Pim Fortuyn. 20 years after his death, it turned out that he did not steal everyone’s hearts. I found it fascinating to see how young women with migration backgrounds from Islamic culture looked back on Fortuyn. As a politician, he was the most critical of Islam and immigration. But what some like to forget is that he also stood up for the women of Islamic culture. He would rather see them liberate than continue to live as displaced persons in Dutch society, wrapped in a large piece of textile.
What do we think now, 20 years after his death, of his opinion of the women who, according to him, were oppressed? Although my generation did not experience him very consciously, it has only vague memories of the aftermath of his death, but it has learned enough from recent history to form an opinion about the significance of Fortuyn.
In any case, Kauthar Bouchalikht has traumatic childhood memories of the atmosphere around Fortuyn. I cite this GroenLinks politician and intersectional climate activist as an example because she is a voice of my generation that can retell the stories of Fortuyn from a kind of personal experience. And she did so on Twitter.
“Nothing but good about the dead?” None. He could not steal Kauthar’s heart. And like them, there are many who draw a completely different picture of him than I have.
We live in a time when the reconstruction of history is the order of the day. A reconstruction means that we transform an image of the past into our imagination. And I want to know how it happens with the image of Fortuyn. That image affects the current generation that was not yet born when Fortuyn was alive.
All possible aspects of Fortuyn were discussed in the media. Was he a pleasant personality? Was he right in the future? Was he sincere? All sorts of questions that ‘experts’ (often people who had known him) answered step by step.
Kauthar and I did not know him, but belong to the group that has been talked about a lot. The women of that culture. Who now even has a voice to think something about it. It was probably then, but now as time goes on and we can see what was or was not right by his predictions, more and more.
It was striking that a young woman with a Turkish background and (like Kauthar) who grew up in a traditional Muslim migrant family recently won the Pim Fortuyn Prize. Lale Gul. Incidentally, this was the second time, because the year before, Fidan Ekiz won the same prize.
Lale was able to fight her way out of the backward cultural circumstances she found herself in. As a young woman who just wanted to study, have a relationship with a native boy, form opinions, and show up without a headscarf. All things that are obvious to many, but for which she had to fight a real battle, as she described in her novel I have to live† Even here in the free West, it proved difficult. She has a different image of Fortuyn than Kauthar, who felt insecure because of him and saw his future bleak.
Why do women with the same background fundamentally disagree about the impact Fortuyn would have had if he had lived. One felt that he was depriving her of her rights, while the other was hoping for her freedom from his words.
It seems clear to me that one is happier with that freedom than the other. It is a shame that a major problem that Fortuyn raised is being rejected by Kauthar as if it never existed. Still. And it’s special to see how Lale tells an autobiographical story in his book that certainly proves Fortuyn’s observation.
I have been told that while Fortuyn fought for the rights of these women, he did so only as part of a political game to justify his evil ideas. I know that I, or perhaps Lale, do not care what his intentions were, but that the elaboration of these ideas would ensure that someone like Lale could live his life without banal obstacles. So just get started living.
Although Fortuyn saw the future of his country bleak, today there is more attention for Lale Gül than for Kauthar’s views when it comes to fighting injustice. Because they both do. competing. Against what they perceive as injustice. And if Lale wins that match, Fortuyn has also won a bit and thus the image of him as a person. We all pass the picture on to the next generation.
Topic Shams is a writer and publicist. She writes regularly to Wynia’s Week about what surprises or amazes her.
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