In: Aldona Bermudez16 Feb 2012
As I ice-skated on the Rotte river on Sunday, I felt as if I was part of an illustrated European children’s storybook, mesmerised at the beautiful sight of the cute houses alongside the river covered in snow. After a week of winter wonderland, Rotterdam is now unfrozen and I am surprised at the lack of muddy slush that usually follows a few days of ice age bliss. As everything unfreezes, there is something that seems to have remained frozen in time—my thesis.
I am undecided whether I am excited or anxious about my thesis. Now I’m excited, but by the time you read this, I might be very anxious. Every time I plan to get working on it, something comes up: I either need to do groceries, read the newspaper, do Yoga, check my email, clean my room, go the gym, read interesting stuff that is not related to my thesis, meet my friends, do laundry, go to a job interview, or do my nails. The list could go on forever. I am a little bit stuck in a self-induced vicious cycle, and starting today I am going to turn it into a virtuous cycle. But as I type these words, I hear two voices in my head. One supportively encourages me to do it, while the other one screams: “Yeah right!”
But I won’t bore you with my thesis worries anymore. I am more concerned with something else in the Netherlands that also seems to be standing still, or better said, relapsing. And that is the Netherlands’ immigration policy. In a country that is known for its freedom tolerance, the PVV’s (Geert Wilders’ political party Partij van de Vrijheid, meaning “Party of Freedom”) initiative to create a centre (meldpunt) where Dutch people can complain (!) about East-Europeans where for Polish people is not precisely the best move to illustrate this. It is not my intention to make this a politically laden post; I personally prefer not to get too involved in politics because, in my experience, political discussions always end up in fiery, unpleasant arguments. However, this particular initiative has caused quite some upheaval in the media and I think it also deserves the attention of the internationals among us. The fact that the “centre” is specifically set out to a particular group is discriminatory in itself and by definition against the constitution. No wonder 2,000 complaints have been filed against the meldpunt. Such a platform will do anything but help whatever seems to be the problem. First, it already takes the assumption that there is a major problem as a fact, while in reality the statement that there are too many Eastern Europeans in the Netherlands unbalancing the labour market is not necessarily representative for the majority of the Dutch population. Second, it will catalyse any existing conflicts rather than solve them. Many citizens want to see the meldpunt shut down, including myself, but it all seems to be political power play: who will have the last say?
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