Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

PEGIDA – Patriotic Europeans against Islamisation of the West

A small movement from the German city of Dresden (formerly in communist DDR) has been able to leverage its anti Islam sentiments towards a national level.

Yesterday a Dutch TV reporter made a reference to Pim Fortuyn (1948-2002), the assassinated populist political leader and potential PM, who very well understood the vibes amongst the Dutch voters. Pim Fortuyn has caused a major shift in Dutch politics as mainstream political parties finally had to accept the demands of its voters as losing power was not an alternative. The same is bound to happen in other major European countries like France, Germany and UK. They never learned from what happened in The Netherlands some 15 years ago. They must have seen it as a typical Dutch issue. Well, it is not.

In my view, it is not Islam in general which is driving this movement but it is ISIL, the ugly face of Islam, that is driving this. ISIL has been a wake up call for all of us. As few – Western – people see the difference between ISIL and Islam, it makes sense that these protests are directed against Islam in general. The limited and timid Islamic protests against ISIL do no help.

The current situation in Turkey does not help either. This formerly secular country has applied for EU membership in 1987. The rise to power of Erdogan’s Islamic party has caused a major controversy about whether Turkey actually fits in the European culture which is largely of a Christian nature. In my opinion, Erdogan is behaving more and more like Putin: erratic, paranoid, and eliminating any opposition of any nature.

In my view, there is nothing wrong with defending your freedom (e.g., expression, religion, speech). The only issue may be that the PEGIDA cause is ambiguous.

In my view, time is pressing for Europe to clearly express its core values. These values include full secularity, Christianity as main religion, a clear tolerance for other religions, and a clear compassion for (genuine non economic) refugees. In that view, Turkey’s application for EU membership should be denied at least until Turkey’s secularity is restored.

Voters have the right to know where their leaders stand. Now they vote with their feet but soon they will vote others to power. Germany has seen this before. Main stream political parties should not ignore voter sentiments. It is a recipe for disaster. Ignoring voter sentiments implies that you treat voters as ignorant people. They are not. A democracy is built on voters whether right or wrong. However, they do sometimes elect the wrong people as their leaders albeit with hindsight.

Remarkably, it was even politics that created the following famous saying:

If you can’t beat them, join them.

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