Observations, articles, opinions etc. in Dutch and English. The author, Bert de Bruin (Yonathan Dror Bar-On), is a Dutch-Jewish historian, who has specialized in modern Jewish history and in the history of the Middle East, and who in 1995 emigrated from the Netherlands to Israel. He wrote one book (2008), and edited another (2011), both in Dutch. For feedback please post a comment, or send this blog's author an email: (hisdutchname)atyahoodotcom
Sunday, March 02, 2008
In recent weeks Joep Bertrams made three very insightful cartoons about the circus around Geert Wilders, his party ( PVV: Party for freedom ), and his plan to release a critical - to use an understatement - movie about Islam and about the Qur'an being a source of violence. Some of the problems with Mr Wilders are: he uses very insulting and polarizing language, he tends to exaggerate and generalize, and many of his proposals are ridiculous ( e.g. the Qur'an should be forbidden ). This is one of the reasons why - mostly out of fear of being associated with this weird crusader - virtually none of the other parliamentarians dares to talk seriously about any of the - often very real - problems that Wilders and the PVV bring up. All those issues have turned into tabboos and remain unsolved, and the rifts and frustrations within Dutch society continue to fester. Also, it does not really help that Geert Wilders is one of the most-protected persons in Holland today: because of all the security arrangements, for years he has been living in a bubble, without any real interaction with the public or with other politicians. Finally, he has never showed any interest in an in-depth discussion on any subject, communicating mainly through one-liners. Therefore, and for a few other reasons, neither the Dutch government nor the country's opposition know how to deal with Wilders or with many of the problems that are somehow rooted in or related to multiculturalism and the presence of a substantial number of Muslims ( only a small minority of whom is extremist, as far as I know ) in the Netherlands.
Political Landscape ( B4 = 4th Cabinet of PM Jan-Peter Balkenende; Oppositie = Opposition ) ( PVV = Partij voor de Vrijheid, Vrijheidsbeeld = Statue of Liberty )