Opinion: Brilliant student declares Freedom Party fascist

POSTED: 01/8/12 4:56 PM

It is now official: Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the PVV is a fascist organization. And by the way, the Rutte government that keeps itself alive with the support from this party is fascist too. It is almost too funny for words that a Liberal Arts and Sciences student at the University of Tilburg arrives at these conclusions shortly after two reporters for the opinion magazine HP/De Tijd explained why party-leader Wilders bleaches his hair: to mask his Indonesian ethnicity.

Remarkably, the student’s name was not released. That’s probably because there was other news: his supervising professors inTilburg, Arabist Jan Jaap de Ruijter and prof. Dr. Jan Blommaert, gave the student a 10 – the highest possible mark – for his work.

Geert Wilders, a Twitter-addict, tweeted after learning about the thesis, “At the KU in T everybody is Stapel,” meaning that everybody at theCatholicUniversityinTilburgis crazy. The name Stapel refers to Diederik Stapel – a professor in behavioral sciences who was fired for making up research data. “Stapel” also means crazy in Dutch.

But the student’s work does not seem to be all that crazy. He studied the work of the American historian Robert O. Paxton about the question what fascism is and made a comparison with the Freedom Party. Paxton divided the emergence of fascism in several stages. The student concluded that the Freedom Party is in the second stage – the one of stabilization – wherein the party obtains a certain position of power. The first stage, wherein a party or a movement gets the opportunity to get a first taste of power, is already history.

The professors inTilburgsay that the thesis is not controversial. “A student is interested in fascism. He writes a thesis about a socially touchy subject and does that brilliantly. Therefore he gets a 10. What is so weird about that? If this becomes a controversy it says something about the way we deal with topics like fascism and the Freedom Party.”

Oh, and what’s with the blond hair? Two HP/De Tijd-reporters traveled toIsraelin December to investigate Wilders’ past life in a moshav. In the early eighties, after he graduated from high school, Wilders worked a year at the cooperative Moshav Tomer farm, close toJerichoand the Jordanian border. The reporters came back with some old photographs that show a young man in an old tee shirt, sporting a stubble and, not unimportant, dark brown curls.

When Wilders entered the municipal council inUtrechtas a member of the VVD, he had his hair bleached by a hairdresser behind the Central Station. Now that hair is his signature, ridiculed and abhorred by his opponents and condoned or ignored by his supporters.

According to the Dutch journalist Bert Bukman, Wilders has an Indonesian mother. And while Wilders has never been shy to talk about his roots in the southernprovinceofLimburg, he has been much less talkative about his Indonesian background. But now you know.

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