(Many thanks to C for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.)
Lately, have you noticed that Mr. Wilders has become a “nothing left to lose” truth-teller? I fear for him, recognizing his demise could well be akin to that of Pim Fortuyn’s. You know, when the security guards “forget” to show up one day? I am not privy to his arrangements for protection, but pray that some of them are his own men, not state-paid.
Time to take out an old, oft-repeated essay to remind you of what Wilders faces. The explanation below, written in 2008, about Dutch “freedoms” and “tolerance”, goes far toward explaining the existence of Dutch expatriates, of whom the author is one.
Here’s a short excerpt. Since it’s difficult to choose just one passage, the opening salvos of “Why Spinoza Was Not Murdered” will suffice to get the point across, but do read the whole thing. It is full of the same mordant wit our essayist H. Numan employs to make his points; Egger proves again the crucial point that one cannot survive in the Netherlands without the heart to make pointed fun of reality.
It is a lesson we rightwingextremistdeplorable Americans would do well to learn, i.e., maintenance of the spirit by laughing at one’s opponents. Can you imagine a speech in our Congress that comes anywhere near the spirited riposte of Mr. Wilders? Perhaps President Trump echoes this position sometimes, but his rhetoric is too erratic to trust entirely. Instead of spine surgery metaphors, our president comes in with machine guns blazing.
Now on to Mr. Legger:
Marts 2008 — Arthur Legger
If you like to think of Holland as the cradle of free speech and the Enlightenment, don’t read this
’Nobody needs permission beforehand to publish by print thoughts or feelings — while taking into consideration every person’s responsibility according to the law.’
(Article 7, Dutch Constitution)
Again the ruthless reflex sets in. Because that lies at the core of our Dutch character: the social annihilation of the deviating individual —including a neat political murder, every now and then (we never go after a group, that is not done after our very active partaking in the Holocaust).
The latest news on the chronicle of the death foretold of right-wing parliamentarian Geert Wilders, infamous for his bleached haircut from outer space, is that the CEOs of Dutch multinationals fear loss of profit because of Fitna, The Movie. Wilders gained notoriety because of his wish to ban the Koran and his severe criticism of islam in comparison with “our shared Dutch heritage of Humanism and Enlightenment, as it was successfully proclaimed by our highly esteemed Spinoza”. The captains of industry state that Wilders’ movie will prove too critical and, hence, will harm their age-old connections and business in the Arabic world and Indonesia (a former Dutch colony). The highly successful and erudite lawyer Gerard Spong, a very nice fellow from Surinam (independent in 1975), is hired to sue Wilders: “For irresponsibly damaging Dutch interests”. It almost goes without saying that many of these directors, managers and members of the board have been key members of the public service, previous Cabinets included, or will be in future times. The Union of IT Businessmen In The East (FME) strongly seconds their concern: “The real problem is that Wilders’ movie fits a pattern of confrontation: the Danish cartoons; the war in Iraq. The movie might prove to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back” (Intermediair 11, 13 March 2008). “Wilders, don’t do it!” prays Bernard Wientjes, the chairman of the VNO-NCW (Union of Dutch Business). “Surely you know that when it really counts the reverend is always traded for the businessman” (The Volkskrant, 15 March 2008).
Also, the Dutch media, via their coordinating National Broadcast Institute, the NOS, issued a shared statement that they will not air Wilders’ movie “because of fear of attacks and not to give this irresponsible person a platform for his xenophobia”. The news agency of the Dutch Parliament (Nieuwspoort) will not provide Wilders with the possibility of showing his movie, because “the making of movies is not part of a parliamentarian’s work”. (The head of the NOS is always a former cabinet member.) Not surprisingly the Socialist, Christian and Liberal parties backed this blocking of Wilders (The Volkskrant, 15 March 2008).
That is merely the preface to a longer explanation of Dutch society. In the ten years since Mr. Legger wrote his essay, the situation in the Netherlands hasn’t changed, except to get worse.
