In memory of Mr. Pim Fortuyn I hereby publish some of my columns written shortly after the professional liquidation.
Pim is dead
Nowhere Homes, Sunday May 12, 2002, 6 days after Black Monday. (letter to the House of Representatives)
Anger, powerlessness, sadness, a deep black hole. I still cry at the loss of this man. What can I add to all that has already been said; everything has already been said. I can't say anything new. What I can do, in the spirit of Mr Fortuyn, is put forward my opinion. And so I do that now. I scream my anger and sorrow in your face. But since I am an ordinary average Dutch person, I do not expect that you will take the trouble to formulate an answer to my letter. I will take my anger and sadness seriously… This does not alter the fact that I take the trouble to speak out. My conscience tells me that I must let you know how I feel about certain matters, so that you, as a Member of Parliament, my can be a mouthpiece. After all, I have to live with my conscience, and you with yours.
Mr. Fortuyn's stormy conquest of the political scene has amazed friend and foe alike. The political establishment did not know how to respond to this charismatic, intelligent man who spoke clear and understandable language. It is a given that a power bloc, whether economic, military or political, will never allow this position to be threatened. All means will be used to protect the dominant position and render the adversary harmless. There are many examples in history that support the correctness of this statement.
Sun Tzu, the Chinese sage, said: “War is the art of deception. – If he (the enemy) is incensed, provoke him. – If he is in harmony within, sow discord in his ranks. – If he is in disarray, attack him and seize him. Successively, the political establishment has also done this: they have tried to mislead the people through disinformation. The political establishment feverishly adjusted their own positions because they felt that what Mr Fortuyn said was common among broad sections of the Dutch population. It did not help. In the opinion polls, Mr. Fortuyn rose, like a kite that also takes off against the wind.
Then the crudest artillery, in both senses of the word, was brought into position. One-sided reporting, quotes taken out of context, personal attacks, belittling and belittling of the person of Mr Fortuyn and his views. Comparison with Hitler, Haider and Le Pen. Those who supported Mr Fortuyn and his view were provoked: “You are for Fortuyn. Do they also know that at work?” The LPF's list was deemed not to be competent for the tasks ahead. All this brought to the fore by the press as lackeys of the establishment, journalists as extensions of the political views of their masters. It did not help.
Then came Black Monday and everything changed. The breach in the ivory tower of the Binnenhof is now closed. Commissions are set up, investigations are started, the people are appeased. The headlines of recently pressured politicians on TV now explain how "horrifying" they find it. The language of reason. A call to calm. Show compassion, make humble faces, hope the voter will respond. Cooling down is the motto; the soup is not eaten as hot when served. It's not May 15 yet.
Why the elections are going ahead is simple. “Not bowing to violence” has nothing to do with that. They continue so that the LPF may not have time to reflect, to regroup. Keep them off their balance. Just the opportunism of The Hague's politics. Media reports that support for the Fortuyn list is dwindling; sow doubt, divide and conquer.
But my heart cries out, "He's dead, dead, dead." I don't want reasonableness. I want to see you all go to the dust. Hearing you say you screwed up, sold the Dutch people, beat yourself up with your bureaucracy, rules and regulations, your so-called “political correctness”, your fable of multiculturalism, your denial of true democratic values. That you have squandered your holy grail of “political responsibility” in order to be able to sit on the plush of The Hague, which has rendered you unbelievable by your actions.
I want to be able to say what I think, I expect you to do what the people say and not what you think the people think. I can think for myself, you don't have to do that for me, thank you! I expect you to listen to the people, to me, my neighbor, the caravan dwellers on the edge of the village, the entrepreneur on the other side of the street, the bureaucratic officer who is bombarded with rules who can no longer do what reasonableness and honesty dictate , the teacher who finds his love for the subject smothered in unnecessary red tape, the underpaid nurse at the bedside who has to hear from a patient for the umpteenth time how long she had to wait, the woman who is robbed of her dignity when the is about safety on the street, the whiplash patient who is ground in the bureaucratic meat grinder of USZO, the entrepreneur who sees his company break down because the rules are changed once again, the homeless person who does not get a house and sees how an asylum seeker is housed. I expect you to listen to that!
And if you have done that, without bias, without your own political agenda, then you have it privilege to carry out, to give shape to what the people want. You should realize like no other that democracy means the will of the people. If you, as a representative of the people, do not wish to carry out the will of the people, then you should pack your bags. I quote Pvda member, Prof. J. Verheul in his speech “The two-edged sword” (Leiden '78): “A representative of the people who has interests that conflict with the public interest is by definition corrupt. Unworthy of a political party. A voter who votes for such a party is, at best, ignorant.”
