Dutch (in)tolerance

Dutch shocklog Retecool has posted an entry containing a link to an episode of the BBC’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 what’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 Wilders’ 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 Wilders’ 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:

”Europe is weak and full of cowards”

“Tolerance today would be suicide”

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.

30 thoughts on “Dutch (in)tolerance

  1. Well he had me until he said that Holland should me majority white. The he backtracked and said Islamic. Oh well.

    The host cracks me up though. He points to the fact that European governments want Turkey in the EU as an example of bringing a democratic Islamic country into the European fold, whilst blatantly ignoring the fact that European citizens don’t want Turkey at all. And then he says “Europe needs a demographic boost”. lol, no shit Sherlock. TRY HAVING SOME GODDAMN KIDS.

    It’s all so depressing to hear this crap, for that’s what it is. There is simply no common sense in European debate about these things. It’s either absurdist, leftist PC shite, or racist( and I mean Websters proper definition, not this ‘lets call everything racist, when it clearly isn’t’ European group think definition) garbage.

    The clearest thinking I’ve heard coming from Europe is typically from non-Europeans who actually value Europe’s culture, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

  2. Islamophobia

    This seems to be a European problem without solution. In my country, Portugal, this isn’t really something people talk about because our islamic population is very small and inconspicuous (0.5 of total pop.) but the prospect of Turkey entering the EU is enough to frighten most people.

    That said, I must say that Geert Wilders is clearly exploiting peoples enhanced sensibilities (after 9/11, the Madrid and London terrorist attacks and especialy the murder of Theo van Gogh), for its political ends.

    There is clearly a sense of uneasyness about the future in Europe (the pressures of globalization on jobs and the social state, the new demographic trends and immigration, social instability and islamic terrorism) that is providing fertile ground for all kinds of extremist ideologies to start looking acceptable and even desirable for an increasing number of people.

    «Does Wilders’ performance on Hard Talk influence your opinion in any way? »

    I don’t support Wilders’ ideas but I understand the overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear that is pervading throughout The Netherlands today. I think that this strong anxiety about the future is being felt more or less everywhere in Europe and I think that the vast majority of Europeans understand the Dutch without upholding Mr. Wilders’ political opinions.

  3. I might not have commented if it weren’t for the reference above to LGF. It wasn”t until I went to Europe that I became fully aware of the multi-ethnic realities I’d grown with in the new world. The experience of an entire country full of Germans struck me without thinking as odd, much odder than a country of Americans, Chileans or Brazilians. I laughed within seconds of having the thought, but those few seconds were interesting.

  4. Yes, the Netherlands is more fucked up than your average European country.
    Take a look at this:
    “The Amsterdam borough of De Baarsjes has already decided to remove a white cross which serves as a memorial to the Second World War. The cross is situated not far from the place where a mosque is being built. According to the authorities “Muslims and Jews” take offense at the cross as a war memorial. “We told them that it is a Dutch tradition to refer to the dead with a cross. However, the cross is seen as a reference to Christianity. I can understand this,” the local (Christian-Democrat) councillor, Jan Voetberg, said.”
    A lot of people in the netherlands are really worried by the rise of islamofascism. Most of them regret it very much that this foolish Wilders is presented as an important spokesman of us.

    Maybe this could be of interest to you too: http://www.fransgroenendijk.nl/reactieding.php?id=644_0_1_0_C

    I am told to shut up about the war memorial cross by the same guy who told me that I “should get used to” women being called whores because of not being veiled. In my country.

  5. The islamization of Europe will once end up by a huge wave of ethnic cleansing. I’m only not sure who will cleanse whom.

  6. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a publicity-seeking populist who only gets attention shreiking about non-existent problems. Despite the fact that the conutry’s economy has been in the toilet for the past few years, sitting ministers can make the most incompetent and stupid of actions, that people are emigrating in higher numbers, taxes have increased, etc, etc, many people and media in the Netherlands seem content to navel gaze and do nothing about the real problems in society.

    There is a complete lack of any intelligent dialogue or thinking in Dutch political life these days, and heaven forbid that someone should take politicians to task for their statements (as the BBC guy did). Anyone remember the statement from the politician in Rotterdam that minority babies have a higher chance of being “unloved” and so therefore there should be forced abortions under law?

    A poll of expats in the country last year said that 70% of them did not like living in the country and 40% will leave. This is very bad for the reputation of a country which, until the current government took over, prided itself on being pragmatic and outward-looking.

    Now, people have to watch an idiotic titty movie and pay Euro 350 to take a test with moronic questions like “What is remarkable about Dutch traffic?” (poor drivers, I dunno) before they will be let in the country.

    The result is already seen. Westerners and educated people are leaving the country while Geert Wilders and those whom he obsesses about remain.

