Europe seems to be going through a interesting (read: dangerous) phase of identity exploration (yet again) and there has been a notable increase in the popularity of identity politics. As is often the case in today’s world, Muslims are usually the victim, often being questioned about their loyalty, religious beliefs, past-times, etc in order to decide whether they are European enough or not – of course, in the end, they never are and probably will never be.
I came across a disturbing ad campaign for a Swiss referendum that will take place next week. The referendum is about deporting “immigrants” who have committed crimes. These “immigrants” can be Swiss nationals, if I’m not mistaken. The ad campaign:
A Right-wing political party in Switzerland has produced a provocative anti-immigration campaign in which a photograph of naked young models wading into Lake Zurich is contrasted with an image of headscarf-wearing Muslim women bathing in filthy water.
You can see the article here.
It was also in Switzerland where last year, a very controversial advert was used during elections:
We often hear how backwards the “developing” world is. We’re violent, small-minded, superstitious, lazy – and the list goes on. I’d like to shift the focus a little. So-called “developed” countries are apparently in the midst of an identity crisis (the last one that was 50 years ago didn’t end so well). Here in the Netherlands there is apparently a “Muslim problem.” Politicians like Wilders, who has nothing except his anti-Islam rhetoric, are being elected and taken seriously (the hair on its own should have made people think twice). He calls himself a freedom fighter, a grave insult to the likes of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Whose freedom is he fighting for? The freedom for white Dutch people to live in a pure white country? What about the freedom of Dutch Muslims?
What do you guys think about the rise of the right in Europe? Europe – the continent constantly praised for its democracy, welfare, equality and all of that. Apparently those things don’t apply to everyone. If you wear a headscarf – too bad. If you’re a Roma – too bad. If you were once a Dutch colonial subject and your country was put through hell for the benefit of the Dutch and you think that now you might get something back – too bad.
I’m starting to question the idea that we will never see something like the Nazis again. I don’t think we will see a Holocaust in Europe of that magnitude again. But the ideas and rhetoric that brought Hitler to power are definitely back, with a new target. And what’s worrying is that more & more people are beginning to admit this.