De Fabel van de illegaal 68, January/Februari 2005
Author: Gerrit de Wit
The extreme Right after the death of Van Gogh
The extreme Right tries to abuse the upheaval after the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. They organize demonstrations to inflame hatred against immigrants. But these actions are small and rather insignificant. The extreme Right attacks on mosques and Islamic schools, however, are causing much civil unrest. Now the extreme Right itself gets under fire.
On the evening of November 2, 2004, a few hours after the murder, the fascist Nationale Alliantie (NA, National Alliance) and the extreme Right Nieuwe Nationale Partij (NNP, New National Party) demonstrate in the centre of The Hague. Dozens of Right extremists gather. They are being awaited by a large number of police and riot police, who quickly end the demonstration. The police want to prevent riots similar to those in The Hague after the death of Right populist Pim Fortuyn in 2002. Some 35 Right extremists shout slogans like “Muslims are parasites”, “Sieg Heil” and “Own nation first” and they are subsequently arrested. The leaders of the NA and NNP manage to stay out of the hands of the police.
Afterwards, Olivier Oomen, the action leader of the NA, says the arrests do not make him shed any tears. “Most of the demonstrators didn’t even know who Theo van Gogh was and just went after the noise! Unfortunately, there are many kids like this in the movement! Years ago, I have already said to the media that this kind of person can actually only be used as stuffing on demonstrations or as cattle to hand out pamphlets”, Oomen said. Most of the arrested demonstrators are send home with a fine. On that same evening a couple of members of the chapter of the province of Brabant of the extreme Right party Nieuw Rechts (New Right) organize a meeting to remember Van Gogh. Party activist René van Gool gives a short speech.
What have you done to us, Theo!
On November 3, the “Platform voor de Vrijheid van Meningsuiting” (“Platform for the Freedom of Speech”) tries to make political use of the murder by organizing a manifestation in Amsterdam. This temporary platform consists of 18 ultra Right organizations and parties like Nieuw Rechts, the fortuynist minigroup Forza Nederland, Radio Pim Fortuyn and the Van Oldenbarnevelt think tank. Their manifestation only draws a couple of dozen sympathizers, who listen to speeches of Nieuw Rechts leader Michiel Smit and others. Remarkably, also Wim Vreeswijk is present. He used to be the leader of the extreme Right Nederlands Blok (named after the Flemish Vlaams Blok) and one of the leaders of the former extreme Right parties Centrumpartij and Centrum Democraten. A delegation of the Vlaams Blok also arrives.
The TV program Nova invited the writer Theodor Holman, a friend of Van Gogh, to also come to the protest. Right in front of the camera, he makes a complete fool out of Nieuw Rechts. He stretches his arms out to the sky and shouts: “What have you done to us, Theo! Do we have to discuss now with Nieuw Rechts?”. At the same time activists of the Anti-Fascistische Actie (AFA, Anti-Fascist Action) Amsterdam hand out pamphlets against the protest. According to them, “it is not amazing that these organizations demonstrate for the freedom of speech, because they usually just abuse this freedom to spread their racist ideas.”
Own nation first
On November 4, some 250 people gather in Haarlem to protest against the murder. About 30 Right extremists want a confrontation and call slogans like “Moroccans piss off” and “Own nation first”. The police act quickly and arrest one nazi. The rest of the group then leaves. The next day the NA again tries to demonstrate, this time in Rotterdam. Some 40 sympathizers turn up and shout slogans like “No jihad in our street”, “Thanks Theo!” and “Pim and Theo murdered, what remains of free speech?” The demonstration comes to an early end, because the police fears “trouble”. A number of speeches is cancelled.
In the afternoon of November 6, a couple of dozen people come to a remembrance meeting at the Dutch consulate in Flanders. Among them are several members of the extreme Right Vlaams Blok. The meeting is organized by the extreme Right committee “Verdediging van de democratie en het recht op vrije meningsuiting” (“Defense of democracy and free speech”). The committee is represented by Luc Vermeulen en D. Jansegers. Vermeulen is action leader of the extreme Right organization Voorpost. He also organizes the guards at manifestations of the Vlaams Blok. Jansegers is a member of the leadership of the fascist Vlaamse Jongeren Mechelen (Flamish Youth Mechelen). At the meeting the last column of Van Gogh was read aloud and flowers were put down.
Also on the internet the extreme Right pays attention to the murder and everything that happened afterwards. On the nazi forum Stormfront Netherlands and Flanders the attacks on mosques and Islamic schools are enthusiastically welcomed. A member of the Nederlandse Volks Unie (NVU, Dutch Nation Union) writes: “Hurray for driving all Muslims out! We’re paying them back, I would say.” Another nazi says: “Nice little bomb, I wonder what it was and how you can make one. Because I also know some little mosques.”
“These people who set fire to Islamic schools are very useful to the white movement”, it says on the forum of the NA. In the media the party is being connected to the bomb attack on an Islamic school in Eindhoven and now gets under fire itself. The NA therefore releases a press statement saying it has nothing to do with the attacks. However, the message is somewhat vague: “As far as we know, no members of the NA were involved in the attacks.” Their doubts are real. After the same school was set on fire on July 15, 2003, Maikel Kreuger from Eindhoven was convicted.(1) And he took part in an demonstration by the NA on August 20, 2004, against a local asylum seekers centre.
On the forum of Nieuw Rechts participants also write that they hate “those dirty stinking Muslims”. They should all be deported. The attacks are often hailed or justified. “The terror Muslims have committed in Holland for years, causes this kind of action. The Muslims had it coming to them.” And: “To solve a problem it sometimes helps to let it run out of hand. Maybe some oil on the fire is a good idea.” On the many fortuynist forums the reactions to the attacks are also mostly positive.
The NVU also writes on it’s website about the murder and the attacks. According to this party the attacks are the result “of the total failure of the integration and immigration policies of recent governments”. The nazi website Revolutionary White Hand (RWH), which argues that the Jews are the most important problem, writes that “hearing of the attacks gives us great pleasure”, because “they allow people to practice”. But according to RWH the activists had better attack Jewish synagogues and the houses of cops, media and politicians. “Do not draw a war onto your people by rejecting all of Islam. In the near future we will work together with Arian Muslims against the Jews.” On the website of the fascist Nationale Beweging (National Movement) one can hear a completely different sound. There, it is said that the attacks “could stop the necessary discussion on Islam and the multicultural nightmare”. Because “who listens to arsonists?”, the author says frustrated.