Non-fictional character is fouling his own nest

The Netherlands Antilles form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other members of the Kingdom are Aruba and the Netherlands. The Netherlands (located in Europe) is one of the richest countries on earth. Nevertheless, many Dutchmen are complaining that they don’t have enough to get by or even that they are facing poverty in the near future. There really is no justification for this attitude. The country is in a crisis. The Dutch people seem to be completely at loss as to who they are, what defines them and how to handle complicated issues like dealing with other cultures and religions, integration, stimulating economic growth, the health care-crisis and uncertainty in general. There is no vision and there is no mission.

Some politicians claim that the answers to such problems are rather simple. Such a politician is Mr. Geert Wilders, member of the Dutch parliament (‘Tweede Kamer’). According to him, the borders should be closed for people from a.o. Morocco and Turkey (not from Germany for example), he wants to amend the constitution to the effect that the Christian / Jewish / Humanistic culture remains dominant, he wants no more Islamic schools and mosques to be build for five years, and he wants to get rid of the former colony the Netherlands Antilles.

Mr. Wilders recently called the Netherlands Antilles politicians a bunch of crooks and at the same time degraded, stigmatized and offended the entire population by calling them a pack of thieves. Likewise, he has stigmatized, offended and demonized followers of the Islam, most of which are less fortunate or indeed very poor people. He states that the Islam itself (thus not only certain followers) is a dangerous and violent religion, and that Muslims should get rid of half of the Koran and moreover, that the Koran should be legally banned.

Mr. Wilders’ attacks are not based on facts, but are part of a well-chosen strategy to gain political power. It is all about getting votes through cheap rhetoric. He uses and stirs up fear of others. He never shies from rousing public sentiments. And to every counterattack, he responds by saying that it is an attempt to demonize him and thus increasing the risk that he will be attacked physically or even shot. The man most demonizing Mr. Wilders (and many others), is Mr. Wilders himself! His aims and tactics are clear, his political agenda not something to be proud of, and he himself is Undutch in not being tolerant and respectful.

Mahatma Gandhi, “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.Read it time and again (and again), Mr. Wilders. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt you!

Mr. Wilders suggests that the Netherlands should get rid of the Netherlands Antilles by selling the islands on-line through Marktplaats.NL, a Dutch version of e-Bay. First of all, one is not allowed to sell what one does not own. Furthermore, there are historic ties between the two countries. The Netherlands Antilles is in the middle of a decolonizing process. The Netherlands cannot (and will not) walk away from its responsibilities. Why then the ‘macho’ talk of Mr. Wilders? He seems to take a pleasure in going out of his way to offend as much people as possible.

One final note. It would be too easy to attack Mr. Wilders just for who he is and how he looks (e.g. that he looks like he has a white half burka on his head). The Netherlands is famous for its long, historical tradition of tolerance. It is that same tolerance that allows people like Mr. Wilders to speak freely and to express whatever opinion they have. Unfortunately, Mr. Wilders is the symbol of zero-tolerance and a champion in disrespectful remarks. And annoying as he may be for the time-being, eventually he will sink into the landfill of history. Tolerance and respect shall prevail! Not a fairy tale, but a happy ending though.

Karel Frielink

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