Sunday, 25 September 2011

Anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has admirers in the Arab World. This is borne out by responses on Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s Arabic Facebook site. The issue is whether Mr Wilders’ recent rudeness in the Dutch parliament is acceptable.

“I’m a fan of Wilders”. And, “Wilders has backed a winning horse, while others refuse to accept reality”. These are a few responses from the Arab World.

Don’t be insulting
There are of course other views coming from the Middle East: “If everyone throughout the world behaves like this, what will happen then?” asks a worried Bakani Mustafa from Casablanca in Morocco. “Of course it is not acceptable to insult anyone. I do hope Wilders will change his way of expressing himself. A politician can not be rude!!” writes Leila Natour-Ayoub from Lebanon.

Wake up
Mr Wilders courted controversy in parliament over the last few days by, among other things, calling opposition leader Job Cohen the lapdog of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. He described a lengthy question from another politician as “diarrhoea”. We asked visitors to RNW’s Facebook sites in different languages whether members of parliament should be allowed to use the language of the street – and of many voters?

“Yes,” writes Braam Rossouw from South Africa, “if a few shocking words are necessary to wake up the rest.” Victoria Larkin from the US has no doubts: “Sometimes you gotta call a dog a dog!”.

Clair Wilson reminds us that “calling a spade a spade” is a strong point of the Dutch. But, she does add that “being coarse does not show inner refinement”.

Within the Netherlands
The responses on RNW’s Indonesian Facebook page display a certain sensitivity. “Hurting the feelings of others, including those of your enemy, is crossing the border of decency”. And: “Don’t talk about morality if you yourself are not unsullied.”

A Spanish-language visitor points out that the commotion about Mr Wilders’ remarks is confined to within the Netherlands. He says these sorts of outbursts are evidently hushed up by the international media when they come from “extreme right-wing, racist and xenophobic figures like Mr Wilders”. It’s a different story when left-wing leaders like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa indulge in excesses: these are reported widely by the international press.


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