One year ago today I was relaxing in the sun at a party when the atmosphere suddenly changed. Somehow the news filtered through that a plane flying from Schiphol had crashed in Eastern Ukraine. At first it seemed like a horrific coincidence that this had happened precisely in a region where there was already so much chaos, but it soon became clear that this was a crime of unbelievable callousness. Separatist rebels had shot down an aircraft with 298 people on board. With God knows what on their minds, they decided that this plane flying at cruising altitude was clearly a Ukrainian military transport. Firing at their target on a complete guess, their missile’s shrapnel tore MH17 apart. Ukrainian villagers below had to endure the horrific sight of bodies plummeting into their fields and houses. Continue reading
On the very same night his Party for Freedom (PVV) scored a victory in local elections, Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right politician, managed to attract the most negative attention he’s seen in a long time. Standing in front of a huge Dutch flag, Wilders asked his supporters if they wanted “more or less” Moroccans in The Hague and the Netherlands. After his supporters chanted “Less! Less! Less!” he said “Then we’ll arrange that”. The ugly scene has attracted a firestorm of controversy across Dutch politics, media and social media. So what do Wilders and the PVV stand for these days? What makes these remarks different than what we’ve heard before? And what has the reaction been in the Netherlands?