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is that these developments in Germany are happening at lightning speed.

In the Netherlands, Bolkenstein made his astute commentary early nineties (and I fundamentally disagree he was anything but over-generalising, magnifying or paranoid, as testified in his 1991 keynote editorial). It was only in 2002 when the party of Pim Fortuyn maximally capitalized on the reality of a floundering multicultural society and the (global) trend of increased suspicion of everything Islam-y since 9/11. And still, this was before the bestial murder on Van Gogh, the clampdown on immigration by "Iron Lady" Rita Verdonk, and the emergence of Geert Wilders. It took more than 15 years.

Mostly it reminds of the quick rise of the Pim Fortuyn party in 2002. If Merkel really sets course on a strategy that follows the same one of the Dutch christian-democrat, JP Balkenende, it carries significant risks for political stability. Since 2002, the governments of Balkenende, and his own party the CDA, have considerably thrown up higher barriers for immigrants, which have indeed led to a decrease of the flow of immigrants. And yet here we are with Geert Wilders forming the invisible third man behind the fresh minority government. So what good did that ever do?

And let's not forget that the  enormous gain of the Pim Fortuyn Party during the 2002 elections likely created the most incoherent, unstable and moronic government the Netherlands have had, lasting not more than 83 days.

So to me, this German catch-up following a Dutch scenario is happening at a pace that may portent future political instability. Germany should be very careful what it should wish for.

by Nomad on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 01:53:07 PM EST
Yes, the German right is moving into xenophobia without bring pushed by electoral gains by the extreme-right. I tend to see it as an attempt to pre-empt the scenario with a xenophobic party in parliament. The question is if they will succeed or if it will merely boost the existing neo-nazi parties.

Game theory aside, it shows that humanitarian values are no cornerstone if they can be abandoned like this.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Oct 19th, 2010 at 04:12:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
pre-empt the scenario with a xenophobic party in parliament

With emphasis on the fear of their own increasingly dissatisfied right wing splitting off.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
he was anything but over-generalising, magnifying or paranoid

Well, I learned of his views at the stage he had Eurabia visions and made historical comparisons, that's at least paranoid.

his 1991 keynote editorial

Do you have some on-line link that can be fed more easily into Google translate?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:30:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder when it was when you learned about his views.

You draw a parallel with the role Bolkestein played in the Netherlands in shifting the public debate on the multicultural society. As I explained, this was from the early nineties until Bolkestein became a EU Commissioner in 1999. It is that time period you want to consider. The parallel becomes patently bunk if Bolkestein is retrospectively charged with everything he said in public since that time.

You can, as I did, look for his speeches and editorials at Bolkestein's website.

by Nomad on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 10:14:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You draw a parallel with the role Bolkestein played in the Netherlands in shifting the public debate on the multicultural society. As I explained, this was from the early nineties until Bolkestein became a EU Commissioner in 1999. It is that time period you want to consider. The parallel becomes patently bunk if Bolkestein is retrospectively charged with everything he said in public since that time.

Not necessarily. If he has a subsequent history of making blatant and easily debunked bad-faith arguments and flat out lies, then it casts some doubt on the honestly and propriety of his previous conduct (which, being further removed in time, is harder to verify). Of course, it could be a case of him being a one-trick pony who used to have a point but felt that he had to crank his shtick up to eleven when everybody else started agreeing with him. But the alternate hypothesis, that he always was a dishonest crank, is at least as plausible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 10:20:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
which probably lost the referendum in France, and thus fcuked up the EU for several decades at least, is an interesting case in point.

Incredibly, he came to France to promote this directive, during the referendum campaign. As I remember, there were blatant, fairly easily-debunked bad-faith lies involved.

If I recall correctly, what he had wanted (before the directive was largely eviscerated) was that anyone (in the list of occupations concerned) could work in any EU country, while paying social security contributions only in their country of origin (i.e. at a much lower rate in many cases, or... not at all, if they didn't get round to filing the paperwork)

He denied fervently that it would work like that, but the directive was clear.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:28:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the time being, try this from 2002 (Word!). It's an interesting piece: despite several Atlanticist overtones, bits of Orientalist kitch, and a rather stupid rhetorical argument on why Saddam is supposed to have chemical weapons, he comes out against the Iraq invasion with sensible arguments and dismisses Al Qaida and Middle Eastern regimes as serious risks for the West. So IMO clearly not a total fluke, and can think for himself, but there is a certain shallowness of analysis and certain idées fixes that look for confirmation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:44:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, he seems to prefer Word, but I'll Google.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:36:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tested one of Bolkestein's recent pieces for distortions. Quotes from him in orange/grey blockquotes.

