Anders Breivik, the person responsible for the tragedies in Oslo and Utoya has proclaimed himself to be inspired by Geert Wilders and the PVV. And right on cue a lot of people from the left-wing have embraced this opportunity to attack and condemn Wilders. They hold him responsible for the deeds of Breivik. You could almost feel the collective sigh of relief they are breathing that for once the terrorist is not coming from the Islamic corner. They finally feel justified and vindicated in their opinions. See? You could almost hear them say in a smug and triumphant tone. See the hatred that Wilders breeds with his rhetoric and ideology? We were right all along! But this is nonsense, pure and simple. It is primitive and sickening. Geert Wilders is not responsible for Anders Breivik’s deeds. Anders Breivik is responsible for Anders Breivik’s deeds.
Look, I’m a left-winger myself, even though I don’t really care that much about politics. I vote for Groenlinks or the SP. I believe in multi-culturalism because I believe the world as a whole is a better, richer and more tolerant place precisely because of it. I believe the world would become an even more dangerous place if every one of us just isolates ourselves from other people and cultures. So when I say that Wilders is not responsible, I am not in any way attempting to justify his views.
The events of the past few days should have been an eye-opener for the whole world. Extremism has no place in this world, whether it comes from the left or the right, from the top or bottom down and from any other way we may view it. The intentions and consequences in any case are just as horrific and reprehensible. What should have brought us closer together has instead drifted us further apart. The left wing blames the right wing for what happened, and the right wing sees this as proof that the left wing only acts out of self-interest and self-preservation. And of course, they won’t hesitate to remind the rest of us that Breivik was also an admirer of Al-Qaeda’s methods…
So go ahead and criticize and protest against Wilder’s viewpoints if you want. It is our duty as democratic citizens to stand up for our own beliefs after all. But please, do not demonize or stigmatize the man. What we should have learnt by now is that stigmatization merely breeds more stigmatization with more hatred and anger being the inevitable result. We who are so ready to criticize Wilders because of his tendency for labeling entire cultural and religious groups with a single tag should not fall into the same trap, but should instead keep striving for open discussion with mutual respect, and not the mud-slinging we have become so used to in the previous years.
For further reading (in Dutch), here are some articles which in my opinion were better able to convey what I want to say that I were able to myself: