Dutch election: Far from convincing

As Europe draws a sigh of relief, there’s arguably little cause for rejoice, as Geert Wilder’s Party for Freedom gains four new seats in the Dutch parliament, according to exit polls – not enough to take up government, but an advancement all the same.

Please forgive my inability to applaud the far-right’s progress, undoubtedly to be seen in elections to come, included Europe’s numerous elections this year. Glad the PVV isn’t taking over cabinet, sure, but:

Worried as hell.

I mean, WTF, Netherlanders, you secured the bastards 19 seats (up from 15)! If anything, an encouragement for far-right parties everywhere.

So I reiterate: WTF!?

Photo: Geert Wilders, founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom. Photo from Metropolico.org’s Flickr account.

How dare they?

I hear they call it the European spring – it being the rise of a European alt-right movement.

The audacity!

If anything, I’d say winter would be more appropriate, but if they have the Arabian spring in mind, let’s remind them how that went*, shall we?

*I posted something on that back when it all went down, in January 2011 (in Norwegian)

The President a dangerous White House resident

Like most Europeans we Norwegians care deeply for America, in fact so much so that our reluctance to join the European Union is in part justified — and explained — by our close US relations, more or less obviating other alliances. And that, dear reader, is no exaggeration.

While it is no secret that this blogger finds closer ties to the EU, materialised in a full membership, preferable, I, too, care for America, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, brought up with American products, heroes, artists and culture as we are, as well as a loyal US and NATO ally, since the alliance’s formation.

Also, since long before Russia’s President Putin started rattling his sabers, one has been an avid advocate for the reinforcement of the North Atlantic alliance and, therefore, our ties to the United States.

Nowadays, however, we’re simply afraid, and this blogger is no exception, with a deep care for America converted to the deepest fear for America — or, rather, for its president. Of course our ridicule is motivated by his ridiculous statements and, some times, appearance, but underneath lies layer upon layer of deep fear, knowing full well that we have indeed seen political madmen in our near past, of whom some even advocating politics very similar to the ones presented by the current US President.

In other words our fear, in spite of our obvious care, should come as no surprise.

I am aware that many would argue that there’s a huge difference between the two above depicted dictators and this here man:

U.S. President Donald Trump. Official White house portrait.
U.S. President Donald Trump. Official White house portrait.

But you really shouldn’t be surprised if some of us beg to differ. Especially considering the emerging and, in part already existing, political climate he inspires:

Consider then, dear American readers (of whom I actually have quite a few), that we fancied ourselves your ally in the battle against authoritarian leaders, such as this gentleman:

Russlands president Vladimir Putin (foto fra kremlin.ru).
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (photo from kremlin.ru).

And I’m sure you will agree that following Russia’s example may not be the best way to go about just that challenge.

Be that as it may, we still care deeply for America, but I hope you understand why it is that some of that care may easily be replaced by fear, if you would be so kind as to excuse the rhyme (in the headline, too).

My approach is very simple, really: We should aspire to a civilised world, not one led by hooligans. Is that too much to ask?

On a lighter note, though, seeing as we do so love American culture:

Top photo: Dark times. Blogger’s illustration.

Sleep well!

For about a week or so the Nedtegnelser blog has been all about utter non-sense – or quick visual posts with perhaps a deeper meaning, but with an air of apparent indifference, which is all-too true, I’m afraid, as the political posts have been modest attempts at contributing to the prevention of certain developments, rather than moaning over them in retrospect.

Which would explain the blog’s incessant attention to this merry band of nationalists in particular:

While a warm defender og western values, I can see no reason why I should defend the attitudes and actions of the western world’s most powerful leader. Of course, that is so because he’s everything but a champion of western values. In short, when ever a leader, or any politician, for that matter, show strongman or national and isolationist tendencies there’s much cause for alarm.

So far we’ve seen them succeed, which may very well be all it takes to bring about dark times the likes of which we haven’t seen for over 70 years, but their European henchmen aren’t about to stop, in what we know to be a crucial election year for Europe:

No rest for the wicked

Leaving yours truly – and, hopefully, you – with no option but to carry on. Chances are we’ll lose this battle, too, but shouldn’t use that as an excuse to relax. The battle may be lost, but the war?

