Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ripple of Fear

About 6 years ago I spoke to an Egyptian guy who was serving me in Falafel joint. He spoke English with me. I asked him were he came from and he said he had been living in Denmark for 7 years and before that in Egypt. He told me he moved from Denmark He said that the Danes were getting really hostile towards Middle Easterners and that he moved to The Netherlands to be in a more friendly and relaxed environment. I smiled a hooded smile and thought: “you will have to move to ANOTHER country in a few years” because it was already obvious to me that the Dutch were getting disenchanted with the presence of large amounts of non-westerners in The Netherlands, but that Government and the media were keeping it under the rug. Two years later we got the Fortuyn phenomenon upsetting the Multiculturalist applecart.

After Fortuyn made clear that large amounts of people were upset about the way things were moving in The Netherlands there were a lot of people hoping that things would return to the way it was before 2002. That is why Fortuyn was murdered. Some people think the problem is not that the presence of different nations in one political system that causes friction, but the people who voice the nationalist point of view. So muzzle them or kill them and the problem is gone. Premier Balkenende is representative of such people. Although he was a major beneficiary of the political upheaval caused by Pim Fortuyn he gives little indication that it would be a good idea to stop immigration of Non-Western people. Balkenende thinks that the problem will disappear if people will just be nice to each other and in order for that to happen, he tells people to be nice to each other a lot.

However, the presence of Non-Westerners is now so big that problems keep cropping up left and right. One shockwave has not subsided before another one forms on the horizon. As a result more and more Dutch people are becoming aware of the threat of Multiculturalism, usually in the form of a fear of Islam. Esther at "Islam in Europe" has given a number of posts of the widening rift between the Dutch and Muslims. Keeping track of the growing hostility and estrangement between both communities.

Today I read her post on the reaction of the Dutch public on the Danish cartoon crisis and I remembered that Egyptian and he wondered were he lives now. He seemed a genuinely nice fellow, a person who just wants to get on with life really.

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