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Pim Fortuyn

Pim Fortuyn May 4, 2002
Born Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn
February 19, 1948(1948-02-19)
Driehuis, Netherlands
Died May 6, 2002 (aged 54)
Hilversum, Netherlands
Cause of death Assassinated
Alma mater Vrije Universiteit
University of Groningen
Occupation Politician, Author, Columnist, Public Servant, Sociologist, Professor
Known for Assassination during Dutch Election of 2002
Title Doctor of Philosophy
Political party PvdA (1974-1989)
VVD (around mid 90's)
LN (2001-2002)
LPF (2002)
Religion Roman Catholic
Website
www.pimfortuyn.com
www.pim-fortuyn.nl

Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpɪm fɔrˈtœyn]; February 19, 1948 – May 6, 2002) was a Dutch politician, author, public servant, sociologist and professor who formed his own party, Pim Fortuyn List (Lijst Pim Fortuyn or LPF).[1]

Fortuyn was the centre of several controversies for his views about immigrants and Islam. He called Islam "a backward culture" and said that if it were legally possible he would close the borders for Muslim immigrants.[2] He was labelled a far-right populist by his opponents and in the media, but he fiercely rejected this label[3] and explicitly distanced himself from far-right politicians such as the Belgian Filip Dewinter, the Austrian Jörg Haider, or Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Pen whenever compared to them. While Fortuyn compared his own politics to centre-right politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, he also admired former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl, a socialist. Fortuyn however repeatedly described himself and LPF's ideology as pragmatism and not populism.[4] Fortuyn was openly gay.

Fortuyn was assassinated during the 2002 Dutch national election campaign by Volkert van der Graaf, who claimed in court he had murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" in seeking political power.[5][6][7]

Contents

Biography

Early life

Fortuyn was born on 19 February 1948 in Driehuis, as the third child to a Catholic family. In 1967 he began to study sociology at the University of Amsterdam but transferred after a few months to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. In 1971 he ended his study with the Academic degree Doctorandus. He later worked as a lecturer at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit and as an associate professor at the University of Groningen.

In 1981 he received a doctorate in sociology at the University of Groningen as a Doctor of Philosophy. In 1989 he became director of a government organisation administering student transport cards. In 1990 he moved to Rotterdam and from 1991 to 1995, he was an extraordinary professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, appointed to the Albeda-chair in 'employment conditions in public service'. When his contract was discontinued, he made a career of public speaking and writing books and press columns, gradually becoming involved in politics.

Fortuyn was openly homosexual, and in an interview in 2002 described himself as a Catholic.[8]

Political career

In 1992 Fortuyn wrote "Aan het volk van Nederland" (To the people of the Netherlands) and declared himself as the successor of the charismatic but controversial Dutch politician Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol.

A one-time communist and former member of the social-democratic Dutch Labour Party, on 26 November 2001 he was elected by a large majority as "lijsttrekker" of the newly formed Livable Netherlands party to participate in the Dutch general election of 2002

Fortuyn's house in Rotterdam where he lived from 1998 until his death

On 9 February 2002, he was interviewed by the Volkskrant, a Dutch newspaper (see below). The statements he made were considered so controversial that he was dismissed as lijsttrekker the next day. In the interview Fortuyn said, among other things, that he favoured putting an end to Muslim immigration, if that were possible. Having been rejected by Livable Netherlands, Fortuyn founded his own party LPF (Pim Fortuyn List) on 11 February 2002. Many Livable Netherlands supporters transferred their support to the new party.

As lijsttrekker for the Livable Rotterdam party, a local issues party, he achieved a major victory in the Rotterdam district council elections in early March 2002. The new party won about 36% of the seats, making it the largest party in the council. For the first time since the Second World War, the Dutch Labour Party found itself out of power in Rotterdam.

For the next three months Fortuyn gave hundreds of Interviews and statements about his political ideology and ideas. In March he released his book "The Mess of Eight Purple Years" (Puinhopen Van Acht Jaar Paars) which he used as his political agenda for the upcoming general election.

Assassination

On 6 May 2002, at age 54, Fortuyn was assassinated in Hilversum, North Holland by Volkert van der Graaf. The attack took place in a parking lot outside a radio studio in Hilversum, where Fortuyn had just given an interview. This was nine days before the general election, for which he was running. The attacker was pursued by Hans Smolders, Fortuyn's driver, and was arrested by the police shortly afterwards, still in possession of a gun.[9]

Months later, Volkert van der Graaf confessed in court to the Netherlands' first modern age political assassination (excluding WW II events). Van der Graaf was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The assassination shocked many inhabitants of the Netherlands and made the cultural clashes within the country apparent. Politicians from all political parties suspended campaigning. After consultation with LPF, it was decided not to postpone the elections. However, under Dutch law, it was not possible to modify the ballots, so Fortuyn became a posthumous candidate. The LPF went on to win an unprecedented debut in the House of Representatives, winning 26 seats (17% of the 150 seats in the house). However, after the elections the following year, this figure dropped to eight seats, and after the 2006 elections the party had no seats left in the parliament.

