Monday 6 September 2010

Notes from a future pariah state

A beautiful Saturday afternoon in a small provincial town.. That’s how you are supposed to call it, but a glance on the map of Holland (the western part of the Netherlands) shows one urban agglomeration form North to South, from Haarlem to beyond Delft. This part of Holland actually is one large urban area with some rectangle patches of green jotted in between, nonsensically named The Green Heart, “the dunes” and some more.
In this small town most people know each other, which gives it a village feel. The adjacent street terraces are crowded and there is continuous mutual greeting going on. I do not exactly know how we fit into this, but we do not feel excluded. With a goblet of Augustine triple in the sun the world does not look all that bad.

Yet we are discussing the seriousness of the situation in NL. A party seems to be coming to power which yearns for Guantánamo-style concentration camps, which wants to ban the Book of about a million faithful (and more, since I want to be able to read the Qur’an too), a party expressing loads of contempt for some of these faithful who are covering their hair which the party pretends to be able to tax (“headragtax”), and much more. The Netherlands can easily and perhaps inevitably become a pariah state in Europe. Since the fourteenth century this river delta country has depended mostly on trade and so the ruling class should prevent the xenophobic crowd from coming to power. After a long time of commitment to anarchism I will have to count on the ruling class to protect me...

We are seriously discussing the possibility of having to emigrate and ask for asylum somewhere, in the near future.. What exactly seems to indicate the danger? In any police state you can sit perfectly on a pavement and drink in the sun, you only should not talk too loud about certain things. The above-mentioned one man xenophobic “party” wants a special state brigade that shoots on sight those “everyone knows to be the wrong types”. And at night you may expect the bang on the door. It is the leftists wot brought the mooslims over here, you see, and now NL is shaking off sixty years of lefty dictatorship, that is his story. History is what he makes of it. Escaping to – Germany, Sweden, Britain, Ireland – in Belgium a similar party seems to be just a hair’s width from state power too. You hardly can imagine you have to consider these things seriously.

How to explain NL A.D. 2010 to non-Dutch? That a sixth of the electorate feels attracted to a man with a baby head and a bleached coiffure wanting to resemble images of Mozart? Not a charismatic man with a dangerously attractive twinkle in his eyes like Fortuijn – it was not a reason to vote for him but you could imagine people being charmed by him. The baby head is only grouching in parliament, supported financially from Tel Aviv and dubious so-called think tanks in the USA. Chewing the rag is a favourite pastime for quite a lot of Dutch. A friend who escaped southward a long time ago described this typical Dutch mentality as “badgering is obligatory, hitting is forbidden.” The moooslims will be badgered, it does not matter if it be legally allowed or not, someone has to be the main object of badgering. A sixth of Dutch voters thinks this is a way to live life to the full. And if one may believe the opinion polls their numbers are rising all the time. And badgering is bad enough, but will that be all in the future?

Two men dressed in jellaba put away their bikes near the café where we sit outside. They walk along, seemingly to the mosque, wherever that may be, there is no minaret in sight. In the neighbourhood in which I grew up the building of the pes control service has been turned into amosque without much external changes to the building. Humiliating muslims “in finibus” is not a new feature of the Netherlands. I notice there are quite a few men passing by, dressed like this along the pavement. It is ramadan, how could I forget.. Nobody takes notice of them, maybe I am the only person sitting outside giving them any thought. What is there to worry about?

And then there is a female passer-by attracting many glances. High-heeled, wearing a tube skirt reaching just under her knees. Her pantyhose may be flesh-coloured or absent, I cannot tell. She radiates elegance not in tune with sitting outside a café in the sun, but that would not necessarily attract attention. Her hair is the remarkable thing about her.
Her hair is completely packed in a knot, covered y a piece of textile generally called a bandana, a headscarf. The muslim headscarf. The young woman puts on a sullen look – if she knows her way around she must know there are three cafés in a row with pavement arrangements, crowded in the sun, and she is bound to know she will draw attention. Her whole look is giving out a statement and it must be purposeful, even though she puts some anger on her face. In bigger towns it can be seen increasingly – young women combining the muslim headscarf with miniskirts, yet they will wear dark tights. It is a remarkable appearance. These girls to me embody the hope that all may still be well with the Netherlands, even thought the usual cantankerous types will not enjoy it at all.

We had been spending some time in a news free zone, back in the world we hear that the “Brown” coalition of so-called liberals, so-called christian-democrats and fundamentalist protestants with the fascists seems to have been blown off by the Blonde Xenophobe himself. I do not know if that really is a relief.
To quote a famous Dutch hymn: There will be lots of struggle ahead.