Local Heart, Global Soul

March 5, 2010

Rocking the Political boat… …tsunami style.

I don’t tell people who I vote for, but it won’t take much for you to work out at least who I didn’t vote for.

The results for yesterdays elections are in and for me it’s a big disappointment to see that Geert Wilders’s far-right party (PVV) has come first as a percentage of the over-all vote in Almere and second in the vote in the Hague.

These were actually the only two areas of the Netherlands where this party put up PVV candidates, and to see this result  in Almere (a city slightly east of Amersterdam) and in the Hague where I live,  does not bode well for their plans to field more candidates in other areas in the National General Election that will be held in a few months time.

If you look at the policies of Wilder’s on a very shallow level, then yes, I agree ( as would most people) that people who wish to make The Netherlands their Home, should learn the language and do their best to integrate into society and function as normal Dutch citizens.

I also think that people who come here and demand that Dutch society be instead be integrated  into the way of their country, is unreasonable: no country should compromise  it’s identity and change for the few that think that compromise is a one way street that means only that your new country should bend to your wishes.

And yes, if you choose to live in another country and then you discover you don’t like it’s society, then maybe it’s  time for you to move and go somewhere that suits you better.

Fortunately, the extremist views of a small number of   immigrants, are just that… the views of a few. The vast majority are instead, law abiding citizens who work hard, fit in, pay taxes and enjoy the freedom and lifestyle that the Netherlands has to offer. They are the silent majority, and whilst they don’t always blend in to the stereotypical  Dutch prototype visually, they contribute just as much as their Dutch counterparts to society in general.

Geert Wilder’s campaigns under an “Anti- Islamisation of the Netherlands” theme,  and he is apparently not anti-immigration, but rather is blatantly Anti-Islam. In fact, he is currently waiting trial for an alleged hate speech against Muslims, and for calling Islam a fascist religion and comparing the Koran with Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Look deeper and the tone of Wilder’s policies and rhetoric is darker than it first seems, there is little or no tolerance,  all Muslims would be tarred with the same brush, generalized and in his world, preferably also ostracized and expelled.

So, how has the famously tolerant Dutch society come to this ? For many, what they saw as the last straw that broke the camels back was the murder of  Theo Van Gogh  by muslim extremist Mohammed Bouyeri,  in an Amsterdam street back  in 2004.  Yes I agree that that act was despicable,  but isn’t tarring an entire section of society with one brush because of it, taking things too far?

I worry that  in the coming general election, the PVV party, lead by Wilder’s will put up more candidates.  If they should attract the vote as these have done in yesterdays election then our offices of power, who are supposed to govern in the interests of all Dutch citizens, will instead, be visibly partial to some and not to others.

It matters less who is the favoured and who is the target, the idea of  two tier society, where one has favour over the other is a slippery path  for any person in governmental responsibility to step out on.

Against extremists, of any creed, colour or ideology there will always have to be measures, but I fear that a giant wedge is coming to our country, that will be driven between friends, colleagues, neighbours and families. People who get on well, but just have a different religion, neither forcing anything down each other throats who accept each other as human beings rather than as “brand X” or Brand Y” religion.

Where is our ability to bring together a blend of peoples and to live harmoniously together? Why not embrace our differences, extend our knowledge and just work hard together for the life and freedoms that we enjoy here”

For me the deepest worry is also: if one sector of society is willing to marginalize another and that becomes standard practice:  then where might it end?

Democracy is important, but so too is the thinking, inquiring, diverse multi-cultural mind: if society is only made up of clones of me and my point of view, then what’s the point?

I hope that the The Netherlands is not headed into this kind of division. It would be like stepping back to black and white TV after enjoying decades of brilliant colour.

2 Comments »

  1. It’s extraordinary, the way conservatives the world over seem to be increasingly fearful of diversity, especially regarding Islam/Muslims. Certainly we’ve seen our share of it here in the States, but it’s also happening quite publicly in Britain, France, Spain, and now, clearly, in the Netherlands. It’s an obscene circle: the more these reactionaries spew their hatred, the more hatred they generate in return. Ugh. I hope they all get over it soon, for the good of their respective countries.

    Comment by blisterina — March 6, 2010 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  2. It’s getting a bit tasty in Britain too.

    Last year at the European election, the BNP (British National Party), a fascist party by any other name, got a couple of seats. In the past they have had small victories in the East End of London (my patch), though they were voted out at the following election. Our own General election will be happening in the next few months, probably in May and the BNP are going for it in Barking and Dagenham, one of the poorer areas of East London. In times of economic difficulties like now, there’s always the chance for extremists to grab that horses tail and fly. Hitler’s Germany springs to mind.

    I know of this Geert Wilder because he tried to come to our country last year to show a short film slamming Islam. He was sent back and I remember at the time thinking he should’ve been banned for that hair alone. Unfortunately, he managed to get through this time and he was here last week, showing this film to some politicians (not from any of the main parties, I should add). I know it must be disheartening to think you voted in good faith only to find this muppet’s in place, but at least you made an effort. I don’t know how engaged the people of the Netherlands are when it comes to voting, but if you don’t go and vote, you cannot complain about the person that gets in, because it was your apathy that created it. Personally, I don’t know what to do for this election. I don’t want to vote for any of the parties, but I don’t want to not vote either. I wish there was a ‘none of the above’ option on the ballot sheet. I’d put my cross against that one straight away, as long as it didn’t help create a BNP government.

    Comment by pienbiscuits — March 9, 2010 @ 11:28 pm | Reply


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