In Amsterdam schorste het GVB onlangs een trambestuurder omdat hij een christelijk kruis droeg op zijn uniform. Het dragen van een islamitisch hoofddoekje boven datzelfde uniform is wel toegestaan. De tramconducteur werd door de rechter in het ongelijk gesteld.

An Amsterdam tram driver was kicked out for wearing a crucifix over his uniform, but the same company doesn't prohibit the Muslim veil above the uniform, Bolkestein claims. But he forgot certain details:

Court backs ban on tram driver's crucifix | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

A tram driver, Ezzat Aziz, had brought the case because his employer had forbidden him from wearing a necklace bearing a Christian cross outside his uniform. He had been suspended several times for wearing the necklace.

Mr Aziz claimed he been subjected to unequal treatment. He said that while he was not allowed to wear his necklace, there was no ban on Islamic women employees wearing headscarves.

However, the court sided with the Mr Aziz's employer. The Amsterdam public transport service pointed out that its employees are not allowed to wear necklaces of any kind, with or without religious symbols. They are allowed to express their religion visibly in other appropriate ways, such as by wearing a bracelet or ring. The court concluded that the rules were reasonable and there was no question of any religious discrimination.

Conductor banned from wearing crucifix necklace | Radio Netherlands Worldwide

An Amsterdam appeal court has ruled that the Amsterdam public transport service is within its rights to ban its conductors from visibly wearing a necklace bearing a crucifix.

...The court ruled that the public transport service wasn't guilty of discrimination because the rule wasn't against wearing religious symbols, but simply against visibly wearing necklaces. For security reasons the service's dress code bans employees from wearing any necklace outside the uniform.

The dress code allows the wearing of headscarves, as long as they bear the company logo. And the transport service points out that if Mr Aziz wants to express his religious belief, he's welcome to wear a ring or an earring with a crucifix.

Nevertheless, Mr Aziz says he's disappointed in Dutch justice. As a member of the Coptic Church, in Egypt he was barely able to express his religion. He expected things to be different in the Netherlands.

Een Nederlandse advocaat weigert op te staan als de rechter binnenkomt omdat hem dat door zijn godsdienst, de islam, verboden wordt. De desbetreffende rechter, Peter Ingelse, zei dat de advocaat mocht blijven zitten, omdat hij, Ingelse, zich niet beledigd voelde. De rechter vergat daarbij dat advocaten niet moeten opstaan uit respect voor de rechter, maar uit respect voor de wet.

Bolkestein tells the story of a Muslim lawyer in the Netherlands, who concluded from a Koran passage that standing up for someone who enters a room constitutes disrespect for people as equal, and thus refused to stand up when judges enter. Bolkestein then scolds the judge for tolerating it just because he did not feel insulted in his person, whereas standing up should be about showing respect to the law not his person. Well, that's both plagiarism and apparently a severe mis-representation of Ingelse's argument:


According to the Lawyers Association, Mohammeds refusal contravenes the rules of the court. 'A lawyer should 'pay respect' to the court. Not to judges as persons, but to the court as part of the rule of law.'

There is no legal rule however that says what 'paying respect' looks like. According to the dean of the Lawyers Association 'standing up when the court enters is the common way of showing respect'.

...Judge and Vice-President of the court of appeal of Amsterdam Peter Ingelse wrote in NRC (one of the larger national newspapers) on 8 September, that lawyers in the seventies and eighties bowed before the court. "Some almost kissed the floor", he said. Ingelse himself was a so called first aid lawyer, providing 'access to law' for poor people out of ideological reasons. "We did not like this bowing at all, so we just did not do it." He was convinced that 'respect' could only be earned and deserved, not enforced. Looking back now at his behaviour then, he concludes that respect for the court has not diminished, even if every now and then he sees persons in court refusing to stand up. He is more afraid of future diminished respect because of a forced way of enforcing rituals in court.

De Haagse Hogeschool heeft een kerstboom laten verwijderen uit angst dat moslimstudenten dit christelijke symbool (sic) aanstootgevend zouden vinden.

He claims Hague University banned the Christmas tree out of respect for Muslim students. The truth:

The Dutch higher vocational school `Haagse Hogeschool (HHS)` (calling itself The Hague University - but don't be fooled, it's not a university), has banned the christmas tree from its school. Well, contrary to many reports, not every where, but in in the main entrance hall. According to HHS they wanted a more international approach for the coming holidays so they choose `light' as a broad and positive theme expressed in light curtains, new years card and a charity action that fits more with the diverse character of its population. In other parts of its building there are christmas trees.

Engeland laat zien dat het nog erger kan. Daar heeft de gemeente Oxford besloten Kerst af te schaffen en te vervangen door het `Winterlichtfestival'.

Oxford supposedly abolished Christmas and replaced it with Winter Lights Festival. Here Bolkestein merely bought into a typical British media hysteria.

Oxford Inspires' Statement on WinterLight

We are sorry that a distorted and inaccurate portrayal of the WinterLight Festival in the press has given offence to people, and that the event itself has been so maligned.

WinterLight is a festival of winter events which happen from mid November to early January across Oxfordshire, many of which incorporate candlelight, fire or illuminations. Across Oxfordshire WinterLight features many Christmas events including Christmas Lights Switch Ons, a Christmas Festival and an Advent Fair. It also includes winter events such as pantomime shows, opera on ice and music concerts by candlelight.


WinterLight Oxford on 28th November coincides with the city`s Christmas Lights switch on event and with the re-opening of Bonn Square. WinterLight is happening in addition to Oxford City Council's Christmas programme which includes Christmas trees, Christmas Lights and the annual Carol Concert.


WinterLight does not distance itself from Christmas in the slightest. Oxford Inspires has not suggested removing the word "Christmas" from festive events. It has never considered doing so. The "WinterLight" publicity brochure features a Christmas tree on the cover and is in the format of an Advent Calendar with windows opening to reveal events.

In Neukölln, een stadswijk van Berlijn waar veel moslims wonen, zou een tentoonstelling worden gehouden over `De Derde Wereld in de Tweede Wereldoorlog'. Een klein deel van de tentoonstelling ging over de medeplichtigheid van Arabieren aan misdaden van de nazi's. Na protesten van moslims werd de tentoonstelling gesloten. De Berlijnse wethouder van integratie Günter Piening zei: `In een gemeenschap als Neukölln hebben we een gedifferentieerde voorstelling nodig van de betrokkenheid van de Arabische wereld bij de Tweede Wereldoorlog.'

Bolkestein tells of an exhibition about the Third World and WWII which was supposedly closed at the pressure of local Muslims protesting the showing of Arab Nazi collaborators. This is completely off, from Muslim through conflict parties to being closed:

Umstritttene Ausstellung: Neuköllner Kulturwerkstatt bekräftigt Kritik - Berlin - TagesspiegelThe Culture Workshop of Neukölln reinforces its criticism - Berlin - Tagesspeiegel
Die umstrittene Ausstellung ,,Die Dritte Welt im Zweiten Weltkrieg" ist am Donnerstag eröffnet worden - mit einer Distanzierung und verschärften Kritik von der Leitung der Werkstatt der Kulturen. Nicht allein die drei Schrifttafeln über arabische Nazi-Helfer lehne man ab, sondern alle 18 Texttafeln zu Kollaborateuren aus der Dritten Welt. Das habe die Leiterin der Werkstatt, Philippa Ebéné, bereits im Mai den Ausstellungsmachern mitgeteilt. Dies sei aber in der aktuellen Berichterstattung unterschlagen worden.The controversial exhibition "The Third World in the Second World War" was opened on Thursday - accompanied by a distancing and sharpened criticism from the leadership of the Workshop of Cultures. They reject not only the three tablets about Arabic Nazi helpers, but all 18 tablets about collaborators from the Third World. The leader of the Workshop, Philippa Ebéné, told this to the exhibition makers in May already. However, this has been missing in the recent media reports.
,,Es überfordert die Besucher, wenn die Opfer im Nahen Osten, in Afrika und Asien in einem Atemzug mit Kollaborateuren und japanischen Aggressoren genannt werden", erklärte Ebéné. Es sei schließlich auch in der wissenschaftlichen Aufarbeitung der europäischen Geschichte nicht üblich, Opfer neben Täter zu stellen. ,,Denkbar wäre, das Thema Kollaboration gesondert in einer Ausstellung im kommenden Jahr zu erarbeiten", so die Leiterin des Kulturhauses."It demands too much of visitors if victims in the Middle East, Africa and Asia are mentioned in the same breath with collaborators and Japanese aggressors", Ebéré explained. [According to her], it is not going practice to put victims next to perpetrators in the reprocessing of European history either. "It would be a possibility to work out the collaboration theme separately in an exhibition next year", said the leader of the Culture House.
Doch zu solchen Überlegungen kam es nicht. Nach ihrer Erklärung, vom Hausrecht Gebrauch zu machen, wenn das Thema Kollaboration in der Sammlung bleibe, erntete die Werkstatt-Leiterin harsche Kritik. Der Integrationsbeauftragte des Senats, Günter Piening, schaltete sich ein und vermittelte den Kompromiss, dass zumindest eine verkleinerte Ausstellung in der Neuköllner Werkstatt der Kulturen gezeigt werde. Der Vorstand akzeptierte das am Wochenende - ohne von seiner inhaltlichen Kritik abzurücken. Die Werkstatt plant, mit drei Veranstaltungen ihre eigene Position zu thematisieren. Ebéné selbst wollte beim Vermittlungsgespräch nicht zugegen sein. ,,Ich bin die Einzige, die biografische Bezüge zu dem Thema Kolonialisierung hat", erklärte die Afrodeutsche am Donnerstag. Ihr Name sollte nicht im Zusammenhang mit dem Kompromiss stehen.However, it didn't came to such considerations. After her declaration about exerting the right of the house owner if the collaboration theme remains in the collection, the workshop leader earned harsh criticism. Berlin's alderman for integration, Günter Piening, intervened and negotiated a compromise, so that at least a reduced exibition is shown in the Neukölln Culture Workshop. The board accepted that over the weekend - without stepping back from its criticism of the substance. The workshop plans to thematise its own position in three exhibitions. Ebéné herself did not want to attend the negotiation talk. "I am the only one who has biographical relationship to the theme colonisation", the African-German declared on Thursday. Her name should not be connected with the compromise.

He continues like this but my comment is long enough. Every single one of his examles are distorted to fit his argument, and the Dutch ones can't even be ascribed to a good faith misreading of distorted media reports. Sarrazin's way of arguing was the exact same.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 09:08:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putting it badly, those who first break a story controls the story.    

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 01:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed the more benign reading of the above list from Bolkestein would be that it is a showcase of anti-Muslim hysteria in the media (instead of the intended illustration of self-doubting Westerners giving way Muslim cultural aggression). However, in the Dutch cases, he is not just channelling media spin, but adds his own misrepresentations and presents some arguments of the participants as if they were his own outsider observations: he gains control of the story long after it broke by suggesting a compelling pattern.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 02:32:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should have though of this sooner: the Google cache of that Word document is easy to find and easily fed into Google translate...

I finished just three pages out of ten, but already I don't like it. Nothing yet about integration; he is talking about ups and downs of civilisations in sweeping tones, agrees as a liberal to Delors's contention that Christianity is one of the three bases of European civilisation with a sleight of hand and a mocking of Turkey, then goes into listing the illiberal ills of the Muslim world without considering any factors other than religion, and blaming all conflicts involving Muslims (with Israel at the end of the list) on the Muslims -- essentially, the worldview behind Huntington's Clash of Civilisations. So I'm sorry but it very much seems to me that he had the idée fixe about the Muslim Problem two decades ago already.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pages 4-7 are about integration, and make much more sense after a bad start. Bolkestein starts out treating Muslim immigrants as a block, without differentiation, in effect under collective suspicion of importing the 600 year backwardness of Muslim Civilisation. But at least the statistic he quotes (20% of Muslim girls not part of education; pre-online reference I can't check) shows a problem with a minority, and then he goes on to compare the French and Dutch philosophy: the French state hostility to communitarianism and the Dutch tradition of pillarisation that leads to the positive view of compartmentalising even education among communities. He then asks, which is the better policy, and doesn't the Dutch policy reinforce segregation of Muslim immigrants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:21:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The piece ends with more arguments against segregated and religious schools, where he asks whether liberal or fundie Islam would be taught; and an extended argument against voluntary integration programmes (in particular when husbands could keep wives at home).

He again cites examples from 20 years ago which I can't check back on, nor can I check whether Dutch law at the time regulated religious schools in any way. At any rate, Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh, did not come from segregated schools, and went bonkers in religious matters at age 25 after he turned a dropout and then his mother died, according to Wikipedia.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 04:49:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad: Germany should be very careful what it should wish for.

