Nina van den Broek sees them everywhere in the Groningen countryside. Inverted flags and protest signs. The social geographer himself lives in a village near Loppersum. “I see in this region an incredible number of people declaring their solidarity, including the citizens. It surprised me.”
Van den Broek is a farmer’s daughter and has previously written a series of portraits flat country About farmers in Groningen. “In this area, your neighbor is a farmer, which leads to a different view of farmers than if you lived in Amsterdam. Here you get a chance to hear the exact story.”
The social geographer was shocked by the severity of the measures. “They seem to be clinging to the last straw for them. I wonder what the proportion of non-farmers is among the activists. It seems that sympathy for farms is also carried by people suspicious of the government, as you have seen in the Corona protests. The common denominator is the mistrust of the government. The massive security that threatens to confuse farmers.”
Van den Broek believes that the fact that there is so much sympathy in the countryside may be caused by the mistrust that lives there. “This certainly applies to the Groningers, who have a lot to choose from due to the earthquake problem.”
Many criticisms were made of the police’s reluctance to engage in the siege and intimidation of farmers. Last week, the police and the public prosecution quickly demonstrated their understanding in their statement to farmers who “want to send a signal.” A few weeks ago, Police Chief Willem Walders said in a conversation with Norwegian Refugee Council: “A lot of police officers understand the farmers’ position, and so do I.” Are the police more sympathetic to the protesting farmers than to the other protesters?
“I don’t think so,” police scientist Marnix Eysenck Smits replied. “The fact that the chief of police says it is done mainly to show that the police are making a gesture to the farmers. Look at the dam demonstration (Corona protest, editor) in Amsterdam that almost cost Mayor Halsima his head. There was also no action.” In contrast, there are farmers who block highways, dump waste and scare away. “Farmers all over the country. It is almost impossible to always be there on time. This plays a role.”
According to Eysink, very little is the lack of police capacity. “We have questioned the police.” As a result, the government’s legitimacy is under pressure. “Preventive action is necessary, but the police are not paying attention to it. The Cabinet should have entered into a dialogue much earlier, the repressive path is a dead end.”
Farmers’ anger is nothing new. As time goes on they get angry and history shows they are of no use, as Brabant historian John Van Zuylen dares to claim. He remembers the Bowman movement in the late 1930s, led by Alphonse Bowman, who mainly represented the disaffected small farmers of the south of the country. From the 1960s Hendrik Kwik came up with Boerenpartij.
Then there was a lot of sympathy. Now too, but there’s a big difference. We no longer live in an agricultural society. Peasant resentment has always been very broad-based in society, which has been more dependent on the agricultural sector.” What is remarkable for Van Zuellen is that this sympathy has not gone away. “I am amazed at this, because farmers hardly come up with solutions for a better nitrogen-deficient world. What percentage does farmers support depend on? ”
According to Van Zuijlen, people do not think in conjunction with the content, but from the feeling that it is “pathetic for the farmer. Others always join in the resentment of a certain group of the idea of anti-government sentiment. Action Bouwman eventually joined the NSB, which exploited in this Time dissatisfaction in society. Now you also see that far-right groups and individuals hijack the peasantry’s discontent for their own ends.”
Nitrogen protest in Siberian Twente: “What a terrible thing, manure Van Ni Ko”
There is hardly a farm or house around the small Siberian village of Twente without an inverted flag. Anger over nitrogen politics goes hand in hand Sober look at one’s situation.
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