During the last months of his life, Fortuyn had become closer to the Catholic Church of his youth. To the surprise of many commentators and Dutch tv hosts, Fortuyn insisted on Fr. Louis Berger, a parish priest from The Hague, accompanying him in some of his last tv appearances. According to the New York Times, Berger had become his "friend and confessor" during the last weeks of his life.[10]

Fortuyn was initially buried in Driehuis in the Netherlands. He was re-interred on 20 July 2002, at San Giorgio della Richinvelda, in the province of Pordenone in Italy, where he had owned a house.

Views on Islam and immigration

In August 2001, Fortuyn was quoted in the Rotterdams Dagblad newspaper, saying, among other things, "I am also in favour of a cold war with Islam. I see Islam as an extraordinary threat, as a hostile religion."[11] In the TV program Business class Fortuyn said that Muslims in Netherlands did not accept Dutch society. Fortuyn appeared several times in the TV program Business class, moderated by his friend Harry Mens. In this program it has been suggested that his words were interpreted rather harshly, if not wrongly. For instance, he said that Muslims in the Netherlands needed to accept living together with the Dutch, and that if this was unacceptable for them, then they were free to leave. His concluding words in the TV program were [...]I want to live together with the Muslim people, but it takes two to tango.[...]

After his death a statue was placed at his home in Rotterdam

On 9 February 2002, he made further controversial statements in a Dutch newspaper, this time the Volkskrant.[2] He said that the Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, had enough inhabitants, and therefore, the practice of allowing as many as 40,000 asylum-seekers into the country each year had to be stopped (however, the actual number was not that high and already falling at that time[12]). He claimed that if he became part of the next government, he would pursue a restrictive immigration policy while also granting citizenship to a large group of illegal immigrants.

Remarkably, he said that he did not intend to "unload our Moroccan hooligans" onto the Moroccan King Hassan. [13] Hasan had died three years earlier.[14] Furthermore, he considered Article 7 of the constitution, which asserts freedom of speech, of more importance than Article 1, which forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, life principles, political inclination, race, or sexual preference. However, he distanced himself from Hans Janmaat of the Centrum Democraten, who in the 1980s wanted to remove all foreigners from the country and was repeatedly convicted for discrimination and hate speech.

Fortuyn proposed that all people who already resided in the Netherlands would be able to stay, but he emphasized the need of the immigrants to adopt the Dutch society's consensus on human rights as their own. He said "If it were legally possible, I'd say no more Muslims will get in here", claiming that the influx of Muslims would threaten freedoms in the liberal Dutch society. He thought Muslim culture had never undergone a process of modernisation and therefore still lacked acceptance of democracy and women's, gays', lesbians' and minorities' rights, and feared it would dismiss the Dutch legal system in favour of the shari'a law.

One of Fortuyn's fears was of pervasive intolerance in the Muslim community. In a televised debate in 2002, "Fortuyn baited the Muslim cleric by flaunting his homosexuality. Finally the imam exploded, denouncing Fortuyn in strongly anti-homosexual terms. Fortuyn calmly turned to the camera and, addressing viewers directly, told them that this is the kind of Trojan horse of intolerance the Dutch are inviting into their society in the name of multiculturalism."[15]

When asked by the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant whether he hated Islam, he replied:

I don't hate Islam. I consider it a backward culture. I have travelled much in the world. And wherever Islam rules, it's just terrible. All the hypocrisy. It's a bit like those old reformed protestants. The Reformed lie all the time. And why is that? Because they have standards and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them. You also see that in that Muslim culture. Then look at the Netherlands. In what country could an electoral leader of such a large movement as mine be openly homosexual? How wonderful that that's possible. That's something that one can be proud of. And I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much.[16]

Fortuyn wrote the book Against the Islamization of Our Culture (in Dutch).[17]

Other views

Pim Fortuyn claimed to be neither right wing nor left wing, asked for more openness in politics, and expressed his distaste for what he called "subsidy socialism".[citation needed] He furthermore criticised the media as a "Siamese twin" of the government.[citation needed]

He wanted smaller-scale organization of public services such as health, education, and the police, making extensive use of the possibilities of information technology (for example, a surgeon conducting an operation remotely at a local hospital).[citation needed] Critics said his plans would require building hundreds or thousands of new institutions at enormous expense, but Fortuyn said no extra funds would be allocated until inefficiencies had been removed.