And yet, here is one sign that Germans remain quite reflective of the potential ultimate consequences of racism and xenophobia in their recent past:

Hitler Exhibition is a Visitor Magnet / Hitler-Ausstellung ist Besuchermagnet | Berliner Morgenpost - Soenke Schierer (2010.10.20)

In five days, already 15,000 people have come to the German Historical Museum.  The primary attraction for visitors is not the dictator himself, but rather his effect on the population.

It's 11 o'clock in the morning.  The German Historical Museum has been open for one hour.  Though the queue to get in keeps moving, it is nevertheless quite long.  The reason for this is the exhibition: "Hitler and the Germans.  The National Identity and Wrongdoing/Crime".  Since the start of the exhibition on Friday, more than 15,000 visitors have seen it.

The interest is great, and among all age groups.  After one hour, in a queue that already goes to several corners around the museum, young families with children, couples, and older people are waiting to bear witness to history.  Even 65 years after the end of the Second World War, Hitler and National Socialism obviously remain a subject that affects people. <...>

According to the museum, the exhibition is not just a striking display of the events of the Nazi period.  Nor is Hitler alone its main focus.  The exhibition deals much more with the dictator's effect on the population, and that is the subject which the visitor is meant to explore.  In this way, Germany society under National Socialism and its significance in Hitler's domination are also examined.  Hitler's ascent from an unremarkable character in younger years to an unscrupulous politician obsessed with power was made possible largely and even foremost through the population.

The Title Invites Questioning

This is precisely what Rudolf Trabold, spokesperson of the German Historical Museum, sees as another key factor of the exhibition's success so far.  "The name of the program was selected quite consciously.  Each person must feel personally spoken to.  After all, each of us contributes to the "national identity [i.e. People's Community]".  Back then just as today.  The significance of that period's political-social conditions is extensively highlighted. The mobilization of social fears and hopes, which was so decisive for Hitler's party and his power political goals, is a central theme. ...


In fünf Tagen sind bereits 15.000 Menschen ins Deutsche Historische Museum gekommen. Der Diktator selbst spielt bei den Besuchern nicht die tragende Rolle - vielmehr ist es seine Wirkung auf die Bevölkerung.

Es ist elf Uhr am Vormittag. Das Deutsche Historische Museum hat seit einer Stunde geöffnet. Zwar geht es merklich voran, die Schlange der auf Einlass Wartenden ist aber trotzdem schon lang. Der Grund dafür ist die Ausstellung: ,,Hitler und die Deutschen. Volksgemeinschaft und Verbrechen". Seit Ausstellungsbeginn am vergangenen Freitag haben sie schon mehr als 15.000 Besucher gesehen.

Das Interesse ist groß und das in allen Altersklassen. In der Warteschlange, die schon nach einer Stunde um mehrere Ecken des Museums reicht, stehen Jugendliche, Familien mit Kindern, erwachsene Paare und ältere Menschen, die durchaus Zeitzeugen sein könnten. Auch 65 Jahre nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs bleiben Hitler und der Nationalsozialismus offensichtlich ein Thema, das die Menschen bewegt. <...>

Nach Angaben des Museums bildet die Ausstellung nicht einfach plakativ die Geschehnisse der Nazizeit ab. Auch ist es nicht Hitler alleine, der die tragende Rolle in der Ausstellung spielt. Vielmehr geht es um die Wirkung des Diktators auf die Bevölkerung, die der Besucher erforschen soll. Und dabei wird auch die deutsche Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus und ihre Bedeutung für die Herrschaft Hitlers untersucht. Der Aufstieg Hitlers - in seinen jungen Jahren eine unscheinbare Persönlichkeit - zu einem skrupellosen, besessenen Machtpolitiker ist zu großen Teilen auch erst durch die Bevölkerung ermöglicht worden.

Titel macht neugierig

Genau darin sieht Rudolf Trabold, Pressereferent des Deutschen Historischen Museums, auch einen der Schlüsselfaktoren für den bisherigen Erfolg der Ausstellung. ,,Der Name ist Programm und bewusst so gewählt. Jeder soll sich angesprochen fühlen. Schließlich sind wir alle Teil der Volksgemeinschaft. Damals wie heute." Die Bedeutung der politisch-gesellschaftlichen Umstände der damaligen Zeit wird ausführlich beleuchtet. Die Mobilisierung sozialer Ängste und Hoffnungen durch Hitler, die für seine partei- und machtpolitischen Ziele entscheidend war, sind ein zentrales Thema. ...

Point n'est besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre, ni de réussir pour persévérer. - Charles le Téméraire
by marco on Wed Oct 20th, 2010 at 07:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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