Originally Posted by IamJen
Because they're promoting violence, or just to calm things down?
Supposedly to stop the spread of that form of 'radical islam' that teaches young people to go out and commit acts of terrorism.
Finlay, I'm curious about your description of long-held tensions. Do you mean long-held as in years?
During the seventies, loads of immigrant workers came to this country to do jobs that the Dutch wouldn't do themselves. These were Greeks, Italians, Spanish, Turks, and Maroccans, mostly. The former three groups largely returned to their country of origin after those countries underwent a rapid economic development. There was also an influx of people from the (former) colonies (Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles, Indonesia). Ever since they arrived in large numbers, I guess there have been those xenophobic elements of society that'd rather see them leave than come. This was strengthened by the perception that these people were unwilling to learn Dutch and to mingle in Dutch society at large. Anyway, until, let's say, the year 2000, this was all a largely marginal development.
Fast-forward to the rise of Pim Fortuyn and another big news-event in 2001. Pim Fortuyn managed to make electoral gains out of these developments, calling for a stop of immigration and a more proactive assimilation policy. His unrelenting critisism of the previous coalition government and its immigration without presenting any serious policy alternatives also won him a lot of votes. Eventually, he did publish a book called 'the rubble of eight years Purple' (purple being the mixture of blue (VVD 'liberals' and PvdA 'labour'). This was a scary time in Dutch politics and I've claimed to want to leave the country a lot (I do this on a weekly basis, though
). Fortuyn was, unfortunately, murdered before he got his shot at being prime minister. This precipitated a backlash against the 'established order'. Fortuyn's party ended up being the second party, second only to the reanimated CDA (Christian Democrats). The parties could not ignore such a rise and formed a government with the LPF (Fortuyn's party). This government crashed and burned in an amazingly short time.
Under the new (current) government, I guess the people that voted Fortuyn's party into power in 2002 felt that they had lost their voice and spokesman. I daresay that this discontentment has something to do with the current spiral of violence (although I hope I'm wrong and it's just some fringe loonies). Fortuyn's electorate largely consisted of the poor that were apathetic towards the ''Hague-ish'' politics.
Part of the reason this has caught my attention is that it seems very against the grain of the (possibly stereotypical?) temperament of the Netherlands as a whole. One of my friends spent several years in Amsterdam when he was younger and he too, is surprised. The stories get a lot of play here also, due to having a large Dutch community in the area.
That's what many people are thinking, actually, ('what, we were a tolerant country, weren't we?'). Perhaps the Dutch aught to lose the 'holier than thou' attitude that comes with the package. Anyway, Mr. Balkenende (the PM) has already characterized the situation as 'un-Dutch'. If the temperament mentioned is stereotypical, then it is a stereotype which is widely held over here too.