The kingdom of the Netherlands and the kingdom of Bahrain have some things in common.
As I say that, I, of course, have to point out differences as well.
In the absolute monarchy Bahrain, the regime tries to smash all pro-democracy opposition with extreme violence and systematic torture. While in the Dutch constitutional monarchy, there are some worrying trends away from democracy, but definitely not on a Bahraini scale.
In both countries, there is a rightist minority government. In Bahrain, the democratic opposition boycotts elections for the parliament which has no real power anyway. In the Netherlands, the parliament does have real powers and opposition parties do not boycott the elections.
However, the present rightist Dutch government coalition does not represent the majority of people. Not in a social and economic sense, where their cutback policies benefit a few millionaires and hurt most people.
And not in a parliamentary sense: the CDA and VVD coalition parties have only a minority of seats. They “solved” that problem by an agreement with the xenophobic far right PVV party of Geert Wilders; which gave them an artificial majority of just one seat. Recent opinion polls say that the CDA, VVD, and PVV parties would lose that small majority if there would be elections now.
In both Bahrain and the Netherlands, there is social and economic crisis. And crisis in the credibility of the government. In both cases, there are attempts to get attention away from that by scapegoating “foreigners”.
In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders fanatically attacks Islam; blaming not just Muslims, but also eg, (Christian) African-Caribbean and eastern European immigrants for all sorts of problems.
In Bahrain, authorities torture and jail Canadian Naser Al Raas. Being a foreigner, he serves as a scapegoat.
And now, it turns out that the puppet parliament in Bahrain has its very own equivalent of Dutch Wilders, viciously attacking poor immigrant workers.
From GMA News in the Philippines:
Bahraini lawmaker wants stricter sanctions vs. 40,000 illegals
January 26, 2012 11:20am
Saying that they pose social and economic threats to Bahrain, a lawmaker there is calling for stricter sanctions against some 40,000 foreigners who are staying illegally in that country.
A report of Gulf News quoted MP Abdul Halim Murad as saying, “We see illegal expatriates, mainly unskilled workers, everywhere as if there is nothing wrong with their status.”
Murad said the phenomenon has “severe social impacts, including the abnormal increase in the number of people in Bahrain, unfair competition against Bahrainis, the establishment of fake companies, the spread of theft, involvement in crime, the spread of infectious diseases, trading in alcohol and prostitution.”
The Bahrain labor ministry said around 40,000 foreigners are staying illegally in the country.
The report said the illegals are “usually victims of rackets in their home countries, are flown into the country on promises of secure jobs, end up doing odd jobs to pay their local sponsors, send some cash to their families and survive in difficult conditions.”
According to the Gulf News report, Abdul Halim Murad represents
Al Asala, the expression of Salafism in Bahrain.
Salafism is a Saudi Arabian-sponsored extreme form of Sunni Islam.
Geert Wilders, Abdul Halim Murad: one fanatically anti-Muslim, one fanatically Muslim. However, in both the same xenophobic hysteria.
The far-right Dutch Party of Freedom (PVV) led by Geert Wilders is one of a number of unsavoury organisations which has grown in recent years to pollute the parliamentary politics of many European countries; here.