Singer gets hate mails for slamming Freedom Party
Herman van Veen has received thousands of hate mails after commenting that Geert Wilders' Freedom Party is a threat to democracy.The Netherlands – Dutch singer and performer Herman van Veen has received thousands of hate mails from Geert Wilders' supporters after he said the controversial politician's anti-Muslim Freedom Party is at risk of becoming the Nazi-era NSB party.
On Monday, De Telegraaf reported on a speech Van Veen gave at a meeting in Utrecht to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The 64-year-old singer reminded his audience Sunday that the Freedom Party does not accept members and is financed only by donations, not by fees.
"Such a party is a threat to democracy," he said.
The NSB was the Dutch pro-Nazi party between 1931 and 1945.
Since then, the singer has received emails containing very "nasty things" in response to Van Veen's warning against the undemocratic structure of Freedom Party.
The party leader has expressed disapproval of any threats that his followers may have uttered against the singer.
"He should not be threatened, and if he has been, I find that most objectionable," said the leader of the Freedom Party.
Van Veen’s remarks were prompted by reminiscences of a politically controversial interview he gave in East Berlin in 1989, three weeks before the Wall fell.
The singer explained his view on his website: "I expressed my concern about the old totalitarian systems and said we must make sure that the structure of political parties is based on democratic principles. I want to explain that the Freedom Party should not become like the NSB. The history of one person should not become the future of another. In my view, the Freedom Party is not a political party, but an association, a movement, where one single man decides. That is not democratic. Hence my concern. The character of the thousands of reactions I am receiving is confirming my worries."
In response, Wilders' lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, said on prime time TV that Van Veen's words are "farcical" and added: "I am tempted to use the words 'infamous' and 'abject'."
Moskowicz added the artist's remarks have insulted two million supporters and warned against the danger of "demonising" Geert Wilders.
"It could lead to an attack. Demonised people have been killed in the past," he said, referring to the assassination of popular maverick politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002.
The lawyer refuted any hints to Nazi tendencies in the Freedom Party and said Wilders had recently just met up in the US with prominent Jewish writer Elie Wiesel.
"Wiesel would never have sat down with an NSB leader," Moszkowicz said.
According to the lawyer, Wilders himself has not reacted to the statements because he thinks everyone in the Netherlands is entitled to speak out in public.
Reactions on De Telegraaf's website point out that Wilders is constantly referring to his freedom of expression when making statements seen by many as hate-mongering.
But when someone else, like Herman van Veen, used that same freedom, Wilders' followers rise in anger. Respondents claimed that the entire row was caused by De Telegraaf's incorrect reporting of Van Veen's words.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica