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social sciences

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Fortuyn, Pim (1948-2002)  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  

Most controversially, from a glbtq perspective, she proposed the deportation of gay Iranian asylum seekers--for Iran, she claimed, no longer prosecuted homosexuality. When a vote of no confidence was introduced by the Green Party, it failed because of the LPF's opposition, though the policy itself was reversed. In response to parliamentary criticism, Verdonk announced that all asylum cases involving homosexual Iranians would be assessed on an individual basis.

The LPF has withered since its success in the wake of Fortuyn's assassination. A one-man show deprived of its charismatic leader, it was unable to sustain its parliamentary strength. At an early election held in 2003, the party dropped down to eight seats. (It was reduced to zero in 2006, after it aired a tasteless campaign commercial featuring a party leader descending with a parachute from heaven and offering himself as Fortuyn's reincarnation.)

Sponsor Message.

Old wounds were reopened in November 2004, when the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed in Amsterdam. Gogh, a Fortuyn admirer who had just made a movie about his assassination based on conspiracy theories, was shot on a busy street. His throat was slit ritualistically, and an indictment of Western society and call for holy war was attached to his corpse. The murderer was a Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent and an Islamic religious radical. The slaying vividly confirmed Fortuyn's warnings about the danger posed by Islamic fundamentalism.

Fortuyn's legacy may also--somewhat unfairly--be said to include the new prominence of a populist politician, Geert Wilders. Wilders, who has likened the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf and has therefore been banned from other European Union countries for endangering public safety, leads a party that won nine seats in the 2006 election on an anti-Islam and anti-immigration platform.

Popular Legacy

A monument to Fortuyn has been erected in Rotterdam. Built of cracked marble, it is a twisted obelisk positioned on a pedestal, symbolizing Fortuyn's transcendence of established structures and his political twists and turns. The obelisk also bears Fortuyn's bronze bust engaging in debate, a strong allusion to his untiring proclamation of free speech, which the Latin inscription underlines: Loquendi Libertatem Custodiamus ("We shall defend freedom of expression").

In addition, statues of Fortuyn have been placed in a number of cities. A commemorative flag was introduced that features the national Dutch banner with a portrait of Fortuyn added in the center. A tulip has been named in his honor. In the Amsterdam version of Madame Tussaud's wax museum, Fortuyn sits surrounded by his two beloved spaniels. Fortuyn's residence, Palazzo di Pietro, restored in its full splendour, is now a museum.

Yet, despite his veneration in the Netherlands, Fortuyn is not well known in the United States. Even his assassination received relatively little notice in the American gay press, despite his being the highest-ranking openly gay politician to be slain since Harvey Milk.

There may be truth in Andrew Sullivan's observation, "If a pro-choice, drug-legalizing, sex-positive gay man speaks out against the Christian fundamentalist right, he is hailed as a hero. But if he speaks out against the Muslim fundamentalist right, he is a pariah." However, it is important to point out that Fortuyn was not assassinated because he was gay, nor was his assassin a fundamentalist Muslim.

Conclusion

Fortuyn may have been a demagogue, as his critics charged, but many people regarded him less as a demagogue than as someone who was speaking truth to power and who was defending the liberal values of the Netherlands against a threat from religious radicals. He powerfully exposed the failures of multiculturalism in the Netherlands and drew upon its attendant anxieties.

Fortuyn's concern seems not to have been with Muslim immigrants per se ("I do not hate Muslims, I even sleep with them," he wittily exclaimed), but with Muslim fundamentalists who despised the liberal traditions of the country and who refused to assimilate to Dutch culture.

Nikolai Endres

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    Bibliography
   

Boyes, Roger. "Altar Boy Who Broke with the Dutch Past." The Times (London) (May 8, 2002): 15.

Buruma, Ian. Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance. New York: Penguin, 2006.

Eyerman, Ron. The Assassination of Theo van Gogh: From Social Drama to Cultural Trauma. Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

Goldstein, Richard. "Attack of the Homocons: They're Here… They're Queer… They're Conservative!" The Nation 275 (July 1, 2002): 11-15.

Holsteyn, Joop J. M. van, and Galen A. Irwin. "Never a Dull Moment: Pim Fortuyn and the Dutch Parliamentary Election of 2002." West European Politics 26 (2003): 41-66.

Joustra, Arendo. "Pim Fortuyn: Macho-Homo." Gay: Een jaarboek 5 (2004): 8-15.

Lunsing, Wim. "Islam versus Homosexuality? Some Reflections on the Assassination of Pim Fortuyn." Anthropology Today 19 (2003): 19-21.

Margry, Peter Jan. "The Murder of Pim Fortuyn and Collective Emotions: Hype, Hysteria and Holiness in the Netherlands?" Etnofoor: Antropologisch tijdschrift 16 (2003): 106-31.

_____. "Performative Memorials: Arenas of Political Resentment in Dutch Society." Reframing Dutch Culture: Between Otherness and Authenticity. Peter Jan Margry and Herman Roodenburg, eds. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007. 109-33.

Pantti, Mervi, and Jan Wieten. "Mourning Becomes the Nation: Television Coverage of the Murder of Pim Fortuyn." Journalism Studies 6 (2005): 301-13.

Pim Fortuyn, Official Website: http://www.pim-fortuyn.nl/.

Sullivan, Andrew. "Maverick to Martyr." The Advocate 867 (July 9, 2002): 72.

Veer, Peter van der. "Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the Politics of Tolerance in the Netherlands." Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World. Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan, eds. New York: Fordham University Press, 2006. 527-38.

Vink, Maarten P. "Dutch 'Multiculturalism' Beyond the Pillarisation Myth." Political Studies Review 5 (2007): 337-50.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Endres, Nikolai  
    Entry Title: Fortuyn, Pim  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2009  
    Date Last Updated March 21, 2009  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/fortuyn_p.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2009 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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