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10 years after Pim Fortuyn was murdered: what the papers say

Sunday 06 May 2012

Pim%20Fortuyn.jpg

Ten years ago on Sunday, Dutch populist politician Pim Fortuyn was murdered in Hilversum by animal rights activist Volkert van de Graaf, nine days before the general election. This weekend, the Dutch media devoted a large amount of space to assessing Fortuyn's impact on the Netherlands.

Fortuyn is almost universally regarded as having changed the face of Dutch politics, partly for his outspoken views on Islam, which he regarded as a backward religion, and immigration - he wanted a stop.

His arrival on the political scene came at a time of growing unhappiness in some parts of the country with the perceived failure of multi-culturalism, poor public services and politicians who were distanced from society as a whole.

The Volkskrant quotes one of Fortuyn's best known one-liners - 'I say what I think and I do what I say' - which, it says, represents the break-through of the man in the street. 'The underbelly of society has been given a prominent place in the political debate,' the paper says. It is a point which numerous commentators make.

Personalised

'Fortuyn belongs to everyone now,' says Arendo Joustra, the editor of Elsevier magazine, which Fortuyn used to write for. 'His columns used to cause a stir, but now you can find the points he made in the Labour party's election manifesto.'

Indeed, Amsterdam Labour politician Rob Oudkerk says in the Parool that he never agreed with efforts to brand Fortuyn as an extreme right-winger.

'I think if he had not been shot... five or six years later we would have been able to form a broad, progressive government with Labour, D66, parts of the VVD and Fortuyn,' Oudkerk said. 'We have now become used to the issues which Fortuyn raised.'

Populism

'Populist parties have been given much more room,' says former finance minister Wouter Bos. 'There is debate about immigration, Islam, Europe - subjects which used to be largely ignored.

'But I have my doubts if that is enough for people. That is one of the things about populism. It is never enough.'

Like Geert Wilders today, Fortuyn's tongue was notoriously caustic. A political dandy and unabashed homosexual, Fortuyn annoyed many when he dismissed female journalist Wouke van Scherrenburg by saying: 'oh woman, off you go home and cook.'

He was also happy to discuss politicians' alleged sexual preferences on camera. Asked once if he shaved the rest of his body as well as his head, Fortuyn invited 'the good looking lads of Holland' to come and find out.

'If you look soberly at Fortuyn's legacy, you see the bankrupt inventory of a drama queen who personalised and dramatised the public debate,' philosopher Hans Schnitzler tells the Volkskrant in its retrospective supplement.

Nevertheless, what stands out is how current Fortuyn's concerns still are, writes Raoul du Pre in an editorial in the Volkskrant.

Moroccans

'The under-performing public sector, the difficult emancipation of Muslim women, the social problems around Moroccan youths...,' he writes. '2002 was the beginning of many debates which are still ongoing, not least because Geert Wilders' PVV has taken over many of them.'

Unlike Wilders, however, Fortuyn did not want to deport criminal immigrants. 'Everyone who is here, stays here,' Fortuyn said in an interview with the Volkskrant in 2002. 'They are our Moroccan bad boys. We can't dump them on King Hassan. We let them in and we have to solve the problem.'

The 10 year anniversary of the murder is being marked in Rotterdam by a church service and a congress on Fortuyn's legacy. Later in the day, Rotterdam's Dutch Moroccan mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will be one of the speakers at a ceremony to rename part of the city's Korte Hoogstraat Pim Fortuynplaats.

Dutch media coverage
Pim Fortuyn Volkskrant interview: Islam is a backward culture
Pim Fortuyn's extravagant statements


© DutchNews.nl



 
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Readers' comments (12)

He was a great politician.

Why can't we debate immigration? Forcing political correctness on people is fascist & by not having a proper debate you create major problems for future generations.

By Phil | May 6, 2012 9:56 AM


Rob Oudkerk can know claim that he never agreed with the efforts to brand Pim Fortuyn an extreme right-winger but he did call him a fascist. He was therefore a willing participant in the campaign of hatred which resulted in the May 6, 2002 assassination. Pim Fortuyn was labeled a danger to society but in my opinion he made the greatest contributions to humanity by defending the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. His legacy lives on!