Hell no!

Which is where I’m compelled to recite Norwegian poet Arnulf Øverland’s (1889–1968) 1936 anti-fascist poem Dare not to sleep (translated to English American by Lars-Toralf Storstrand):

I was awakened one morning, by the quaintest of dreams
‘twas like a voice, spoken to me
It sounded afar – like an underground stream,
I rose and said: Why do you call me?

Dare not to slumber! Dare not to sleep!
Dare not believe, it was merely a dream!
Yore I was judged.
The gallows were built in the court this evening,
They’ll come for me — 5’ in the morning

This dungeon is teeming,
And barracks stand dungeon by dungeon
we lie here, awaiting, in cold cells of stone,
We lie here, we rot, in these murky holes.

We know not ourselves, what does lie ahead
Who will be the next one they’ll reach for.
We moan and we shriek: But do you take heed?
Is there none among you who’ll hearken?

No one can see us,
None know what befalls us.
Yet more:
None will believe – what the day will bring us!

And then You defy: This dare not be true!
That men can be utterly evil.
There has to be some one with merits pure
Oh, brother, you still have a great deal to learn

They said: You will give your life, if commanded
We’ve given it now, for naught it was handed
The world has forgotten, we’ve all been deceived
Dare not to sleep in this hour – this eve.

You oughtn’t go to your business hence,
Or think: What’s your loss – or what is your gain?
You oughtn’t attribute your fields and your kine,
Nor say you’ve enough – with all that is thine.

You oughn’t abide, sitting calm in your home
Saying: Dismal it is, poor they are, and alone
You cannot permit it! You dare not, at all.
Accepting that outrage on all else may fall!
I cry with the final gasps of my breath:
You dare not repose, nor stand and forget

Pardon them not – they know what they do!
They breathe on hate-glows, and evil pursue,
They fancy to slay, they revel with cries,
Their desire is to gloat, when our world is at fire!
In blood they are yearning to drown one and all!
Don’t you believe it? You’ve heard the call!

You know how infants will soldiers remain,
While dashing through streets, fields, chanting ‘bout pain
Aroused by their mothers‘ assurance of glory
They’ll shelter their land – and they’ll never worry

You know the fatality of the lies,
that glory and faith and honor abides
You discern the dauntless dreams of a child,
A saber, a banner, he’ll flaunt them so wild,

And then they’ll leave home for a rainfall of steel,
‘Till last they hang ragged on barbed wire will,
Decaying for Hitler’s Aryan call,
That is what a man’s for – after all…

I couldn’t imagine – too late now it is
My sentence is just: The verdict’s no miss
I believed in prosperity, dreamt about peace
In labor and fellowship; love’s fragrant kiss
Yet those who don’t die on the battlefield,
Their heads for the axeman, will certainly yield

I cry in the gloom – if only you’d knew
There is but one thing – befitting to do
Defend yourself, while your hands are still yearning,
Protect your offspring – Europe is burning.

***

I shook from the chill. To dress, up I rose
Without stars were shining, so far, yet so close
‘twere simply a brilliant ray in the east,
Admonishing warning from the dream that just ceased

The day that soared up from earths furthermost strand
Augmenting with blood — and with firebrand
It grew with terror – like a breath that was lost
It seemed like the starlight – was slain by the frost.

I weighed: Something is imminent – and it’s dire
Our era is over — Europe’s on fire!

Ringing truer today than at any given time after WW2. While Russia, Turkey and America are lost, for the time being at any rate, I’ll have to carry on, then, incessantly as ever, and to those among you who have simply had enough of my restless ramblings:

Sleep well!

Top illustration: Norwegian, now mostly dismantled, Soldiers of Odin marching. Blogger’s drawing.

I’ve been told that Orwell’s 1984 hits the bestseller lists once more, God knows for what reason (Jarle, really?).

Totalitarianism Authoritarianism dictature diktatur totalitarian authoritarian

Top photo: George Orwell’s «1984». Blogger’s photograph.

