Today’s Opinion: Just keeps getting bigger

POSTED: 03/3/11 12:36 PM

There are two potential conclusions to be drawn from the fact that the Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) is the biggest winner in the provincial elections in the Netherlands and that the party was the most popular at a mock election held at schools. Either the Netherlands is going raving mad, or native Dutch people really are concerned that their freedoms are being eroded because of the presence of migrant populations, especially those of the Islamic faith.
We ran across a question of how could be PVV claim to be a party that is about our freedom, when they seem to want to limit the freedoms given to migrants. We’ve also read of people who are migrants being handed PVV paraphernalia and wondering if they were all of a sudden welcome in the Netherlands. The answer to this is simple, the PVV like any other political is realizing that is has to somehow court both sides if it is to continue growing and remain relevant and that they will eventually need more than one issue to survive.
That lesson is learned from the fact that Lijst Pim Fortijn, which also wanted stricter rules on immigration, fell apart after the leader was killed. Note will also have been taken that former VVD Minister Rita Verdonk has become politically irrelevant because of her hard-line stance on immigration that eventually led to her breaking with the Free Market Liberals and founding Proud of the Netherlands (TON), a single issue political movement.
Yes we admit Wilder’s tone has changed much. He’s keeping it very clear that Muslims are what’s wrong with the Netherlands and his concept of freedom is to rid the Netherlands of this “ideaology” and thus return the country to its glory days of tolerance, because under that blonde he believes that the presence of Muslims is what is causing the growth in intolerance.
What’s most interesting is that Wilder’s message may be taking root in the hearts of Dutch young people, meaning they’re learning from an early age that freedom means getting rid of the people you see as the problem. That is worrisome because it could be today for the Muslims and tomorrow for somebody else.
To us the real solution is finding the very difficult balance between integrating the new things that people bring with them when they migrate. This applies both in the Netherlands and here in St. Maarten where there are 106 different nationalities. In fact if we get the formula right, then we can be a leader in the Kingdom in how to successfully integrate people, instead of chasing them and the potential benefits they bring away from our shores.

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