Saturday, November 14, 2009

Abominating Geert Wilders

Below is another translation by our Flemish correspondent VH, this time an article and interview with Geert Wilders taken from the PVV website (which was originally published in the print edition of De Telegraaf, Saturday, November 7, 2009). Note: VH sent us this translation a week ago, so some of the date references refer to the previous week.

Wilders furious about left-wing offensive against his party

Geert Wilders and his PVV party have in the past week been portrayed as right-wing extremists, racists, and a threat to the constitutional state. The political Left opened a frontal attack on a party that has become a political powerhouse in Dutch politics, as reported by the polls. According to Wilders, he is personally not averse to provocations and hard words, but the ruling elite is playing with fire by abominating and demonizing him. But is the politician the big target?

“Pure Intimidation!”

They can not cope with the PVV, and therefore they hit below the belt.

By Jaap Folkerts and Paul Jansen

Sometimes Geert Wilders performs an act. He then pretends to be angry about things his political opponents are saying and writing about him. Then he jumps up, raises his voice and serves his opponents with bite-sized chunks of reply. And often behind the frown lurks a satisfied smile. But not today.

The PVV leader is in a dither. Actually, he has been the whole week; he feels gotten at by Eberhard van der Laan [Integration Minister; PvdA, Socialist], who called him and his party “a threat to the constitutional state”. By another Socialist minister, Guusje ter Horst [Home Affairs, PvdA, known for her call for a revolt by the elite], who assigned allegedly biased researchers to an investigation of the PVV, and the parliamentarian Alexander Pechtold [D66, center-left, anti-Wilders party], who stuck an extreme right-wing and racist label on PVV voters.

“Pechtold, a slippery teflon ventriloquist’s doll”

These are old tactics, as Wilders is well aware of. The Left attempts to disqualify the PVV, now that the young party shows itself unbeatable on its merits. Geert Wilders calls the PvdA [Socialists, Labor]: “a party that shrivels down to a shrimp, a party which does not even have the beginning of a response to the multicultural society, to integration. They are in a panic. The reflex remains: deny and demonize. Van der Laan is an exponent of this. It is different for the D66, however.” The club of Pechtold, which has a congress today in Breda[1], is the antithesis of the PVV and equally successful in the polls. According to the D66 that is due to their sensible policies and the qualities of Pechtold. But Wilders believes that party only arose from the political land of the dead because of the PVV. “D66 can thank us for absolutely everything.”

— Pechtold is still just a good politician, though?

“I find Pechtold a very slick politician.”

— Why slick?

“Well, he is such a teflon ventriloquist’s doll. You do see him move, and he talks like someone who has a hand behind him to move him. Meanwhile, he actually says very little. Smooth and slippery. I think D66 is really the worst there is, worse than the GreenLeft [GroenLinks; extreme left-wing multiculturalists and environmentalists]. And that says a lot.”

— But why is D66 so awful?

“It is a little bit of everything. D66 never has clear views. I have absolutely nothing to do with them. But Pechtold is successful, I do admit. So in that sense he is not a bad politician.”

— Yet you say: they owe their success to us.

“Without the PVV, D66 would still be at three seats [out of 150]. They became big because of their resistance against us. Pechtold therefore is always the bellwether when there is any opportunity to criticize us. The PVV feeds him, we are his food.”

— For that matter, this week you have been able to properly profile yourself against the D66. You called Pechtold, together with Van der Laan, “political associates of Mohammed Bouyeri”, the murderer of Theo van Gogh.

“I’m not the first one who stepped outside to them give a clip round the ear. They have carried out a brutal attack below the belt. Thus it is my duty to stand up for all those PVV voters.”

— Did you not inadvertently contribute to the big Pechtold show, in the run-up to his party congress?[1]

“Look here, there simply are limits. He addresses not just me but also all those people who vote for the PVV. If you take the average of the polls, you are talking about 1.5 to 2 million people. They all get snapped at because they are called racist by one nutcase and another nutcase calls them a threat to the constitution. Then they [D66] are as far as I am concerned, political allies of Mohammed Bouyeri.”

— Why?

“Because they once again create such an atmosphere. Just imagine that an unstable person first hears that scientists push us in the far right corner, then an MP and then a minister. That is quite something. It is unprecedented that a minister says that a political opponent is a threat to the constitutional state. Because of that they are partly responsible for an atmosphere that can lead to hatred and violence. What they accuse me of, they do themselves.”

— Minister Van der Laan has also made a link with the past?
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“That makes me furious. If you are talking of the extreme right, the link to Nazism is very easily made. That is totally unfair. We are pure democrats, we only use democratic means, we have been democratically elected, we have democratic success. Van der Laan behaves like a present day Ad Melkert (former PvdA fraction leader who had an important role in the demonizing of Pim Fortuyn[2] that led to Fortuyn’s assassination). He is the new Melkert, someone who buries his head in the sand, demonizes, makes wrong comparisons. I think the voter will see through that. But it does affect people. That is extremely dangerous.”

— Why do you make a comparison between yourself and Pim Fortuyn?

“Because I foresee the same thing happening. Fortuyn was demonized by Ad Melkert and others, such as Thom de Graaf of D66. History repeats itself: Melkert and De Graaf, Van der Laan and now sonny boy Pechtold. They took over those roles.”[3]

— Do you feel more unsafe because of that?

