Today’s Opinion: Another Hitler-comparison

POSTED: 05/9/11 1:46 PM

The Freedom Party is not happy. This time we’re talking about the party’s faction in the municipal council in The Hague, and for the second time in two weeks somebody compared Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders with Adolf Hitler. Makes us wonder why, really, though Michiel Blok, a former faction leader of GreenLeft in Amsterdam-East had quite some answers a fortnight ago. In a comparison between Wilders and four other politicians, among the Hitler and Ghandi, Blok found out of a list of 36 characteristics no less that 30 similarities between Wilders and Hitler.

Now a writer in The Hague, Karel Kanits, has called Wilders “the bleached Führer.” He made the remark during the liberation festival on May 5.

The Freedom Party in The Hague has now asked the Executive Council in The Hague for an explanation. Personally, we would have asked Kanits for it, but maybe that’s not how things work in the Netherlands.

The Freedom Party’s faction leader in The Hague, Richard Mos, said that his party is “a warm supporter of the freedom of expression.”

Since Kanits was apparently hired by the municipality to add to the celebratory mood on May 5, De Mos argues that paying someone with tax money from Freedom Party voters to compare Wilders with Hitler is out of place. “The municipality of The Hague programs this character that comes with this dirty and low comparison on the day that we celebrate the defeat of Hitler-German in 1945.”

De Mos wants a public apology from Kanits and he wants him to return the money he received for his performance.

Fat chance that that will happen. Kanits calls on his right to freedom of expression, especially on May 5. The writer says that the Freedom Party is welcome to disagree with him.

Returning the money is not opportune, because Kanits said he had not received anything yet. And apart from that, the writer added, “I think I earned that money.”

Hmmppff. We’re not that much in favor of name-calling. When Michiel Block made his comparison, he had a solid foundation for his conclusion, namely that Hitler and Wilders score on thirty similar characteristics. Wilders-fans may not like the comparison, but there is no denying that Blok had a point.

Attacking Wilders with a rather cheap shot like the bleached Führer (a Volkskrant columnist once called Wilders the big bleached leader – not all that different) will prove to be counterproductive. Not for Kanits maybe, because it was a way to get his name in the newspapers.


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