Democracy hypocrisy.

I live in a hypocrisy. I used to live in a democracy but to all realistic standards my country of birth cannot be declared a democracy in the true sense of the word. The reason being that in a true democracy (the old Greek model and not the all to common US model) a democracy is a state form where the majority of the representatives of the people in some sort of parliament decide on the countries policy with keeping the interest of and respect for the minorities alive. And that is what is not the case in my country. Unfortunately.

Over the past week the minority government in the Netherlands has been negotiating amongst themselves and with their supporting partner about the ways to fight the economical crisis in the country. And although little or none is leaked from the negotiating table the negotitations seem to be the most selfish negotiations any Dutch government has done for deciding on future policies in decennia. And everyone is playing smart. The now right wing governed media is focussing extensively on who is to become the next ‘opposition leader’, that opposition is focussing on their own party politics of course and as a result of that the media is not covering the government negotiations to an acceptable level. The press is silenced by their own morale of preventing to be leftish as leftish is out of fashion in the increasing inward looking society.

So negotiations at the table are going in an undisturbed manner. Of course there are protests in the country. Public transport, teachers, students, social workers, health workers, artists and many other groups that are touched by the strict financial policy of the current government have protested and some of them still do. But after the protest day is over, the issue is passed too. Society simply is not interested. When asked on the streets and elsewhere people are most willing to make immigration laws even stricter and limiting development aid funds even further. In the meanwhile the government is sending homosexuals back to countries where they are harrased and killed because they are not allowed asylum in the Netherlands. In the meanwhile the spending on international development aid is at its lowest in decennia and at the minimum internationally agreed level of 0.7% of the GNP. According to ‘the man in the street’ the immigration rules are still not strict enough and the first area of budget cuts people name is development aid.

This country has become selfish. While globally hunger and economic challenges are pushed on third world countries in an extreme manner because the simple fact that the west still has much of the global wealth in its hands and the rich always win, the people in my country are focussed on their own wallets, their old age pension security, their ability to buy that big flat screen so they can watch increasingly idiotic tv programs and their fear for immigrants.

Thanks to right wing politicians with distorted minds the country has become xenophobic. The Bush administration some time ago was successful in convincing most of the western governments of the threats from the middle east and countries like Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result my country of non US criticizing governments followed the US in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and even the ‘left wing’ politicians supported that. It is obvious to any human being that those decisions were wrong. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are now destroyed countries, the number of civilians victimized by western wars is enormous and the human rights violations from US, UK and no doubt Dutch troups will only be uncovered more and more in the coming years. All for the good of fear for Islam. That same islamophobic attitude translates in attacks on Muslims. Mostly verbally but like in Belgium yesterday attacks on mosques are to be expected. Because society has turned xenophobic and that always leads to violence in the end. As history has proven. The Netherlands have been unable to escape from the US sourced fatalistic xenophobia.

The combination of economic selfishness and xenophobia is poisoness. It is also the very basis of the negotiations that the goverment leaders are having in a closed setting just a few kilometers from my home. The measures and decisions from those meeting are feared by me and people like me. Because slowly I see my own country becoming unattractive, scared and threatening to the weak in it’s society. My country is turning from a democracy to a hypocrisy. A travesty of western civilization that is ruled by a government that does not care about it’s people, a government that is harsh, selfish and xenophobic. A government that is slowly killing what is left of our own civilization and what is left of what our parents have worked and fought for: a social state.

The anti socials and the anti democrats seem to have won in this country and the people don’t care about it. We suffer under a minority government that is only able to govern because it is allowed to do so by a flat out xenophobic political party giving them a majority of exactly 1 seat in parliament. And with that majority vote they disregard the interest of the real majority in the country in a manner that is by all means undemocratic. The political opposition is fighting amongst themselves for the political centric position, the place where traditionally the most votes are held and abondoning progressive politics although their words are quite different. The media is recoded to right wing supporting media with a populistic voice. And many of my fellow countrymen love that. Because populism always is greeted with pleasure, no matter if that populism is in fact pushing down others. The prime minister of my country did not set himself at a political distance from a website that is flatout discriminating and was created by his right wing populistic government partner. Because he need that partner to stay in the governing seat. That is how true hypocracy looks like.

So, my country is not a democratic country anymore, it’s a hypocrisy. A country on a moral downward slope heading for the new dark ages of selfishness, xenophobia and in the end violence. I can only hope that the people will recognize the manipulation before it is too late. The Christian Democrats in the government cabinet have already proven to have lost all sense of their own values and the liberals in that cabinet have proven to be more interested in limiting liberalism than in expanding it. I am unfortunately not hopeful for a turn for the better. I am no longer regarding myself as Dutch because that stands for unlimited hypocrisy, I do no longer want to be part of this, I do no longer want to live in a country like this.

Alice © 2012


How ‘Green Left’ sold it’s soul.

Green Left‘ is in the Netherlands the name for a political party that focusses on environmental issues, human rights and honest and social politics. It’s a traditional merger party of leftish political parties who on their own were too small to be significant in Dutch politics.

I like the ideas of that party.

But sometime ago, after years of growth and with a strong and relatively popular political leader (Femke Halsema), things changed. It all started when after the fall of the previous cabinet the party seemed unable to join into a coalition government to at last take government responsibility. Not much later the poitical leader retreated and a new leader was chosen. Jolanda Sap, trained by her predecessor, stepped into the politcal arena. And fell flat on her face quickly.

Three topics made her break down: the continuous upheavel of that strange right wing fascist like party PVV that somehow became stronger and stronger and even got government responsibility as a cabinet ‘supporting’ party, thereby making a minority central/right wing coalition possible. Sap and her party still haven’t found a good answer to that disaster. And the second thing is that it is impossible to buy popularity by using populistic approaches if you’re not build for it. An overacted scene in the parliament made Sap look like a juvenile fool playing out a misplaced and bad acted plug pulling metaphore.

But mayde the most difficult topic was the half hearted support of an armed mission to train police forces in the province of Kunduz in Afghanistan. After all, the Green Left is by all means and purposes an anti militaristic party. If not in policy than at least in it’s membership demography. But political forwardness forced the party in an uneasy support of that policing mission that the Dutch government wanted to see (in support of the US effort on getting control of the Afghan and Iraq crises). The Green Left in 2011 supported a militaristic armed mission in Afghanistan although a lot of their followers are appaled by that.

Today the party committed political suicide.

At the party’s congress today that same Kunduz mission was scrutinized and in the end a vote was taken on prelonging that mission. And although many party members were against it, the elected parliamentarians were in favor of it. For political reasons. And they won, after debates the party members at the congress meeting supported their parliamentarians in their choice not to demand the government to bail out of that supposed to be non violent, non fighting policing mission. Because doing otherwise mide split the party. But in reality that split is already there and some important party members have already left for better grounds.

And the party’s credibility flew right out of the window. It sold it’s soul to the devil (last year), but the devil came back for more so it just did it again. And so, Green Left in the Netherlands is in reality nothing else than a government supporting week opposition party without a backbone. Sometimes straight forward politics is more difficult in the Dutch parliament than in the European Parliament or so it seems.

Alice © 2012