Many people will remember Stef Blok’s bold statement about Suriname. In 2018, the VVD Foreign Minster claimed that Suriname was a “failed state.” According to Blok, this “failed state” was a result of “ethnic divisions”, specifically seen throughout the political parties. 

A shared future weighs more heavily for Suriname 

Suriname is indeed an example of a successful, multiethnic or multicultural society. Although many of the current population’s ancestors come from different parts of the world, Surinamese people still respect and accept each other culture and religion. Nowhere else in the world can you find both mosques and synagogues situated right next to one another. 

Blundering politician with no sense of business

Stef Blok’s controversial statement was highly debated in the House of Representatives. Blok’s words were unanimously labelled as both rude and extremely unprofessional. 

How does a truly multicultural society actually function?

A multicultural society properly functions through the resident’s commitment to it. However, people tend to only commit if everyone sees the benefit of it. Therefore, only when everyone is treated equally can we really speak of a truly multicultural society. 

Conversations about the multicultural Netherlands are still sensitive topics

According to a large survey by EenVandaag from 2019, people are still afraid to speak honestly about the multicultural society. 50% of the respondents claimed that they do not dare speak out about this topic, as they fear they will be called racist. Many even indicate that they fear they might be terminated from their jobs if they speak too honestly.

Scheffer spurs debate on a multicultural society

In 2000, Scheffer published his essay, “The Multicultural Drama.” With this essay, Scheffer brings the debate to a new light. Scheffer is seen as one of the first to open up the debate of multiculturalism from the left and also as the pioneer for Fortuyn, Wilders and Baudet. However, there is a difference. Scheffer’s worries arise from concern, not aversion

What is the situation in the Netherlands now? What are our prospects?

Frits Bosch, an author and psychologist, believes that the Netherlands is a failed state– a multicultural mess– quoting, “ After ten years of Mark Rutte, I can confidently say that the Netherlands is a failed state.” The mutual cohesion of the state has been destroyed. The Netherlands is a collection of different monocultures that do not want anything to do with one another.

How does Scheffer see that after more than 20 years?

In 2019, Scheffer married  Saïda Sakali, a Moroccan-Belgian project coordinator. Therefore, not only is Scheffer the man who brought the political and public discussion about immigration and integration to the Netherlands, but also an expert through his own personal experience. 

Don’t lock yourself in your own bubble!

Scheffer still wants a political discussion on immigration and integration, but he also says, “I wouldn’t write an essay like that anymore. In the midst of all the contradictions, I want to research what could bring people together, and create a shared future that outweighs a divided origin.”

Resources:

‘Blok: Suriname is mislukte staat vanwege etnische opdeling‘ https://www.ad.nl/politiek/blok-suriname-is-mislukte-staat-vanwege-etnische-opdeling~a586aaab/

‘Kamer valt over uitspraak ‘failed state’ Suriname minister Blok‘ https://www.parool.nl/nieuws/kamer-valt-over-uitspraak-failed-state-suriname-minister-blok~b4ee6d36/

‘Nederland en haar ‘multiculturele samenleving’? https://antropologen.nl/nederland-en-haar-multiculturele-samenleving/

‘Normaal gesprek over multicultureel Nederland lijkt onmogelijk’ https://www.ru.nl/nieuws-agenda/meer-info/2020/december/normaal-gesprek-multicultureel-nederland-lijkt/

‘Tweederde vindt dat Nederlandse identiteit onder druk staat‘ https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/tweederde-vindt-dat-nederlandse-identiteit-onder-druk-staat/

‘Nederland is een failed state, een mislukt land’ https://www.dagelijksestandaard.nl/2021/07/nederland-is-een-failed-state-een-mislukt-land/:

‘De Marokkaanse – Belgische Saida Sakali: ‘Ik wilde bewust niet trouwen, tot Paul me vroeg’ https://www.trouw.nl/leven/de-marokkaans-belgische-saida-sakali-ik-wilde-bewust-niet-trouwen-tot-paul-me-vroeg~b79b2dabd/

 ‘Zo zit het multiculturele drama nu echt’ https://www.trouw.nl/opinie/zo-zit-het-multiculturele-drama-nu-echt~bc914697/