Wilders’ PVV is doing its xenophobic best to stop refugees coming to this country, and the VVD isn’t far behind, writes cultural historian Thomas von der Dunk.
Thanks to ‘Steenbergen’ we now know have a good idea of what the Wilders Youth means by the ‘peaceful resistance’ to the arrival of war refugees: intimidation and threats. To the noisiest of Wilders’ elite troops ‘democracy’ simply means having their way and ‘listening to citizens’ means they don’t have to listen to anyone while making sure no one can be heard either.
According to this particular interpretation of the concept of democracy, by rights, scum rules. Constant Kuster, the leader of the neofascist Nederlandse Volksunie, stated in the NRC that that is exactly how it should be. And after the events at Steenbergen Wilders said the resistance movement was fine and dandy. In the aftermath of ‘Wormer’ he signed the appeal for calm in the refugee debate but a few hours later he was back in the old resistance groove.
What we have learned from the failed storming in Woerden and the attack in Wormer is that the testosterone bombs in Wilders’ ranks pose more of a threat than the odd excitable refugee.
Internet as a sewer
Meanwhile the internet has become the open sewer in which every semi-literate dimwit can dump his xenophobic turd. The vague feelings of fear – lecherous Muslims who rape and spread disease around every corner–which the extreme right likes to exploit (see too the Law and Justice party in Poland) have their roots in the anti-Semitic clichés of the thirties. Then, as now, parents were advised to keep their daughters under lock and key.
True, a person who has lived in a cocoon for the last ten years loses contact with reality and will become, perhaps inevitably, paranoid. That makes Wilders completely understandable and very interesting as a psychiatric case. His place, however, is in the loony bin, not parliament.
Parliament itself is not blameless. For years it did nothing to counteract the likes of Wilders. At last CDA leader Buma led the other parties in a frontal attack and it resulted in a complete meltdown of Wilders and his party. So it can be done, and without relying solely on a lone courageous woman in Steenbergen.
The main parliamentary obstacle in the way of decency is the VVD whose tone in the debate makes the party the spiritual home away from home for the PVV electorate. Halbe Zijlstra’s comments about botox tourism did not lead to any criticism of him in his party. No one called for his resignation. Not one. It illustrates yet again the complete lack of a moral compass in his party which has reduced politics to bartering, first with one-time pal Geert and now with China.
Last week Willem Aantjes died – a politician from a completely different era and with completely different political values. In 1978 he stepped down because he understood that the image of politics would be better served if he left. Zijlstra, in spite of the trail of moral destruction in his wake, will never understand this.
Apart from the rampant vulgar xenophobia there is, of course, a civilised form. It is the NIMBY variant prevalent in the better neighbourhoods once so pithily explained by Robert Lansschot in the NRC: it’s much better for the refugees themselves to be housed in poor neighbourhoods.
What would they want with our pricey patisseries when it’s cheap call shops they want? The only refugees that should be welcomed with open arms are the tax refugees, argued kindred spirit Paul Fentrop. They are the true victims of these troubled times. The VVD agrees. We have only to watch them squirm under the OECD attack on the Dutch post box firms.
This civilised xenophobia, which in the Hague’s chic Benoordenhout did manage to prevent an empty barracks to be turned into an asylum seekers’ centre, is rife among the ‘broadminded’ who, in order to benefit their jobs or companies, approve of open borders but let other deal with the consequences.
That this doesn’t go down too well in the poorer neighbourhoods will be readily understood. The shortage of social housing is largely the fault of those politicians who have been flogging it and who are now refusing to build more because it will ‘attract refugees’. You know which party they belong to.
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