Surely U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s affinity for, almost invariably, clenching his fist in the air hasn’t escaped you, almost as if he’s intentionally introducing a «new» salute, ironically one up until recently monopolised by revolutionary socialists.

The use of gestures is no novelty, as far as extremists go. There’s the revolutionary fist, just recently assumed by America’s brand-new president, and, of course the Hitler salute, der Hitlergruß, inspired by Roman traditions and, therefore, used even by Italian fascists, as well as their fellow fascist Spaniards.

These are mere speculations, of course, but will we see right-wing politicians and their supporters worldwide clench their fists in the air, too? Certainly they won’t resort to the Roman salute, for obvious reasons. The fact remains, though:

While we’re seriously fisted already, chances are we may all be about to be so, in more senses than one.

In any event I think it’s safe to assume that the U.S. president’s public appearances will feature the continued use of chilling gestures.

Illustration: U.S. President Donald Trump. Blogger’s drawing.

The dawning of an authoritarian era?

Facing inevitability people often say that it’s better to go with the flow than to fight it, and usually rightfully so, except, of course, in cases where the inevitable poses a threat to the values on which we base our entire existence, such as compassion, decency, democracy, concern for the planet and our common prosperity and so on, among whom the following appear most prominent at present:

  • Russia’s president Vladimir Putin
  • America’s president-elect Donald J. Trump
  • Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
  • China’s president Xi Jinping
  • Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei
  • North Korea’s president Kim Jong-un

Alongside a plethora of left and right-wing politicians throughout Europe, impatiently waiting to put Donald Trump’s methods to good use, among whom we find the usual suspects, such as Front National’s Marine Le Pen, Alternative für Deutschland’s Frauke Petry, FPÖ’s Heinz-Christian Strache, Vlaams Belang’s Tom van Grieken, UKIP’s Paul Nuttal (preceded by Nigel Farage), PVV’s Geert Wilders to mention but a few.

Fortunately most of them are yet to succeed completely, but are, as we all know, likely to gather much support in the aftermath of the US presidential election. Also we should bear in mind that most of them hail from countries of less importance than the afore-mentioned six, with the possible exception of Kim Jong-un, perhaps. The potential outcome of left and right-wing nationalism gaining foothold in Europe, however, is the dissolution of the European Union, already afoot in the wake of last summer’s Brexit, as well as the prevalence of authoritarianism, sometimes bordering on totalitarianism, now that their self-confidence has received such an ill-deserved boost.

Among the most recent examples we find the Norwegian Progress Party leader (and the country’s minister of finance) Siv Jensen. According to an almost 100-year-long tradition the King and PM give their new year speeches on radio (and TV). This year, which happens to be an election year, however, said Ms. Jensen decided the time is ripe for a minister of finance new year’s speech, albeit via social media.

Make of that what you will, but it’s safe to say that current events forecast a change of direction throughout the world, paving the way for the early stages of an authoritarian development which may easily escalate into full-blown totalitarianism, as we’ve already seen in some countries.

I’m not in the business of provoking fear where fear is undue, but we’ve seen the writing on the wall for some time, and the development of an international community characterised by populism, antagonism and just about any ism in the book is very real, a very distinct possibility.

What I can say, however, is that I sincerely fear that it’s too late, that we indeed do find ourselves on the verge of an authoritarian and totalitarian age, but haven’t given up hope that before long Putin, Trump, Erdoğan, Xi, Khamenei and Kim will have managed to convince us of the authoritarian leadership’s futility.

Also, let’s not make the mistake of comparing today’s authoritarian leaders with yesterday’s dictators. A modern-day oppressor is more likely to appear mild-mannered than rabid, fully aware of the importance of appearance.

There is, of course, precious little we can do to prevent it, save voting in accordance with values other than theirs – and to contribute to our fellow men’s reflection on the matter, which is what I hereby try to do, to the best of my feeble ability.

Then again, if you challenge me to a wager, my bet is that the first half of the century is lost, and if so, the chances of a second (half) are fairly slim. But who knows, where there’s a will, there may even be a way.

Top illustration: Blogger’s own drawing, based on a third-party original.