“My safety, for that matter, is no fun at all. It’s been years since I felt safe. This will not help. But it’s not just about me. It is also about all those PVV voters in the country who have pasted up posters or organized a meeting. They get a stamp stuck on their foreheads.”

— Are you afraid of an assault?

“The weird thing is: I’m already five years into this heavy security situation. It started right after the murder of Van Gogh. I realize that it can happen anytime. But I am not a fearful man. I’m just doing my job. But it does always stick in my mind. I am more worried about my safety.”

— You are quite angry. However, you yourself are not averse to tough words.

“Yes, but I will not let the PVV voter be called racist, a threat to the constitutional state and a right-wing extremist. I will not let that happen. Anyone who says that from now on, will be given it hot, big time. They cannot cope with the PVV, that is why they shoot below the belt.”

— Creating an atmosphere is still in your veins?

“I am not creating an atmosphere. I say what I find. What in my opinion must change in the Netherlands. And that is a message that catches on widely. Quite a lot of people want less immigration, less Islam.”

— Didn’t your proposal for a head-rag tax create an atmosphere, though?

“Not at all. With that I managed to start a debate on those head-rags.”

— Didn’t you just want to a humiliate a group of people?

“No I did not; I think a headscarf is a head-rag. Something that has no place in the Netherlands. The tax was intended to ensure that people stop wearing that thing.”

— Must you not then propose to ban it and not levy a tax on it?

“Sure we should, because the goal is that they will not wear those headscarves anymore.”

— The next time there is verbal abuse against the PVV, will you go to court?

“No, I am very much for freedom of expression. But PVV voters are no threat to the constitutional state. These people are a threat to the PvdA (Socialists). A threat to the incumbent political elite. We can change the Netherlands.”

— Are the attacks then designed to prevent that change?

“The goal is for people to stop people voting the PVV. For who wants to vote for a racist, an extreme right-winger? This is the intimidation of the electorate. Pure intimidation.”

— You say: the left is on trying to influence the election beforehand?

“We all do. But not by proclaiming falsehoods and lies.”

— Because the PVV is not extreme right.

“If we were extreme, we would be operating in the margins of Dutch politics. With two to three percent support. When you are extreme, you will not poll at 26 seats in the Netherlands. That is inconceivable.”

— Is there indeed a link between the research on the radical nature of the PVV as assigned by the PvdA Minister Ter Horst, and the upcoming criminal proceedings against you for discrimination and incitement to hatred?

“I heard lawyer Gerard Spong [lawyer for the complainants] declare that its is as if the study were made to order. That it should be used in court. Minister Ter Horst wants to send the study to Parliament in December, which is four weeks before the beginning of my court case. With that she oversteps the line. The Minister of Internal Affairs is, whether she likes it or not, influencing the trial. That is completely unacceptable.”

— Minister Ter Horst said the three researchers, of whom two previously have pegged the PVV as extreme right, were not selected by her.

“That’s hogwash. She is responsible.”

— We’re still more than half a year ahead of the municipal elections, and a year and a half for the general election. What do you expect of the political climate in the coming months?

“To start with: I hope that we have the municipal and national elections at he same time. That would be the best for the Netherlands, when the government leaves. But it will be a tough and rock-hard battle. I have also warned my group about that.”

— About what, exactly?

“The gloves are completely off on the other side. There are even political opponents, read the PvdA, who put on a knuckle-duster. As we continue to do well in the polls and draw closer to the elections, they will punch ever more wildly with them. We must be very aware of that. What you have seen this week is not an accident. It will only get worse. But we will still win.”

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[1] D66 fraction leader Pechtold said at the D66 congress that he would stick to his words. Further: D66 lost two seats in the polls this week.
[2] On the Dutch TV Show “Jensen”, Pim Fortuyn warned [video] about the possible consequences of his demonization: [transcript] “When you see what I sometimes get in the mailbox, the threats and so on, it does not make one cheerful. And the Dutch government — and that is therefore what I find a bloody shame — it helps to create a climate of demonization against my person… and when something then happens to me — I am glad that you [the interviewer Jensen] give me the opportunity — and when something happens to me, then they are equally responsible, and then they cannot wash their hands of it, in a way like: “Yes, I have not committed that assault”. You have partaken in creating that climate… and that must stop.” Two months later Pim Fortuyn was assasinated.
[3] According to Geert Wilders in an article earlier this week, the statements by the two politicians [Van der Laan (PvdA) and Pechtold (D66)] contribute “to a climate of hatred and violence against me and the PVV. […] The PvdA and D66 apparently have not learned anything form the murder of Pim Fortuyn.” Wilders thinks this demonizing is because of a fear of the success of the PVV. […] “If something violent ever happens to me or the PVV or its supporters, then from now on everyone will know that Van der Laan and Pechtold have contributed to a climate in which some insane person — partly because of their demonizing statements — felt justified in his actions.”

On Tuesday of last week, The Friends of Pim Fortuyn Foundation and the Foundation Statue of Pim have jointly filed charges against D66 leader Alexander Pechtold. as the spokesman of the latter foundation, Rinus van den Heerik made known.

The charges are directed against the statements Pechtold has made against Geert Wilders in the TV show “De wereld draait door”. “With statements saying that Geert Wilders is a danger to the state, a right-wing extremist, and incites hatred, Mr. Pechtold exceeds his powers”, Van den Heerik stated. “With these charges we want to avoid a third political murder, after the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh.” Gerard Spong will be the defense lawyer for Alexander Pechtold.