He also held liberal views, favouring the drug policy of the Netherlands, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and related positions.[18]

He wanted to merge the army and air force to save money, retaining only a separate navy, but also favoured re-instating compulsory military service, giving youngsters the choice between military service and a new form of public service (in which they would help in hospitals or retirement homes, for example). It is often said that he wanted to disband the army and the air force; however, Fortuyn denied this on 24 March 2002 in a business TV programme.[citation needed]

Legacy

Pim Fortuyn monument in Rotterdam

Fortuyn can be credited with changing the Dutch political landscape and political culture[19]. The 2002 elections, only weeks after Fortuyn's death, were marked by large losses for the liberal VVD and especially the social democratic PvdA (whose parliamentary group was halved in size); both parties replaced their leaders shortly after their losses. The election winners were the Pim Fortuyn List, and the Christian democratic CDA. On the other hand, others speculate that Fortuyn's perceived martyrdom may have played into the hands of the LPF.

The immigration policy of the Netherlands is now one of the strictest in the EU.[citation needed] However, while some applaud these developments as a release from political correctness, others have objected to what they feel is a harsher political and social climate, especially towards immigrants and Muslims.[20]

Contemporary Dutch politics is more polarized than it has been in recent years, especially on the issues that Fortuyn was best known for. There is a deep division on whether to consider the multicultural society a failure, and if so to what extent assimilation by newcomers is needed. The decision by the government to expel a large number of asylum seekers whose application had failed[21] was controversial. Incidentally, Fortuyn advocated an amnesty for asylum seekers already residing in the Netherlands.

The coalition cabinet of CDA, LPF and VVD fell within three months, due to infighting within the LPF. In the following elections the LPF was diminished to only 8 seats in parliament (out of 150) and was not included in the new government; however, political commentators speculated that there was still a sizeable number of discontented voters who might vote for a non-traditional party, if a viable alternative was at hand. In recent times the right-wing Party for Freedom, which has a strong stance on immigration and integration, has won 9 (out of 150) seats in the 2006 elections.

In 2004, in a TV show, Fortuyn was chosen as De Grootste Nederlander ("Greatest Dutchman of all-time"[22]), followed closely by William of Orange, the leader of the independence war that established the precursor to the present-day Netherlands. However, the election was widely regarded as not being representative as it was held through the internet and by phoning in, and so easily hijacked and possibly influenced by Fortuyn’s supporters, who had his violent death still fresh on their minds.

Also, the murder of the controversial film director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim for comments critical of Islam had occurred a few days before the election and undoubtedly moved many voters to bring Fortuyn higher in the ranking. It later turned out that William of Orange had in fact received more votes before the closing of the vote, but that many of these could not be counted until after the official closing time of the television show (and the proclamation of the winner), due to technical problems. The official rules of the show outlined that votes counted before the end of the show would be decisive, although it was communicated that all votes correctly cast before the closing of the vote would be counted. Following the official rules, the outcome was not changed.[23]

Parking lot in Hilversum where Fortuyn was assassinated

Fortuyn's political career and popularity may point to a shift in the opinion the Dutch have about themselves as a tolerant society with integrated multiple cultures. "First of all, one can conclude that criticism on political correctness and on the ideal of the multicultural society has broken through for real relatively late.... In the end it was Pim Fortuyn, the electoral success of the LPF and namely the murder on Fortuyn which led to the definitive breakthrough."[24] Although he did not advocate segregation, he made political establishment aware of their failure to recognise it as a disputable issue.

After Fortuyn's death, The Netherlands saw a raise in right-wing politicians. Especially vocal around discussions about cultural assimilation and integration. Prominent examples like former Minister for Integration & Immigration Rita Verdonk and the Islam Critic Member of the House of Representatives Geert Wilders.

Sexual misconduct accusations

In 2005, Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries obtained a secret report of the intelligence department of the Rotterdam police. It became clear from this report that Fortuyn, along with several other members from his party, had been the subject of investigation by the intelligence services. An anonymous informant claimed that Fortuyn had engaged in sex with Moroccan youths aged between 16 and 21; this would have been legal under Dutch law. However, the report contained factual inaccuracies, and the trustworthiness of the original source could not be verified.[25]

Fortuynism in Flanders

In Belgium, several minor political parties adopted the same liberal conservative principles as Pim Fortuyn did in the Netherlands, especially his combination of "tough-on-crime" and "anti-immigrant" stands with his ethical progressive and economical libertarian viewpoints. In Flanders, analysts and observers tend to call VLOTT a fortuynist party, as well as List Dedecker and the Liberal Appeal. These three "liberal" parties do not officially call themselves fortuynist.

