On 'non-racist' racist politicians in Holland and Catalonia


On the 10th of June last, the highly coiffed Dutch politician Geert Wilders – leader of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV: the 'Freedom Party') - doubled his votes in the national elections, and may well become a minister in a future coalition government. This wouldn't be a problem, if Wilders hadn't spent the last few years advocating the banning of the Koran in Holland. Like many of his political ilk in Europe, he denies he is a racist and claims his beef with the North Africans is a purely religious matter. A quick scratching of his surface reveals this to be disingenuous. To begin with, his op-ed pieces in the Dutch press reveal he hasn't heard of the Hadiths, the narrative spin-offs from the Koran, so essential to Muslim belief they would presumably have to be banned as well. In other words, he knows next to nothing about the religion he wants to eliminate. Moreover, Wilders avoids mention of the 2.6% of the Dutch population made up of Indonesians, many of them Muslims - whom the Dutch consider as Dutch as they are - and concentrates on the less popular 2% who come from Morocco. In short, he is playing the old racist card, but face down. If we've gone on so long about Wilders, it's because he has an exact equivalent here in Catalonia: Josep Anglada, the founder of the Plataforma x Catalunya party. As with the PVV, 'PxC' is a misnomer: Anglada cares as much about Catalonia as Wilders does about Freedom (for example, the PxC is opposed to the ongoing local opinion polls on Catalan independence). Like Wilders, Anglada has made the Moroccan community his first whipping boy, also on supposedly religious grounds alone. Again like Wilders, his party is expanding fast, as I found out when I started touring Catalonia to promote my latest book, which happens to be an essay on racism: in town after town, I was told that Anglada would soon be campaigning there. Surveys show he stands a fair chance of getting into parliament in the next Catalan elections. Once there, having got stuck in to the Moroccans, he'll then doubtless turn on the Africans and any other 'racial' group that gets his goat. Something tells me, though, that us EU expats - as white as Anglada thinks himself right - will be spared his slurs. Have a great summer!

- Textos i contingut: Matthew Tree - Disseny i programació: Nac -