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Siegmund
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 06:49 PM
I fear for my country

The murder of Theo van Gogh has laid bare the dangerous tensions between race, culture and liberal society

Henk Spaan
Thursday November 11, 2004

The Guardian

As I write this in Amsterdam, yet another press conference is being held on the crisis triggered by the killing of the film-maker Theo van Gogh. It seems the Netherlands is being catapulted from rumour to murder, from arson by white supremacists to grenade attacks by terrorists, from funerals to evacuations because of a possible suicide explosion - all of it live on television with commentary from pundits and politicians.

"What is going on in our country?" our prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, was asked. Mr Balkenende called the arson attack on a Muslim school on Tuesday night "un-Dutch". You could wonder if that were true: the murder of Van Gogh has made a lot of latent anti-Muslim feelings very active indeed.

Van Gogh's cremation service on Tuesday, live on TV, was watched by more than half the total audience. This is a measure of the impact on Dutch society of the brutal slaying of a director whose films and TV shows were, in simple numbers, rarely watched, and whose columns appeared only on the internet and in giveaway publications.

Known he was, though, thanks to numerous conflicts with editors and producers, a few prosecutions and his endless warnings of the "medieval backwardness" of the "goatfuckers", as he called Muslim fundamentalists.

In this he followed in the footsteps of a man he admired, the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, also assassinated, about whom Van Gogh had just completed his latest film. The irony is that Fortuyn - described by some as a racist - was murdered not by a target of his political ideology - as epitomised by Fortuyn's cry "I want my country to be as it used to be when I was a boy". He was shot by a member of a group he only mentioned in subordinate clauses: animal rights activists. "The bullet came from the left," Fortuyn's political successor said.

There are other differences. The political establishment responded with far greater emotion after the murder of Van Gogh than it did after the killing of Fortuyn, who was never part of the cultural or political elite. Fortuyn's mourners were from the inner cities, not the educated middle classes, angry at what they saw as their streets being gradually taken over by allochtonen (ethnic minorities), as opposed to autochtonen, native Dutch.

Van Gogh, on the other hand, was - in spite of his provocative and sometimes extremely offensive behaviour - part of the elite. The Dutch finance minister, Gerrit Zalm, once played a small part in one of his films. Bram Peper, a former minister, spoke at his cremation. His murder was seen as an attack on that elite.

Many people have expressed regret about the failure to take legal action to defend the Muslim targets of Van Gogh's vitriolic attacks, as a Jewish colleague did after he made a series of what were widely regarded as anti-semitic comments. Muslims might then have experienced support from the authorities they fear more than trust.

One motivation behind Van Gogh's obsessive fight for freedom of speech, which he tested to its limits and beyond, was mentioned in his father's televised speech yesterday. He recalled another Theo, his brother, killed by the Germans for his resistance to the occupation more than half a century ago. Theo may have seen fundamentalists - with their beliefs about women, homosexuality, arranged marriages and hatred of western liberalism - as a similar threat.

Far-fetched as this psychoanalysis may be, the fear of a cultural battle is becoming commonplace in our deeply shocked society. Numerous columnists have expressed their reluctance to "say everything" as they were used to do. The writer Harry Mulisch said he doesn't want to live here any more and is moving to Germany, which caused some bewilderment.

These growing fears, on both sides of the population divide, can lead to more violence, a real danger. Why, people ask, did migrants from Indonesia and Surinam adapt effortlessly to Dutch society, while more recent arrivals from Morocco remain so isolated?

Language is one factor, as is education and cultural inheritance. Coming from rural areas of north Africa, many of them undereducated, doing the unskilled labour the Dutch feel is below them. It may be the second generation, or perhaps even the third, that regains the self-esteem required for the integration the government is now forcing upon them, with its ridiculous "citizens' courses" and exams.

The permissiveness of our society is a trait many of us are proud of. But not everyone is fond of it. Signs of the openness of Dutch society can be seen in the small company in Nieuwegein which hosts a substantial number of radical Muslim websites, including that of Hamas. Most of those arrested as suspected terrorists have been released for lack of evidence.

Frankly, I'm not very optimistic. I watch television and await the attack on a very ordinary house in The Hague, supposedly a safe house for terrorists, full of explosives, surrounded by autochtone neighbours. Few are aware that in the near future as much as 15% of the Netherlands' population will be Muslim. The old Dutch society so craved by Pim Fortuyn no longer exists. We will have to live with the one we've got.

Henk Spaan is a Dutch columnist and broadcaster

henkspaan@planet.nl
Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

Source (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1348155,00.html)

Vetinari
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 07:24 PM
Source (http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1348155,00.html)

If this is the typical sentiment in the Netherlands then I am afraid that we will have to consider that nation to be a lost cause. Hopefully the Dutch loss will be a wake-up call to the rest of Europe which currently seems intent on turning a blind eye while the continent is over run by Islamic hordes.

Oskorei
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 08:33 PM
The funny thing is that if 15% of the population is Muslim, the Left dont care at all. "We will have to live with it", "we will learn to live together", "islam is not a bad religion per se" and "multiculturalism", and all sorts of stupidities are strewn around then.

But when 15% of the population becomes Nationalist then it is suddenly a catastrophe. It is NOT possible to learn to live together with Nationalists, Nationalism is a BAD creed per se, and diversity of opinions are BAD if one of those opinions is Nationalist. Why is Islam so much easier to accept than the love of ones own folk?

(rhetorical questions really, the Leftists are self-hating ethnomasochists)

Siegmund
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 09:24 PM
The funny thing is that if 15% of the population is Muslim, the Left dont care at all. "We will have to live with it", "we will learn to live together", "islam is not a bad religion per se" and "multiculturalism", and all sorts of stupidities are strewn around then.

But when 15% of the population becomes Nationalist then it is suddenly a catastrophe. It is NOT possible to learn to live together with Nationalists, Nationalism is a BAD creed per se, and diversity of opinions are BAD if one of those opinions is Nationalist. Why is Islam so much easier to accept than the love of ones own folk?

(rhetorical questions really, the Leftists are self-hating ethnomasochists)
To carry your argument even further, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that Nationalists are characterized by ignorance and hate, with respect both to themselves and to others. By contrast, the agents of legalized cultural invasion (immigrants) are usually portrayed as victims innocently searching for a better life.

Somehow, popular opinion has to come round to seeing that what distinguishes many Nationalists is intelligence and love with respect to themselves and their race. It is not hate to love one's home and to act to repel trespassers or to prefer the continuity of one's culture to its destruction.

gorgeousgal2k2
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 10:41 PM
Wow, what an intelligent way of dealing with problems. "If you don't like it, well, tough!"

Enotro
Friday, November 12th, 2004, 10:56 PM
But when 15% of the population becomes Nationalist then it is suddenly a catastrophe. It is NOT possible to learn to live together with Nationalists, Nationalism is a BAD creed per se, and diversity of opinions are BAD if one of those opinions is Nationalist. Why is Islam so much easier to accept than the love of ones own folk?

(rhetorical questions really, the Leftists are self-hating ethnomasochists)
Leftists are desperately looking for votes.
Cheap labor is good for owners, votes are good for the leftist. Let put a big mask with "multi-culti", "tolerance", "peace" on it, and everybody's content.

Oskorei
Saturday, November 13th, 2004, 11:24 AM
Somehow, popular opinion has to come round to seeing that what distinguishes many Nationalists is intelligence and love with respect to themselves and their race. It is not hate to love one's home and to act to repel trespassers or to prefer the continuity of one's culture to its destruction.
Agreed. The pictures you use as signatures is a good example of such positive propaganda. :thumbsup