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article imageOp-Ed: Geert Wilders – The chickens are coming home to roost

By Michael Cosgrove     Oct 5, 2010 in Politics
That Dutchman Geert Wilders is a rabble-rouser, a fear monger and a cheap populist is not in doubt, but it’s also irrelevant. The real point is that his country ignored the valid reasons which have led to the rise of people like him for far too long.
Many older readers will remember a time when the mere mention of Holland would conjure up cool images of coffee shops, laid-back people, a tolerant, relaxed attitude towards the world and the acceptance of others.
Today though sees another Holland, one which is giving a right-wing xenophobe a key role in the country’s affairs, one which overwhelmingly supports tough curbs on immigrants and, in particular, one which has turned against a million of its own inhabitants – Muslims.
So how did it all happen? How is it possible that one of the most peaceful countries in the world has, in the space of twenty years, changed to the point where it has become unrecognizable as the haven of understanding and fraternity it once was?
The answer can be summed up in one word – cowardice. Not the cowardice of its people, but that of its leaders. Holland has not escaped the major demographic changes which have occurred in Europe over the years due to immigration, and the immigration of Muslims in particular, but its governments have failed to act accordingly.
There have always been far-right and racist elements in all European countries, and Holland is no exception. It is thus not difficult to imagine that the problems engendered by immigration have been manna from heaven for them. It is no secret either that Muslim immigrants of mainly North-African origin represent a proportionately high percentage of the prison population in Holland and elsewhere, and that many of those in jail are guilty of crimes involving violence and theft. Immigrants are also far more likely to claim social benefits, and organized benefit fraud is a common phenomenon within immigrant communities.
The appearance in Europe and Holland of cultural practices such as the ritual slaughtering of animals, the stoning or burning of women, the clitorectomy of young girls and polygamy have also shocked the Dutch, who see them as being repulsive, barbaric and obscurantist.
At the same time, the world has witnessed the onset of the anti-western Jihad by Islamic terrorists. The intention of the Jihad is unclear - the proof of which is that the subject has led to bitter debate between Muslims themselves - but it is widely believed by Westerners to be aimed at destroying Western culture and imposing Islamic rule and customs as far around the world as possible.
It is incontestable that the vast majority of Muslims do not agree with the excesses of Muslim cultural practice or any form of anti-western Jihad, and they are very conscious of the high rates of criminality in their midst, but the plain and equally incontestable fact is that those phenomena are an increasingly visible reality in Europe, as the hundreds of dead as a result of Islamic terrorism in several countries will testify.
And what have Dutch leaders been doing all this time to calm the fears of their people? As has been the case elsewhere in Europe, they have almost absent-mindedly been dismissing them as being ‘unfounded’, the result of a ‘misguided’ or ‘intolerant’ approach towards Muslims and immigrants in general, the work of far-right ‘agitators’. Citizens have had to listen to condescending and politically-correct lectures about ‘integration’ and ‘social harmony’, and governments talk about the need for more ‘understanding’.
In other words, they have done nothing at all except refuse to believe that what people perceive is anything else but unjustified and therefore irrelevant paranoia. “You’re wrong, you’re exaggerating, don’t worry, all will be well soon” seems to be their message.
Are the people wrong to be worried? That is of course a subject of debate and I do not wish to discuss it here. But even if they are wrong, that does not change the fact that their fears have not been addressed, and that is unpardonable. That various Dutch governments have not taken into account the feelings of a growing number of their countrymen and women is an almost criminal dereliction of their duty as democratically elected representatives. Even if the Dutch people had got it wrong, the fact that their governments have unquestionably failed to allay their fears is in itself enough to see them condemned for having failed to govern correctly.
And they are now paying the price for ignoring their people for so long.
I have not mentioned the name of Geert Wilders since the first paragraph of this article. That’s because he is irrelevant. He is merely a recipient of the sentiment of injustice and the onset of fear that have been slowly brewing in Holland over many years of uncontrolled immigration and the global Jihad against the West, both of which are perceived as being threats. Those phenomenon are what have led to his policies.
But even if he had never been born, any one of a few dozen Dutch politicians would have been there today, trying in his place to patch up the cowardly refusal of successive Dutch governments to tackle the problems, or even to acknowledge their existence.
The chickens are coming home to roost.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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