Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On power and tolerance

Politiek Café
Originally uploaded by
Nic Name.
I have been upset the entire day due to the Hirsi Ali issue. It tells too much about the general mentality in this country at the moment. The newspapers today write that several leading politicians including ministers wish "to take distance" or "are critical" towards Verdonk´s harsh actions. But still, Verdonk remains as a minister and Hirsi Ali does not have a Dutch passport anymore.

I would still say that it is way too easy to blame Verdonk for all this. We are witnessing in a very clear manner the difference between tolerance and acceptance. Most of the immigrants have been tolerated in this country for years. Of course people are not openly happy with Verdonk´s actions but it is still going on. She is doing what several people have been hoping for but have not dared to say out loud. When Hirsi Ali was asked to leave her apartment last week, the neighbours did not react.

I feel helpless. I feel like I should do something but I have no idea what. As a Moroccan-origin writer Abdelkader Benali wrote today on"Het Nederland van de jaren negentig - open, tolerant, multicultureel - is hiermee in één klap afgebouwd, ingeplakt en klaar voor vernietiging." (Loosely translated: The Netherlands of the 90s - open, tolerant, multicultural - is now with one smack being blown into pieces and ready for wrecking.)

But of course the minister is not an innocent bystander. She was saying over and over again in yesterday´s parliamentary debate that she couldn´t do anything else. She claims that this was her duty. This answer tells too much of the way politics is seen in our societies at the moment. Politics turns into execution and management and politicians claim they do what they have to do.

A friend of mine told me yesterday that she was some time back in a discussion where the representative of the Commission said that understanding diversity is in the European genes. I would dare to argue that.

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