Dutch shocklog Retecool has posted an entry containing a link to an episode of the BBCâ€™s Hard Talk in which Stephen Sackur is grilling Dutch right-wing MP Geert Wilders, founder of Group Wilders and the new Party of Freedom.
You can watch the episode by clicking here (RealPlayer, 23 minutes). Before you click, please read whatâ€™s below the fold first.
In a recent article, not yet on-line, in The New Yorker Magazine entitled The Dutch Model, Holland faces its radical Muslims Jane Parker describes Geert Wilders as follows:
“Geert Wilders, a flamboyant but straight version of Pim Fortuyn whose claim to serious attention had mainly to do with the number of dead threats he received.” (hat tip Dutch weblog Sargasso)
I am not going to dissect Wildersâ€™ entire political programme, a small quote taken from the official Group Wilders site should suffice for now:
Now you too can help to preserve our common heritage. The struggle for the survival of our traditional values is not limited to one country. It is a world-wide fight that knows no boundaries.
Or, if you are really interested, you can read a speech he made in Rotterdam on January 31st 2005 (look to left sidebar, choose “In English” and then “Rotterdam speech”).
If I am not going to talk about Wildersâ€™ programme, why then am I posting this entry on AFOE? First of all, because the Hard Talk debate is a good primer for understanding the (far?) right-wing side of Dutch politics and it is much better to hear and see the main protagonists in action rather than having to read about them.
Secondly, I wonder to what extent this kind of exposure affects the image of The Netherlands abroad. For instance, Wilders made two highly contestable statements in his debate with Sackur (and at one point he even referred to Daniel Pipes). Here are the two quotes:
â€Europe is weak and full of cowardsâ€
â€œTolerance today would be suicideâ€
How does Europe see The Netherlands today? If The Netherlands are noticed at all, of course. Does Wilders’ performance on Hard Talk influence your opinion in any way? Or, have you heard all this before in your own countries? Please, enlighten us. And, once again, I ask you to remain civil.