Many years ago we had a Dutch correspondent who gave us lively descriptions of the day-to-day reality in his country. Like all cultures, it’s complicated for an outsider. Thus when Legger says, “Geert Wilders, infamous for his bleached haircut from outer space”, our correspondent explained the bleached-blond phenomenon. Mr. Wilders is of mixed heritage, i.e., part Indonesian from back when the Netherlands owned that part of the world. His hair is really brown; in a large country of immigrants like America, his looks would pass unnoticed. But not in Holland. So, the story we were told back then was that Geert Wilders’ bleach job was a thumb in the eye of his soi-disant “betters”. Any ‘pure’ Dutch would recognize his ethnic background immediately.
Such panache is rather admirable. Chutzpah is what one needs to transcend the strictures of an oppressive culture. May Wilders continue to be an inspiration to the rest of us.
|00:00||Madame Speaker, when a member of the VVD lies, cheats the voters, breaks promises|
|00:10||and sweeps scandals under the carpet, he can remain politically active.|
|00:15||And if you’re very good at lying, you can even become prime minister in this country.|
|00:21||Only when there’s no other option, when scandals can’t be contained, does one down.|
|00:28||But now for the first time ever a VVD minister got into trouble not for lying.|
|00:36||but because he was honest, spoke his mind and spoke the truth.|
|00:41||Madame Speaker, Mr. [Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef] Blok made several statements.|
|00:45||Without dissecting each and every one of them word for word,|
|00:50||the gist was that the multicultural society is a disaster,|
|00:54||and that the native population is the most affected.|
|00:57||Madame Speaker, that is a truism. And of course it is caused mainly|
|01:03||by the continuing Islamization of our beautiful country, and many other Western countries.|
|01:08||Because everywhere this Islamic culture gains a foothold,|
|01:14||people are confronted with intolerance, violence, terror, crime,|
|01:20||with homophobia, FGM, mocro [Moroccan] mafia, infiltration of city halls,|
|01:25||girls and women called whores in the streets. People who don’t dare walk the streets|
|01:32||at night, Madame Speaker, because of that multicultural society.|
|01:36||Many people feel like strangers in their own streets and neighborhoods.|
|01:44||To be honest, when I heard Mr. Blok’s statements I thought, “What a great guy!”|
|01:51||There’s somebody in government who understands the situation after all.|
|01:55||Why isn’t that man a member of the [Wilders’] PVV? I wondered.|
|01:59||And why are his wise words not government policy?|
|02:04||But Madame Speaker, the most important question of course is why Mr. Blok retracted his statements.|
|02:12||Is it because of the criticism by his colleagues in the coalition?|
|02:19||And of course the answer to all these questions is his seat. His own little job is at stake.|
|02:26||The survival of Mr. Blok’s ministry post is at stake. And so, Mr. Blok cries uncle.|
|02:34||And today he will, I predict, say again that he didn’t really mean it.|
|02:40||That he just wanted to stimulate discussion, and that it was just a closed meeting.|
|02:45||And these are of course just excuses. And it really is humiliating,|
|02:49||Madame Speaker, what some parties ask of the minister.|
|02:54||We will shortly hear what Mr. Pechtold has to say.|
|02:58||But according to D66 sources in yesterday’s [newspaper] Parool,|
|03:02||D66 demands that the minister take back his statements, offer his apology,|
|03:06||that he say he didn’t mean any of his statements,|
|03:12||and that he does believe in the strength of the multicultural society.|
|03:16||Madame Speaker, that would be political castration.|
|03:20||It’d be political castration if the minister were to capitulate.|
|03:24||And I hope he won’t do that. My party won’t confront him with a vote of no-confidence.|
|03:32||I am convinced that Mr. Blok really spoke his mind. I’m convinced,|
|03:36||no matter what he’s going to say now, that he meant what he said.|
|03:43||I also believe he still means it. Unfortunately, he has no spine, I admit.|
|03:50||He has no spine, but he does have good ideas.|
|03:55||So, Mr. Blok, if you see a spine for sale somewhere,|
|04:00||buy it, install it immediately, and you can join the PVV. Thank you.