By Freevoice1960 | May 6, 2012 9:35 PM


Rob Oudkerk can know claim that he never agreed with the efforts to brand Pim Fortuyn an extreme right-winger but he did call him a fascist. He was therefore a willing participant in the campaign of hatred which resulted in the May 6, 2002 assassination. Pim Fortuyn was labeled a danger to society but in my opinion he made the greatest contributions to humanity by defending the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought. His legacy lives on!

By Freevoice1960 | May 6, 2012 9:37 PM


The Volkskrant quotes one of Fortuyn's best known one-liners - 'I say what I think and I do what I say'

I think Pim Fortuyn's quote is typically, and unfortunately, Dutch, in mentality, and the blonde one who followed in his footsteps, the only difference, HAIR. Its an empty head that idolises these two populist racists. Does anyone remember the shambles that was, 'The Pim Fortuyn List party' that collapsed after his demise. I love the way people create their own misty dewy eyed version of history.

By Highlander | May 7, 2012 10:47 AM


@Phil, are you suggesting nobody's able to debate immigration? Sometimes it looks to me like there's very little else being 'debated' nowadays.

By MichaelP | May 7, 2012 10:48 AM


I agree with phil, there has to be a discussion on this.
Some immigration may be needed but it should be tailored to the job market.
I had a look at the facatures on werk.nl before replying . Here are some of the current vacancies: timmerman 182, productiemedewerker 135, chauffeur 273
& under IT 22,306.
If there are not enough qualified people in NL to do these jobs then employers will look abroad.
This is something the government needs to look at urgently!
PS phil, I'm no fan of political correctness. I don't know that I'd call it fascist but (imo) it's BS.

By Donaugh | May 7, 2012 11:05 AM


Fortuyn was a very charismatic politician who used his direct manner of communication and cliches to impress the Dutch voters back at that time. He dared to actually say what many Dutch people had been thinking and talking about amongst each other for a very long time. My opinion is that the Dutch needed such a person to speak up for them. They could not do this for themselves. This is quite unfortunate because it appears that many NLers never wanted all the immigration here to begin with, so with a little clear open talk about it, much of this could have been prevented. Poor communication and not speaking up are the root causes of most problems, in my opinion.

By Bill | May 7, 2012 11:09 AM


I'm really torn on this. On the one hand, I can appreciate the sentiments that both Freevoice and even Phil (!) are expressing. But on the other hand, it should be possible to have this debate without invoking hatred and disrespect, and I do not feel that the debate has been carried out in this way so far. There is a legitimate concern about Holland coping with a giant influx of people, but leave the hatred, distrust, disrespect and negative stereotypes at the door.

By Stupid | May 7, 2012 1:00 PM


In another ten years we will have yet another look at the Fortuyn legacy... then again, perhaps not... maybe we'll forget who he was and only recall the name, Pim Fortuynplaats, as the place we last parked our bike.

By Quince | May 7, 2012 3:48 PM


@Highlander: I disagree. Wilders is totally different from Fortuyn. To begin with Fortuyn never talked about human beings as "voting cattle" as wilders did; second, he was not for arbitrarily throwing out all illegal immigrants, but for an amnesty for all who were in. Third, he was against gettos, while Wilders suggested a trouble neighbourhoods with walls around; fourth, Fortuyn was against all religious symbols in public offices and never advocated a Rag tax and never used such a denigratory term to define the "hoofdoek". Wilders is a racist and Fortuyn was not, it's as simple as that.

By Leon | May 8, 2012 4:25 PM


@Leon: thank you for making my point. Pim Fortuyn challenged the arbitrariness and tyranny of the multicultural agenda that divided people by race, ethnicity and social status. He defended the human dignity of minorities (especially women with children) who were kept on the sidelines of society as slaves of the state. The cadre who demonized him as “a danger to society” only used immigrants to perpetuate an underclass that benefited their political agenda. I am an expert witness to PVDA killer machine in Amsterdam but I escaped the ghettos.

By Freevoice1960 | May 18, 2012 6:55 AM


@Phil: I second your opinion. Political correctness is an outright assault on Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought and it is an outright violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It led to the assassination of Pim Fortuyn and it needs to be debated. The cadre that employs censorship if you do not walk in lock step with their world view need to be questioned because freedom of speech is for everyone not just for some…….!

By Freevoice1960 | May 18, 2012 7:14 AM



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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