Opinion: After the Geert Wilders ruling

POSTED: 06/27/11 2:15 PM

The reactions in the Netherlands after Geert Wilders’ acquittal in his hate-mongering process were predominantly positive. But outside tiny Holland’s borders foreign commentators made mashed potatoes of the ruling and of those reactions. The era wherein the Netherlands stood firm as a tolerant country that supported the multicultural society has definitely come to an end.

This is what the BBC’s Lauren Comiteau had to say: “It seems that with Wilders’ acquittal radical opinions have become more mainstream. This is a country that for decades was seen as one of the most liberal and tolerant in the world.”

Jean-Pierre Stroobants in Le Monde: “This process was characterized in the media as the most important of this century; it is clearly a turning point in the Kingdom’s history. In twenty years time the country has exchanged its tolerance for extreme mistrust towards foreigners in general.”

Der Spiegel (Germany): “Wilders’ acquittal fits well with the stricter integration policy of the Dutch government. Recently they decided that migrants – especially those of other religions and cultures – had to integrate without state support. They have to pay for the course from their own pocket. Those who fail, lose their right to stay. In this new guideline the Netherlands is definitely turning away from the multicultural society.”

Matt Steinglass in the Financial Times: “Wilders is with his bleached hair and inflammatory rhetoric the face of the antipathy towards Muslims and migrants. That role brought his party to the third spot in the most recent elections. He dismissed his prosecution as a politically correct violation of the freedom of speech. Just like the populist politician Pim Fortuyn, Wilders used the secular values against the Muslims. And just like the TV-personality Theo van Gogh, killed by a Muslim fundamentalist in 2005, he took his anti-Islam rhetoric close to the borders of good taste.”

The Economist: “Wilders’ relief was shared by the whole political specter. Sixty percent of Dutch people hoped he would be acquitted. Wilders’ populist ideas have therefore found their way to the political center. The Dutch now have strict immigration rules. A new opinion about public order (hence the limitation of coffee shop clients to exclusively people with the Dutch nationality) and an aversion towards what some call leftwing hobbies – from development aid to culture subsidies.”

Toby Sterling (Associated Press): “While the United States anchored the right to free speech in their constitution, many European countries introduced anti-hate orders in the wake of the Second World War. This was to prevent that minorities would again become the black sheep. Now Wilders’ opinions find an audience with many Dutch voters. They feel that their culture is being undermined by migrants who do not share their values.”

Gilbert Kreijger in the National Post (Canada): “The ruling could encourage Wilders to take it a step further. He already managed that the government is curbing immigration and introduces a ban on veils. Immigrations and development aid are up for discussion. People are concerned about the deteriorating economic climate, high unemployment, high crime rate among immigrants and failed integration. Such concerns have led in other European countries to the rise of extreme rightwing parties.”

Andrea Tarquini (La Repubblica, Italy): “Wilders’ acquittal is a sensational judicial and political victory for the radical right in Europe. The ruling divided the Netherlands, Europe and the world. Wilders talked about a victory for freedom of speech, but the attorneys of Muslims will go to the European court. The Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo is speaking about a dangerous decision that puts the relationship between Christians and Muslims at risk.”

Today (St. Maarten): “The Wilders ruling signals the end of the tolerant multicultural society. It is a dangerous direction that St. Maarten should not follow. Rather than criminalize immigrants and rob them of their rights our country ought to embrace immigrants that contribute to our society and draw a line in the sand for those who don’t – immigrants and locals alike.”

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Comments (1)


  1. John Gelens says:

    What a load of cock……………
    For YEARS on end the Dutch people had to put up with Radicals taking everything they could get.
    Being abused in there own Country….and the government did noting about it…………………
    BUT THE MAN IN THE STREET….had to put up with the problems……and still do.
    I say ENOUGH is ENOUGH…….
    Bravo Wilders…..there should be more Brave man like you…..
    Let’s get realistic again…..and live in peace…………….