Geert Wilders - Terrorism’s Best Friend
Geert Wilders is a friend and beneficiary of terrorism.
Terrorism is a political act which aims to sow fear among the target population through violence and propaganda. The aim of this act is to force political change. In todayâs world of fast paced social media, one of terrorismâs strengths lies in the fact that political agendas can be affected quickly. Terrorism is also the methodology of the weak. If an idea or a cause actually had substantive factual support or strength, it would not need to resort to the language and tactics of violence to gain attention for its narrative or message.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch “Freedom Party” or PVV, is a dream come true for the purveyors of terrorist ideologies in Europe, and especially in the Netherlands. He is the near perfect embodiment of the political overreaction that terrorism requires in order to sustain its strength and advance its momentum. Without such an over-reactive force, the ideology of terrorism cannot gain the influence it wants. Wilders is, in essence, using his own radical ideas to plug an amplifier into the propaganda of terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or the locally grown âHofstad Group.â
In order to support his work, Mr Wilders needs the ideology and narrative of terrorism because the absence of such a narrative would render his rhetoric irrelevant. Therefore, he continues to divide the Dutch population with the narrative that generates nothing constructive but a sense of fear and hate, in order to gain further support for his own dogmatic principles.
Aside from using actual explosives, Mr Wilders employs the same basic methodologies that are used by terrorist groups. This is, unfortunately, an increasingly common practice among politicians in many countries who wish to use fear as a road to power. He uses the method of lashing out at individuals and groups while using the language of violence and fear. He then moves quickly to the next attack without trying to justify or defend the previous offensive. Like a terrorist, he knows that the idea of trying to defend the indefensible cannot work. This is most likely the reasoning behind Mr. Wilders refusal to take up a seat in the European Union Parliament which his party won in June 2009. If he were to have to sit still long enough to defend his ideas and positions, Mr. Wilders would be subjected to attacks which he might find difficult to counter.
Perhaps, Mr. Wilders will also encounter the same problems in defending his rhetoric as Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri of al Qaeda. Dr. Zawahiri tried to defend al Qaedaâs actions by creating an online âquestion and answerâ forum. It was designed in a way that individuals were able to pose questions to al Qaedaâs number two leader to which he would later respond. It turned out that Zawahiri was so viciously attacked by other Muslims over his policies, especially those that encouraged murder of innocent people, that he dropped the online forum and never attempted such open discussion again.
The irony of Mr Wilderâs position is that he does discuss some serious issues. Immigration and integration concerns need to be addressed, especially as they relate to economic and nationalist issues. But attempting to create a wave of fear through overreactions will not produce useful responses. Mr Wilderâs tactics may bring him closer to power, but only at the cost of further hate and fear in the Netherlands. The main benefactors of his political campaign will be those individuals who are attempting to force political change through targeted violence â the terrorists.
The opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the views of either Global Brief or the Glendon School of Public and International Affairs.