maandag 8 oktober 2007

Hitchens on Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Hitchens is outraged at the Dutch government's decision to discontinue funding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's bodyguards while she is in the US, mentioning it in the same breath as the events at Srebrenica in 1995 and calling on readers of Slate to register their feelings with the Dutch ambassador.

I personally don't see why the Dutch state should pay for the security of the American Enterprise Institute's personnel. I don't give a damn about the American Enterprise Institute. It can go to the moon for all I care. I don't expect any constructive suggestion from it to deal with the issues the Netherlands - and Europe in general - are currently facing.

If Hirsi Ali had stuck to her guns in her political fight with immigration minister (now turned right-wing populist bulldozer) Verdonk, and stayed in the Netherlands and stayed in the parliament, she might have provided some intellectual content (not to mention dignity) to the secularist criticism of multiculturalism. Probably wishful thinking, to be sure. And we'll never know. Because Hirsi Ali didn't stick to her guns, didn't stay in parliament but went happily off to America. To work for the American Enterprise Institute or something. Kind of a disappointment, really. And the secularist, Islam-critical discourse in Dutch politics she might have contributed further to is now dominated by a conspicuously fascistoid variety of "secularism".

I recall when as schoolkids in the early to mid-nineties, we would organize demos against Neo-Nazism - which was then a menacing but very marginal phenomenon, mainly restricted to the former eastern part of Germany as well as maybe fifty idiot skinheads in the Netherlands. But what we then considered as discourse on the slippery slope to Nazism seems positively moderate now. With all kinds of degenerate would-be followers of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh out-doing each other in radicalism - going as far as to seriously propose banning the Quran and calling upon Muslims to tear it up to prove their loyalty. Enlightenment values, I guess. Oh, and becoming the second-biggest party in the gallups for it, too.

And this is the dominant political discourse in the Netherlands at the moment. This is what makes the headlines. Forgive me if I am a mite sceptical about the "ongoing attack on our civilization" Hitchens mentions. Let's say that I see it coming mainly from the other side.

As left-leaning youth growing up in the largely white, Christian and monocultural Dutch countryside, we were of course very naive about the very real problems that would eventually lead to the meteoric rise of Pim Fortuyn - and the troglodytes that now want to step in his footsteps. As an ideology, multiculturalism is dead. Our sovereignity has been taken over by a religiously and culturally faceless European Union which our political class doesn't dare ask our opinion about. We simply lack the ideological tools to found the co-existence of ethnically diverse groups in the Netherlands upon some kind of common national identity, national idea, etc. We never did - the previous co-existence of various religious factions in the Netherlands was mainly a "living alongside" one another. And we can't get back to that. So now we're headed to some kind of regressive conflict based mostly on skin colour.

I think we crossed a line when, in 2002, a social democrat politician in Amsterdam used the Dutch expression kutmarrokanen - which does not sound quite as bad in Dutch as the literal translation ("c*nt-moroccans") would suggest, but is not really nice either. Overnight, a racist slur became salonfähig, kind of trendy even, a sign you were not going to be silenced by those muslims threatening our civilization and their spineless Leftist fellow-travellers. Now think of how the second-generation of Moroccans, whose fathers cleaned your schools and picked your fruit and manned your factories, and who are caught between an old culture that is not theirs anymore and a new one that is distinctly unwelcoming, think of how they feel about that. And then tell me on how to get back to solving our problems in a sensible manner.

Fortunately we have Christopher Hitchens telling us what to do.

You know, I am getting slightly annoyed by British and American neocons, "Decent" Leftists and Not-so-decent Rightists telling us what to do. Especially because their own contribution to solving the conflict apparently consisted in bombing the crap of a poor country and then letting it slide into a murderous tribal civil war-cum-terrorist training ground. I mean, that really helped. The lack of political hindsight with people like Hitchens is so brazen as to be almost admirable. I mean, I would hardly dare touch a pen myself after such a blunder.

If Hirsi Ali is in America, working for the American Enterprise Institute, let the Americans pay for her security. If she is in the Netherlands, she can have a small army paid for by the state to protect her, as far as I am concerned. As can Geert Wilders. Or sensible ex-Muslims. Or non-sensible ex-Muslims. Or drawers of racist cartoons - their freedom of speech should be unconditionally protected. As should that of idiots who like to refer to Moroccans by the name of female genitalia, or those who find mirth in making those oh-so naughty and risque allegations concerning Mohammed and paedophilia. If not for a matter of principle, then for the practical truth that the country probably can't really deal with another political murder. But let's not make pretensions about defending our civilization or all that crap. That battle has been fought and lost, far as I am concerned.

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