Let's just stay home!
(Picture: moroka media, Oscar Nkala, Matabeleland, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)
In June 2009 Djengis Gabor, President of VON, representing a large number of minority organisations in the Netherlands, had written a letter to all Dutch political parties voicing his concern. He was worried because signals had reached him that Dutch political parties were blocking the road to minority candidates at local elections out of fear. Djengis Gabor reminded these political parties that migrants are still underrepresented in Dutch politics and that they still have a lot of work to do in this respect. At the time the media ignored this.
Yesterday however, we learned, that indeed, this time around Dutch political parties at the local level have put even fewer candidates of foreign origin on their lists in local elections. In Rotterdam for example, a city where about half of the population is of foreign origin, only 20 percent of the municipal candidates have an immigrant background.
Mohammed Benzakour, blogger at the muslim immigrant blog wij blijven hier ("we stay here") voiced the exasperation of many immigrants in the Netherlands with Dutch politics in his article "The Dutch Labour Party is not worth our vote" (English summary here).
Allthough the Netherlands has about 3 million immigrants within it's borders, political parties have been ignoring immigrants for another four more years. Why would immigrants now all of a sudden have to make the effort to get out and vote? The walk to the voting booth is not worth it! Let's just stay home.