As long as politicians are not interested in people, people are not interested in politics. That has been proven time and again. So no crocodile tears now. The ball is in your court. Do something with it.
I am in mourning.
(below the poem by Gerrit Komrij that he wrote shortly after the murder of Mr. Fortuyn. Gerrit Komrij was the Poet Laureate at the time.)
The three thousand days of Ad Melkert
Nowhere Homes, May 13, 2002, 7 days after Black Monday.
In the election campaign, if it had that name at all, the established parties understood that strong language had to be used to slow down Mr Fortuyn's rise. It was realized that clear language had to be spoken, that one had to take “political responsibility” for acting as a minister or state secretary. In the meeting rooms of the PvdA, there were feverish consultations to formulate a strategy that could avert the inevitable. A plan was born.
Mr. Melkert, as party leader, had the honor of launching this plan in front of the entire Dutch press. Broadly speaking, the plan meant that in the new cabinet, ministers and state secretaries had to develop strong plans to adequately solve the most pressing problems left behind by Lubbers III and Purple I & II. The execution time: 100 days. The consequences of failure: departure. Taking “political responsibility”.
It is, to say the least, bitter that this plan comes from a party and is presented by a party leader who, in the past, has never drunk from their just-sanctified grail of "political responsibility".
When the scale of the genocide in Srebrenica became widely known in 1995, political responsibility for it was not accepted. While it was crystal clear to any sane person that the Hague was indeed partly responsible for the murder of 7000 Muslims. Everything captured on two rolls of film that (un)fortunately “got lost”. The PvdA did not take it too seriously with the gut feelings that this evoked in broad sections of the population. The usual reaction followed: an “independent and expert” committee was set up, an inquiry was ordered to sort out all the historical facts, with the aim of cooling the situation down, appeasing. When the bomb of the NIOD report exploded in the face of Purple II, the cabinet then blew itself up. After all, it was only a short time until the elections and as a caretaker cabinet you can still govern. Now “there are questions that have not been answered in the NIOD report” or “certain aspects are not taken into account in the report”. Millions spent on pointing out the culprit, the Black Pete, whom no one wants. Only Mr. de Grave showed a trace of conscience in the week prior to the fall of Purple II. The rest tried to wash their hands in blood-red water.
When the construction fraud came to light, the responsible PvdA minister, Netelenbos, did not take her "political responsibility". Naturally, entrepreneurs were raided, their accounts were confiscated, officials were arrested, the question was asked how this could happen in this department. In a department where the even controller of the controllers is checked. The case is handed over to Justice, the lawsuit is filed, the case is bought off for a million, the case is calmed down. Price tag for the Dutch taxpayer: 45 million Euros. Whether adequate measures have been taken, and that does not equal more regulations, the people will have to wait and see. The responsible minister saw the route to the Queen's Commissariat in North Holland cut off; she is now looking at another fun job.
Finally, there is the party leader of the PvdA: Mr Melkert. During Purple I the motor behind one of the largest employment projects in the Netherlands; the Melkert track. Partly financed with money from Brussels. Money that we first took away and got back through an opaque bureaucratic process that was uncontrollable for ordinary citizens. In that process, we not only lost many millions of euros, but also lost control over how our tax money was spent.
A few months ago, the bureaucratic Brussels bastion turned out to be angry about how Social Affairs had handled the European subsidy. Pay back and hurry! Denial, an investigation, bickering about the amount to be refunded, diversions about the interpretation of the regulations, an independent investigation launched. Basically, the usual reflexes. Political responsibility was briefly discussed; it was not picked up by the orchestrator of the operation, Mr. Melkert. The same Melkert beckons for the premiership. Entrance ticket of several hundreds of millions paid by the Dutch people and if we want to forget that for a while.
After 30 times 100 days, Mr. Melkert has amply proven that plans formulated under his responsibility have failed, that measures taken and many billions have not helped to solve the problems. It would be credit to Mr. Melkert if he started to live according to his own standard and not to let it depend on how others think about it or the possible consequences that this has for his person. His resignation, whether he is resigned or not to return to politics, should mark the end of his political career and the beginning of paying the PvdA's political debt to the Dutch people.
May 15 I wish you much wisdom.
Taken for granted
Nowhere Homes, Tuesday May 14, 2002, eight days after Black Monday.
Who is to blame for Mr Fortuyn's death? Has an environment been created in which this could have happened? And if so, who did that? Is it only the gunman who blew Mr Fortuyn's life to blame, or have The Hague's politicians and the press also targeted Mr Fortuyn? Is there a conspiracy and if so who is behind it? These questions were circulated throughout the Netherlands.
