Samira Abbos: ‘vote with mind and heart’
11 October 2006 - Samira Bouchibti, a TV presenter
from Amsterdam better known as Samira Abbos, is a candidate for
Parliament for the Social-Democrat PvdA. School drop-out, food banks,
pyjama days: “I am concerned about everything”. And
the term ‘allochtoon’ may as well be discarded.
Bouchibti is on the list of candidates under the name Samira Bouchibti.
“That is easy to explain. Bouchibti is my father’s name,
Abbos my mother’s. When I started working for TV, I decided
to use my mother’s last name. She is not very tall, about
1.60 metre, but you could see her growing with pride when she heard
her name on TV”.
Bouchibti is mainly known for the TV-programmes she has presented,
but in addition she is active for the Rembrandthuis, the Jewish-Moroccan
Network Amsterdam, Mama Cash and various other social organisations.
She also frequently acts as a discussion leader.
It is sometimes said that the election campaigns pay insufficient
attention to the issue of integration. Is that correct? “I
do not agree entirely. Instead of integration I would like to argue
for participation. We must have good policies for all the residents
of this country”.
Recently, Bouchibti spent five weeks in America as part of an exchange
programme. Is there something we can learn from that country? “Let
me emphasize that we should be very critical of America. The way
in which they have organised health care... By now we are moving
in the same direction in the Netherlands, that is very depressing”.
“And the emphasis they put on personal responsibility. In
practice, it amounts to deserting people”.
“But there are also good things. For example, the pride of
one’s country, and the fact that it does not matter what ethnic
group you belong to. That is something we should strive for too.
The idea that we are all Dutch, with all our different backgrounds.
I am getting a bit tired of the term allochtoon [person whose parents
were born abroad – Ed]”.
The Amsterdam PvdA has proposed to do away with that term. “I
think that we should be moving in that direction. I hear many young
people saying: I am an Amsterdammer. Or Hagenees, or Rotterdammer”.
“It is important to be allowed to belong to a group. We all
know how it feels for a child when they won’t let you play
along with the skipping rope or marbles. Essentially, the same applies
The Christian-Democrat CDA and the PvdA have removed three candidates
of Turkish descent from their lists of candidates, because they
did not explicitly acknowledge the Armenian genocide. The Parool
warned for a “new politically correct regime, in which ethnic
minority candidates are subjected to an additional test of loyalty”.
Bouchibti: “I think that it is too bad that things happened
this way. The discussion focussed immediately on people’s
positions; I think it would have been better to have a substantive
Asked what she wants to achieve in The Hague, Bouchibti says she
finds it difficult to name one specific subject. “I am concerned
about everything. The way in which young people are treated, school
drop-out, food banks, women’s and men’s emancipation.
The fact nursing homes have pyjama days [when residents are hardly
allowed out of bed because of lack of staff – Ed], that is
something I find really depressing”.
During the coming weeks, Bouchibti will be campaigning. On Saturday,
she will be at a meeting at the Mercatorplein, where PvdA leader
Wouter Bos will be present as well. Her message: “Do vote.
Vote with your mind and with your heart. In my view, you will automatically
end up voting PvdA this way”.
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