Open Letter to Mark Rutte [English version of the article in Joop]

We’re wrecking Dutch culture: One day you will thank us for it

An open letter from an immigrant to Mark Rutte

Hi Mark, 

Sorry its taken me so long to respond. I decided to wait because in your letter you seemed, well, so upset. And my response to your whining was never going to make you feel much better – or at least not right away. 

But now that you’ve won the election, and you’re enjoying making your government in the Spring, I thought it might be a good time to talk: about the future; about your fears.

You worry that immigrants are going to come to your country and ruin Dutch culture. Well, you’re right. We are coming Mark. We are here. And we’re going to wreck a lot of the things that you and your constituents like about Dutch culture. One day Mark, you’re going to thank us for it.

This is going to hurt. Its going to hurt people like you. But its going to hurt in the way an injection hurts. We’re going to damage you in order to make you better; make you stronger. So the best thing you can do right now for yourself and for the country is be a good boy, bite down into something soft and stop kicking and shouting and making a fuss, while we work our magic.

Mark. There are lots of us, and we want what you have. No, we don’t want to defile your women and plunder your cities. We’re not Visigoths. We’re ordinary people Mark; some of us extra ordinary, and we want a piece of what you’ve created here in this little flat underwater land. Most of all we want your freedom. We understand, perhaps more than you, its value. Many of us didn’t have such freedoms at home, and so we left to find it here. And we want it for ourselves, our children and our families.

But here’s the rub Mark, we’re not going to become Dutch in order to get it. We’ll sit in your language classes and pass your citizenship tests. We’ll even learn how to give up our space on the bike path. But we’re not going to mimic everything you do Mark; how you express courtesy to one another; what forms of dress and manners you deem appropriate. If we did, we wouldn’t be able to achieve our main aim of being here in the Netherlands. 

So here’s the point at which I need to let you in on a little secret. We’re not here to become Dutch. We’re here to integrate you. 

Please stop hyper-ventilating Mark. Breathe deeply and let me play the good nurse. Mark, and I’m being honest here, you’re going to love it! Trust me, we’re going to teach your children to eat curry and rice with their hands (not the cacca hand Mark) and they’re going to love getting elbow deep in it. An IT whizz kid from Bangalore is going to steal a job from one of your nephews and end up revolutionising the Dutch logistics industry. And Mark, one morning before sunrise I’m going to take you to the top of the Rijks museum and you’re going to listen to the sound of the call to prayer pouring out of every mosque in Amsterdam – and you will weep with joy. 

You see Mark, its by teaching you how to be a bit more like us that we’re going to make this a great country. And its because of your freedom that you’re going to let us do it. You tell us to go away but you know your border guards, police officials and social workers won’t make us. You tell us to act normal because your speech writer invented that line to win votes off Wilders in the outer suburbs, but each time you utter the words, you die a little inside. You want to know what a better society looks like. Mark, we will show you precisely how good civilisation can be.

There will be dickheads. On both sides. Make no mistake about it Mark, whenever anyone has tried to make something like this work, dickheads on both sides have stuffed it up. We know who yours are. You know who ours are. Don’t worry about them Mark. We’ll deal with them together. But, if you don’t mind, I’ve got a small request for you as the unofficial Prime Minister in waiting. Just a small one. 

Don’t be a dickhead Mark. Please. Help us, help you get better. 

Darshan Vigneswaran

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