Apart from the fact that pointing out a guilty person doesn't solve much, it is interesting to see the reactions of certain sections of The Hague's politics and press. Suddenly, to their horror, they find themselves in the middle of the field of fire. With their buttocks squeezing, they cry out from cover that they didn't do it or certainly didn't mean it that way. Articles appear in the newspaper in which journalists emphatically deny that they are guilty of demonizing Mr Fortuyn. Politicians on TV, led by outgoing Prime Minister Kok, who, with humble faces and in a serious tone, emphatically deny having been guilty of demonizing Mr Fortuyn. Apparently, you should not take everything so literally in a political debate and election campaign, is the message. But how should you take it then?
People have many talents. A talent that few possess is the ability to look inside someone else's head to see what exactly he or she means by a statement. It is of course foolish to say, if someone does not understand you or misunderstands you, that the other person is stupid. Clear formulation in understandable language really works better. When Mr Fortuyn is mentioned in the same breath as Le Pen, Haider, Hitler and Mussert, is labeled as "a danger to society", "far-right politician", "Anne Frank should get her suitcase ready", how should the public take that? The message was clear and distinct. Clearer and more unambiguous than any language that came from the Binnenhof in the previous eight years. As a politician from The Hague, it shows the courage of the D66 leader, Mr de Graaf, to make comparisons with the deportations during the Second World War when the ink of the NIOD report on Scebrenica has not yet dried.
An attempt is desperately made to downplay the demonization of Mr. Fortuyn; the people who have understood it so are mad, not those who are guilty. Words are played around, explanations are given and every comma is a point of discussion.
The press shouts that it has only reported what happened and denies any cooperation or contribution to the demonization of Mr. Fortuyn. But isn't it the editors who determine what is written and broadcast? Do they not determine what the public can see and what not? How it is depicted, which photo is chosen for the article? Which phrases quoted and in what context? What questions are asked: open, leading or insinuating? The editors choose and censor what the public sees and how it takes shape.
The journalism school will undoubtedly have discussed the difference between reporting and commentary. Reporting should be limited to reporting the facts, objectively, without bias and integral. Subtle influencing by playing a certain music or filming at a certain camera angle make a big difference in the image of people. Just think of the photos of Mr. Fortuyn's head and neck. An editorial is different. The opinion of the writer may resound in it, the debate can take place. But keep it separate, otherwise it will turn into coffee grounds.
But now Mr Kok and GroenLinks leader Rosenmöller are being targeted. And that doesn't feel right, to say the least. Mr. Langendam says the deadly bullet came from the left; After all, Van der G. can be placed in the left corner. The fact that the connection is made in our heads with PvdA and GroenLinks is just as bad for Mr Kok and Rosenmöller. "I have made an appeal to keep calm, to have respect for each other and to treat each other conscientiously," said Mr. Kok. Before Mr. Fortuyn's death, there was no sign of Mr Kok's conscience. Then the hunting season was open and Mr. Fortuyn roamed wild.
Mr. Rosenmöller qualifies Langendam's statements as “mood-making”. And: “It is a completely irresponsible accumulation of allegations. I am convinced that the vast majority of the population thinks this is going too far.” How do you know that the population thinks so, Herr Rosenmöller? Apparently Mr Rosenmöller's empathy has improved a lot now that he is sitting in the corner where the blows fall. Now the “mood-making” is recognized. But yes, Mr Rosenmöller, whoever sows wind will reap storm. And yes, if you get a black eye in a game of verbal street fighting with the new kid in the street, don't lie down and cry. If Mr Rosenmöller qualifies the Pim Fortuyn List as a political kindergarten class, that says more about Mr Rosenmöller's condescending way of looking than about the actual qualities of the people on the Pim Fortuyn List. If the LPF would indeed have so little quality as Mr Rosenmöller would have us believe, which I doubt, then why is he so afraid? Mr. Rosenmöller sees an "unbridgeable gap" between his party and LPF. Good thing, too.
Politicians and journalists are people who earn their living every day by conveying messages to the public. They should be aware like no other of the nature and content of the message they convey, in word, tone and body language. This also includes action. When Mr Rosenmöller organizes a protest march against Mr Fortuyn and against discrimination, the connection is made. The image is planted in the minds of the people. It is impossible not to think of an apple when you hear the word "apple". That's just how it works in our brain. The whole of The Hague knows that and also the entire press.
The denial of demonization is the drawing of the line that the opinion of the people is unimportant. In the official Hague lecture, supported by certain sections in the press, it is not true. And with that, The Hague's opinion has been elevated to absolute truth. And woe betide you if you dare to go against it.
Apparently, the call for innovation in Dutch politics has not yet dawned on some.
I wish you tomorrow (ed. elections 2e room) a lot of wisdom.