard, shows Joe's modus operandi, and his strange (but typically paranoid?) combination of honesty (to the facts he discovers) and bias (by only discovering and researching only what he wants to see, and ignoring those that would demolish his conclusions)
I have since also been reliably informed that Reinier's pages were in response to previous attacks by Joe on him. So Joe's attacks began in full scope before Reinier responded, then Joe responded to Reinier again and Reinier again etc. Joe Moreno will deny this, so it is a question of choosing who to believe; everyone has to decide according to their own conscience.
Thus of the four instances of allegations against ex-devotees or anti-Sai people I have examined in depth (Barry, Andries, Sanjay, and Reinier) in each case I have found an obsession with nick-picking little details while completely ignoring the heart of the message, or directing that same driving desire for facts to facts that may disprove the original hypothesis. This is the blind spot in Joe's analysis, and seems intimately associated with his paranoid obsessiveness; in fact this seems to be the way that paranoia itself functions). I use Wordsworth's phrase "murdering to dissect" to describe this general attitude, which I feel is very widespread in society, and can be seen at all levels of business and government. For example the Islamic paranoia of the West (many sincere Moslems cannot believe that their people are responsible for 9/11; they consider it an American conspiracy to justify the attack on Iraq (link) or a Zionist conspiracy (link). Similarly the Western paranoia against Moslems, such as George W. Bush's belief that Saddam was buddies with bin Ladin, the right-wing paranoia against environmentalists, fundamentalist Christian paranoia against evolutionists, and so on. Everywhere one finds this selective belief in certain facts, obsessively-paranoidly accumulated, and selective ignorance and denial of any facts that will demolish the favoured belief
Finally (to get back to the page in question), a word on Reinier's non-devotee status. This is mentioned by Joe and it is correct. I have learned that the reason Reinier got involved in this whole scene is because a friend of his was sexually molested by Sathya Sai Baba. While Reinier is not a former devotee, he is, on the evidence that I am increasingly uncovering, a principled person who is concerned with matters of social justice. He also seems to tend to over-impulsiveness, rushing in where angels fear to tread, then going out of his way to make amends once his rash behaviour is pointed out to him. In this he and I are kindred spirits, because I am often guilty of the very same thing, and I know how it infuriates people (as well as makes me feel really bad). The problem in this case is that Reinier's impulsiveness has been in relation to the ex-devotee pro-Sai war, and this involves some very unforgiving people. And here is the danger of the internet as a whole. In real life, people say things in the heat of passion, and then the moment of anger passes and everything is fine. On the net, an angry email or a stupid faux pas is there (I recall that you will need to correct this phrase somewhere else) forever. This problem is made worse by the illusory sense of intimacy that this media creates. There is just oneself, the computer, and the screen. There is no feedback with other people, no nonvocal body languages, no restraints that serve as the checks and (many people will not understand this phrase) balances for us "naked apes" in any social situation. It is just pure affective (emotional) nature, lack of inhibitions, letting one's immature childish self, all that stuff that is normally repressed for the sake of civilized behaviour and without which all human society would be impossible; it all ruins rampant, and that's cyberspace. If you are sometimes a bit impulsive person, like Reinier, or like myself, it can be a real trap. Especially if you are dealing with an individual, or with people, who is or are absolutely unforgiving. And who will never ever ever forgive, ever, and never ever forget, or let you forget, or let you move on or learn from even the most minor mistakes. And will obsess, and hold up forever (or at least as their websites remain) as claims of your guilt, perverted expanations of even the most innocent or harmless statements.
And this is why I have written this page defending Reinier against what I now consider to be the completely unjust and unfounded, slanderous and ad hominem, allegations made against him.
Reinier van der Sandt Home page
Note: from the famous lines of William Wordsworth in his poem 'The Tables Turned'
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