The Graduation Ceremony
Dutch exam student Tristen Strijkert had the highest scores on the history test. As a reward, his teacher presented him with a gift. What was the gift? The book ”Fascism, a warning” by Madeleine Albright.
Tristen attended a school in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The events took place during the graduation ceremony for all those that had graduated from the high school. Before being called onto the stage to collect his certificate, his history teacher referred to Tristen’s affiliation with Forum voor Democratie.
Forum voor Democratie
Forum is a Dutch party led by Thierry Baudet, and is critical of both the European Union and immigration. The party’s main point, however, is that of democracy. They want to have referendums on important topics, and criticize the lack of democracy within the European Union. Moreover, they strive to shake up the political class and bring an end to the nepotism when it comes to filling governmental positions. All in all, this makes the comparison to fascism completely absurd.
In this case, a clear link is made between Tristen, the party he supports, and fascism. Tristen is a self-proclaimed liberal, and finds the link to fascism unacceptable.
Teacher Claims it is a Coincidence
His teacher says he had no bad intentions. ”I always give my best student a gift, and in this case I stumbled upon an interesting book by Madeleine Albright.” Considering the teacher first referred to Tristen’s political affiliations, and then gives him a book on fascism, it seems like an odd coincidence. Would he have also thought the gift appropriate or interesting if Tristen had supported a left-wing party?
The teacher does say that he does not consider Forum voor Democratie a fascist party. Nonetheless, the connection between the party and fascism is obviously made.
A Bias in Education
Thierry Baudet considers it another symptom of the overwhelmingly leftist views present in education. Even though he believes most teachers are not aware of their bias, he hopes that there will be some awareness around what is taking place in Dutch schools.
Tristen confirms the majority of teachers is simply left-leaning. With some teachers he would avoid discussing politics, afraid that they would treat him differently after sharing his views.
Both Tristen and Baudet hope that schools can be a place where debates can freely take place.