Books

References

  1. ^ Margry, Peter Jan: The Murder of Pim Fortuyn and Collective Emotions. Hype, Hysteria, and Holiness in the Netherlands? published in the Dutch magazine Etnofoor: Antropologisch tijdschrift nr. 16 pages 106-131, 2003,English version available online
  2. ^ a b (Dutch) Volkskrant newspaper interview (summary)
  3. ^ Cf. this BBC interview , retrieved July 2007
  4. ^ "Interview with Belgium news agency". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODW8uQTbhGw. 
  5. ^ Fortuyn killed 'to protect Muslims', The Daily Telegraph, 28 March 2003:
    [van der Graaf] said his goal was to stop Mr Fortuyn exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power.
  6. ^ Fortuyn killer 'acted for Muslims', CNN, 27 March 2003:
    Van der Graaf, 33, said during his first court appearance in Amsterdam on Thursday that Fortuyn was using "the weakest parts of society to score points" and gain political power.
  7. ^ Jihad Vegan, Dr Janet Parker 20 June 2005, New Criminologist
  8. ^ Interview by Mark Eyck with Pim Fortuyn in the Katholiek Nieuwsblad (Catholic Newspaper) 15 Februari 2002 available online
    " Question: U beschouwt zichzelf nog wel als katholiek? Answer: Ja, daar ontkom je niet aan. [..] Question: Toch noemt u zich ondanks uw homoseksualiteit nog steeds katholiek. Answer: Ik bén katholiek! Ik ben nota bene gedoopt! Ik noem me niet zo, ik ben het!" (Question: Do you still consider yourself a Catholic? Answer: Yes, you can't escape from that. [..] Question: But in spite of your homosexuality you still call yourself a Catholic. Answer: I am a Catholic. I have, after all, been baptised! I don't call myself one, I am one!)
  9. ^ "Dutch far-right leader shot dead"
  10. ^ politician is slain and the Nation is stunned, New York Times, Archive, 7 May 2002]
  11. ^ (Dutch)Original quote in Dutch: "Ik ben ook voor een koude oorlog met de islam. De islam zie ik als een buitengewone bedreiging, als een ons vijandige samenleving". ("I also favor a cold war against Islam. I see Islam as being an exceptional threat, as a society hostile to ours".)
  12. ^ Asylum Immigration Statistics and Asylum Requests Statistics, Netherlands Bureau of Statistics
  13. ^ (Dutch)Volkskrant interview, 2 February 2002, full text, retrieved 18 July 2007
  14. ^ Hassan II of Morocco
  15. ^ Quoted from "Murder in Holland", Rod Dreher, National Review, 7 May 2002 [1]
  16. ^ Original quote in Dutch: "Ik haat de islam niet. Ik vind het een achterlijke cultuur. Ik heb veel gereisd in de wereld. En overal waar de islam de baas is, is het gewoon verschrikkelijk. Al die dubbelzinnigheid. Het heeft wel iets weg van die oude gereformeerden. Gereformeerden liegen altijd. En hoe komt dat? Omdat ze een normen- en waardenstelsel hebben dat zo hoog ligt dat je dat menselijkerwijs niet kunt handhaven. Dat zie je in die moslimcultuur ook. Kijk dan naar Nederland. In welk land zou een lijsttrekker van een zo grote beweging als de mijne, openlijk homoseksueel kunnen zijn? Wat fantastisch dat dat kan. Daar mag je trots op zijn. En dat wil ik graag effe zo houden".
  17. ^ Tegen de islamisering van onze cultuur: Nederlandse identiteit als fundament, A.W. Bruna, 1997, ISBN 9-0229-8338-2
  18. ^ http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/fortuyn_p,2.html
  19. ^ See BBC impressionfor an early evaluation. retrieved July 2007
  20. ^ Fortuyn ghost stalks Dutch politics (BBC News)
  21. ^ Dutch MPs approve asylum exodus (BBC News)
  22. ^ (Dutch) Greatest Dutchman
  23. ^ http://www.nu.nl/algemeen/443284/pim-fortuyn-toch-niet-de-grootste-nederlander.html
  24. ^ Quote from Prins, Baukje & Slijper, Boris - 'Integratie zorgt in veel landen voor controverses', De Helling, winter 2002: "Ten eerste kan men stellen dat de kritiek op de politieke correctheid en het ideaal van de multiculturele samenleving relatief laat echt is doorgebroken. [...] Uiteindelijk waren het Pim Fortuyn, het electorale succes van de LPF en met name de moord op Fortuyn die tot de definitieve doorbraak hebben geleid." (Tegenwicht)
  25. ^ (Dutch) Explanation from the Minister of the Interior to Parliament (in Dutch)

External links


Simple English

Wilhelmus Simon Petrus (Pim) Fortuyn (pronounced [pɪm fɔʁtœʏn], (February 19, 1948May 6, 2002) was a Dutch politician. He was the leader of the LPF (Lijst Pim Fortuyn), a right-wing political party. He was very popular and was expected to win the 2002 elections, but a few days before the elections, he was killed by an animal rights activist. He did not like the religion of Islam, and did not want to let Muslims from other countries come to the Netherlands.








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