Tag Archives: Capitalism

The Metaphor of Geert Wilders

For a long time, I have avoided writing about the Dutch politician of this era. The guy pissed me off whenever I saw him. I didn´t think he deserved my attention or that of my readers. Pollute my blog with him. Yet for the past ten years, he has kept his status as a nagging presence in Dutch society. It makes us wonder: what has given this childman his power? How has he managed to become so persistently annoying that he convinced me to write about him? Where has our society failed to ignore him to death? Which lessons does he throw in our midst?

A brief history for those who´ve missed it. Around the year 2000, Pim Fortuyn was the first politician whose party got big because he addressed the problem of integration in the Netherlands. He got killed (by an educated Dutch guy who thought he was saving the country) and left a gap in the political offer while the demand remained. Wilders filled that gap. When, after some years, he managed to enter the government, he dismantled it after a year. Today, no politician wants to govern with him. He yells bombastic language from the sideline and crosses some ethical lines for which he is then punished.

Some people admire Wilders´ rethorics. They see quality in his capacity to frame things simply, in a language that people with little education can follow. He called other politicians mental, has framed their plans as garbage, and has insulted cultural groups, delaying big decisions in the process. Even if he can make me laugh, I don´t think his intelligence is the reason for our fascination, because if you look at him closely, he acts like a little boy.

Wilders is the personification of his own incapacity to cause productive change. He does not dare to go into dialogue with strangers because he is afraid it might threaten his worldview. He has translated his unwillingness to listen to others into a program that reveals his identity as a sissy who calls his daddy when he gets into a conflict. The daddy, here, are the cops that do the dirty work for him.

What intrigues us in Wilders, is his reminder of our own cowardly attitude to change. Our laziness in the search for truth. Dutch politicians cannot call him to order because of their fear for the points he addresses. They too lack the creativity to solve them, so they pretend there is nothing going on. WIlders is our collective lack of interest in our neighbour, and our incapacity to move ourselves towards a happy life.

What this man has sublimed will keep tormenting our subconscious until we solve the fragmentation in our communities. He exists among us until most of us learn how to be peacefully curious about the realities of the other. He´ll be here until we perceive understanding as an action instead of a state of mind. He will reflect our fears until we gather the courage to look them in the eyes.

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Europe in times of anti-ism

The EU countries are voting for the future of the continent. In the Netherlands, one of the dominating questions in the matter is: are you pro or contra Europe? I was raised as a European and I my life is marked by transborder friendships. Regardless, I have recently started to doubt. Not because I actually doubt, but because the black and white question echoes in society and it has invaded my mind. Yet if I take some time to contemplate it, anti-Europeanism appears to me as one of the most ridiculous ideas of this time.

Some talks on this matter led me to believe that when a person says he is anti Europe, he usually doesn’t mean it that way. The person could mean that he or she is anti-capitalist or anti political power accumulation or anti politics in general, or maybe that he just hates some French guy he once met during holidays. Because of that, I’m sad to see that the pro or against debate rules so much of the political propaganda. It is an easy way to draw votes, no doubt. The concept of a European union brings forth a spectrum of collective emotion.

And does that not say enough? Doesn’t that show we have little other choice than to deal with each other the way family does? Europe has grown into a network of entangled stakes. The very parties we vote for could not operate if the European Union did not exist. They cannot interrupt its existence either. That would be comparable to a liver saying goodbye to a body because of all the crap it gives it. It would die. We need our neighbours as much as we need ourselves. Our union is a given of this time and we should be grateful for its vitality. That’s fragile.

I won’t advocate that everything is going smoothly. There have been bumps and mistakes. What I’m saying is that anti-Europeanism is a waste of thought. A fake debate. The more such virtual constructs occupy the public opinion, the less power people have.

Go vote one of these days and please do it because you believe in something better, not because you want the borders back.