  7. Well, I see Luddiger and Weman understand what Guy meant when asking to “remain civil”.
    When you criticize islam, for example on the interesting concept of killing apostates, you are a fascist. If you do not agree with that you get the Luddiger treatment: take an already very stupid remark from somebody else that also cricizes islam, make it look even worse than it was in the first place and there you are. This woman criticizes islam. This woman made a very stupid remark with sounds outricht fascistic when I changed it a little bit. So if you criticize islam too then logic tells us: you are a fascist.
    wikipedia on apostacy.
    The Penalties for Apostasy in Islam.
    But of course now you can tell that must be all anti-islamic propaganda (just like the story of child-rape by this Mohammed): Abdul Rachman is released.
    Prove of the nature of the religion of peace?
    “Almost all Afghan parliamentarians have reportedly flayed the government’s decision to allow the convert to fly to Italy. Voicing their displeasure they said the trial should have continued against Joel in Afghanistan. “

  8. The woman Kuddiger refers to is a Rotterdam follower of Fortuyn. She tried to put a very serious social problem on the agenda: the fact that hundreds of children are born in a situation where they with almost 100% certainty can be expected to have a really terrible life. If they survive. Children born from very young mothers, drugaddicts with a history of child molest and the mentally retarded. She proposed to get rid of the taboo on forced abortion and start discussing this problem seriously. Because she added –correctly- that a disproportionate number of the very young mothers where single Antillian girls she was depicted as a nazi.
    Yes it was a very stupid way to get attention for this serious problem.

  9. Foot-in-mouth disease is a very common condition among Dutch politicians these days. After they do it a few times, you have to wonder if they’re patently unable to get used public attention or just plain stupid.

    Yes, a terrible life. Although there does seem to be a reoccuring pattern of white Dutch who slaughter their families. Nobody is talking about public execution for them.

    There seems to be a real problem in Dutch public life that some politicos feel the need that government should determine everything for everyone in society, and, of course, this means that they are the ones to decide.
    Government by a bunch of control freaks convinced of their own brilliance is the result. The model’s a disaster, and many simply decide that leaving is an easier option than trying to change the system.

    It’s like the dead tree in the back garden of my flat.

    My Dutch neighbors need three years, five meetings and two permits from the city to cut down a dead tree… and the thing is still up.

    I simply would have gotten a chainsaw (or called a couple of experts and paid them in cash) and cut the thing down in a controlled way. This way so doesn’t fall over in a high wind and crash into anything. But I’ve found a better job and leaving town, so it’s not my problem…. and so my neighbors remain whining and moaning, with a dead tree in the back yard.

  10. Talking about Wilders without talking about his program is hard, especially when you do mention the statements he makes. He is rather anti-Europe, and wants the Netherlands out of the EU and out of the Euro…

    We’ve been without a rightwing loony for years and thought it reflected upon our national character, but are caught with our pants down.

    I don’t know wether it affect our image much to be honest. People that know the country know better, people that don’t know the country are likely to repeat whatever suits their own agenda best. Facts never seem to have much impact on the weird idea’s that circulate.

  11. She proposed to get rid of the taboo on forced abortion and start discussing this problem seriously.

    You don’t have to add anything more to be called a Nazi. This is ample. If this is more than a fringe oppinion the Netherlands are leaving the basic European consensus.

  12. Wilders is worried about the Muslim minority imposing their “beliefs” on everyone else. Criticize Islam and you will be killed. Women need to be veiled in public or you will be called a whore (or raped). What happens the Muslim minority is no longer a minority? Wilders may make some outlandish statements, but I think he is correct in trying to stop the Muslims from imposing their beliefs on everyone else.

    Appeasement will not work.

  13. If they keep their current growth rate it will be 2080 before they reach parity so i can’t really see how you can worry about that.

  14. At what point do you start to worry about it? It will not be a problem for us, but it will be a problem for our grandchildren.

  15. To have parity in 80 years you have to have an unlikely high growth rate of 100% every 20 years, no defection (unlikely) and all the arabs have to move to Europe because their growthrate in the arab countries is to low for that. Only in that case could you get a slight muslim majority. In all not very likely.

  16. Well, so far the Balkie government is doing a good job at getting native Dutch to leave the country. Dutch people seem to be obsessed by Islam and muslims, which, to be honest, I’m sick of. The economy is in the toilet, there’s no accountability of any level of government, taxes keep rising, the health system has been completely screwed, businesses are moving out of the country…. but the problem is the office cleaner who likes going to a mosque.

    That’s pathetic.

    Have a job, don’t get in trouble and pay tax? You get nothing, and if you’re foreign, the government sees you as just as bad as a North African or Middle Easterner, regardless of nationality. At the same time, if Dutch were required to get visas to visit North America like someone from Iraq, Algeria or Congo, they’d be screaming at how different they were from those kinds of foreigners.

    It really is time for the Netherlands to think about leaving the European Union, or for the other countries to kick them out.

    I’m looking forward to living in a country where things like speaking the language, having a job and paying taxes are seen as valuable.

  17. Yes, there is a racist and intolerant wave in Holland. And it is certainly not good for its commerce, nor for the building of an European commonwealth. It is amazing, that an utter nut like Mr. Wilders, is being taken seriously. The famous Dutch “tolerance” has never been more than an empty shell. A shell that covers selfishness and group exclusivity.
    In my opinion, it is the “intrusion” of globalisation and of Europe into the parishes of Dutch grou egocentrism, that has provoked this sharp reaction to other cultures, in particular “the” Islam.
    Fortunately, as of late, there are some positive developments: Two days ago, representatives of all democratic parties (including government parties) signed a declaration, condemning the harsh attitude of the Balkenende government to immigrants and refugees. The local elections of March 9 resulted in an astounding progress of the social-democrat party, and heavy losses of the governmental majority parties, as well as a virtual cleaning swipe of the Fortuynist local parties, with the exception of the city of Rotterdam. Mr. Groenendijk, a would-be local politician in the city of Utrecht, who has been commenting here on this post, was not only thrown out from the election list of his local party because of his anti-islamic positions, but his list carried zero seats in the local council. The “cross” incident he mentions as having happened in Amsterdam, was a complete hoax, as I demonstrated some three weeks ago in a comment on his website and on my own blog “At Home in Europe” ( huibriethof.blogspot.com ). I consider the Groenendijks as a late echo of the Fortuyn hype, and I pray and hope, that a confrontation on an European level, as happens here, will help my fellow-Dutchmen to return to their senses.

  18. The only local party that had a strong anti immigrant image was leefbaar Rotterdam. The others were more anti parties without any real political ideas

  19. “Two days ago, representatives of all democratic parties (including government parties) signed a declaration, condemning the harsh attitude of the Balkenende government to immigrants and refugees.”
    The list included “interesting” people.
    Mohammed Rabae of GroenLinks. A man who supported Khomeini’s fatwa on Rushdie by arguing that the “Satanic Verses” should be censored. When he was interviewed by Theo van Gogh on the subject it turned out that he had not even read the book. We all now what happened to van Gogh afterwards… Rabae also told us that we have to tolerate muslim intolerance towards homosexuality.
    Then there is mr van Kemenade of the social democrats. A man who got the assignment to found out what went wrong on the Dutch ministry of defence when films disappeared that were very damaging on the role of the Dutch army in Srebrenica. Instead of seriously investigating this he came up with a political “solution”: taking away all the blame for the Dutch politicians. Covering up for the Dutch co-responsibility for the massacre of thousands of muslim-men.
    And there we have the former girlfriend of mr Riethof, Anja Meulenbelt, now senator for the socialists. On her own weblog she indirectly supports death-threats of the islamofascists against radical liberal muslims and describes muslims criticizing aspects of the islamic ideology strongly of not being “real” muslims.
    A fine group indeed.

    About the situation in the Amsterdam neighbourhood, where people like these political fossils decided to do away with a war memorial because muslims did not like the cross-shape of it near a new mosque that is being built , you can read something here.
    According to mr Riethof it was a hoax because massive protests from all parts of the country (including the catholic archbishop) made the city council change its stupid mind on the issue.

  20. I do not understand, why my love life of 35 years ago still matters to Mr. Groenendijk. I think, he is really seeking to become a victim of censorship here. But I would advise to let him ramble on. His paranoia deserves treatment, however. What about a Sufi course?

  21. When mr Riethof wrote a post in which he tried to counter-attack me on my critics towards mrs Meulenbelt he made an indirect reference to this relationship himself. If he had not done this I would not have made this reference.
    If he makes a reference on his own blog to his daugthers I do not think it is inappropriate to ask him what his daughters think about the fact that their father tells the Dutch they should get used to being called a whore for not wearing a veil.
    But maybe this attitude of me elicits new covert requests for censorship from mr Riethof.
    For some years now I have visited this blog (last year not very much) and followed numerous debates. Some of them were really heated.
    If I recall correctly Riethof still is the first visitor inviting censorship however. The fact that he disguises his invitation in my book only makes things worse.

  22. Here, I must abandon any effort at explanation: I do not understand anything of what he might mean. But, please, do NOT censor this nut – he might think he were another victim of the “multiculti maffia”. In your weblog-list, you could move him to the category “Way to our right”. My daughters are fine, thank you.

  23. Wow, guys, take it easy. As long as the discussion is honest and does not cross hate speech and troll barriers nobody gets censored.

  24. Well Frank, I gotta ask ya, isn’t there something else you can be obsessed about? This kind of thing makes you, and by extension the Balkie government, look pretty well… no wait I won’t say the word. Here’s a story instead.

    Ever heard the one about the man who takes himself hostage inside his home and then calls the police saying that he’s not going to release himself until his demands are met? (Hint, the rest of the world continues on, not paying any attention.)

    Europe is expanding and evolving, and NL is fast losing its power and influence….

  25. It is interesting to hear about these things I predicted this situation would happen. In 1989 I predicted a European Revolution. I am Jamaican born American who has traveled and worked the world over and also worked for the Department of Defense. I have lived and worked here from 1992 and still a subject of discrimination despite my Western background and the speaking and writing the Dutch language. It is sad because I volunteerd to come here to serve the Dutch military and citizens with my life if necessary and as a US Air Force veteran I am disappointed with the manner of treatment that I have received from different employers over the years. I am preparing to go back to my America with a sense of achievement and pride dispite all the negative experiences. I hope to continue to be a world citizen and continue to make the world a better place with the help of you all.

    Glen Miller

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