Monday, May 15, 2006

Dutch courage?

I love the Netherlands, although more and more I see the changes taking place in Dutch society. Like in the US, they are coming to grips with the practical limitations of their national romantic myths.

One such myth for the Dutch is their place as haven for the politically dispossessed, a tradition which they will proudly tell you, goes back to Jews during the Inquisition. One of the most prominent politicians in Holland is the parlimentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Although a Dutch citizen, Ms. Ali was originally born in Somalia, where she was forced into having her genitals mutilated at age 5 and into an arranged polygamous marriage as a teenager. After a torturous exodus from the Horn of Africa to the Netherlands, she misrepresented herself on some of the byzantine forms needed for asylum. While here she made a partly biographical film regarding her experiences as a woman in an Islamic society called Submission, with the director Theo Van Gogh. Van Gogh was stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street in 2004 by a young mentally-disturbed radical Islamist.

Since then, Ms. Ali has been under constant death threat. First they drive her out of her house – now they are apparently trying to drive her out of her country. She admitted she had lied in her refugee application when she ran for Parliament in 2002, so this is not news to anyone, and now her political opponents want her stripped of her Dutch citizenship and deported. Others say she should be expelled from Parliament. Personally, I would go to Canada if I were her. This European idea of arbitrarily revoking citizenship should be troubling to anyone who is against fascism.

This is needlessly vicious politicking of nationality largely by naively pro-Islam Dutch socialists has so painfully hypocritical to watch. Especially since it seems progressives are trying to assume one of the right's favorite rhetorical tactics: the Trojan horse argument, where you appeal to the values of your opponent by arguing that actually you are on the same side. Here we see the 'conservative' argument (The law must not make exceptions, and similar arguments which drive people to join the Minutemen in Arizona) and wrapping them into a rationale for sending someone to be beheaded as an apostate because they think she is getting 'uppity'? Criticism of a religion should not be considered racist. Of course, its ironic that the party which is most in favor of immigration restrictions has a member with less than spotless paperwork. But this is a reprehensible devolution in tactics.

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