Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"A girl for the tigers"

A good article about the Netherlands’ loss of Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Mario Vargas Llosa appeared in the liberal NRC Handelsblad yesterday.


With the same clarity with which on other occasions I have applauded Holland for the reforms it has pioneered – euthanasia, de-criminalization drugs, gay marriage – I now declare my disappointment at this shameful surrender on the part of government and public opinion in a democratic country against the blackmail of terrorist fanaticism. In recent times, moral courage and civic integrity seem to be sharply on the wane in the land of tulips.

The winners?

In any case, the affair is a great victory for the Muslim fundamentalists who, like Mohamed Bouyeri about Theo Van Gogh, dream of driving knives into a woman who, with a courage as great as her lucidity and her democratic convictions, has relentlessly fought them, denouncing their anachronism and the infinite sufferings and atrocities that their fanaticism inflicts on their most defenceless victims: Muslim women.

And the loser?

The loser is Holland. It has put up a depressing, deplorable show of moral pettiness and political hypocrisy, dishonesty and cowardice. It seems hard to believe that, in the country where Anne Frank suffered her martyrdom, it is still not clear to everyone that you cannot appease a tiger by throwing fresh, innocent flesh to it and blowing kisses to it – this only tends to whet its appetite and sharpen its fangs and claws.

Wow! Sharp criticism! And what grahpic imagery. Perhaps time for self reflection...

This morning I woke up to the radio playing a song that was popular a few years back, called
"15 miljoen mensen" (15 million people), by Fluitsma and van Tijn. It's about the everything that the Netherlands stands for, with its (then) "15 million people" "on that small piece of land"

Land van duizend meningen
Het land van nuchterheid

[Land of thousand opinions
The land of objectivity

Het land wars van betutteling
Geen uniform is heilig

[The land averse to condescension
No uniform is sacred

15 Miljoen mensen
Op dat hele kleine stukje aarde
Die schrijf je niet de wetten voor
Die laat je in hun waarde
15 Miljoen mensen
Op dat hele kleine stukje aarde
Die moeten niet 't keurslijf in
Die laat je in hun waarde

[15 million people
On that very little piece of land
Who you don't prescribe laws for
Who you leave alone in their value
15 million people
On that very little piece of land
Who mustn't go in a straightjacket
Who you leave alone in their value]

Het land vol groepen van protest
Geen chef die echt de baas is
Gordijnen altijd open zijn
Lunch een broodje kaas is
Het land vol van verdraagzaamheid
Alleen niet voor de buurman

[The land full of groups of protest
No superior who is really the boss
Curtains that are always open
Where lunch is a cheese sandwhich
The land full of tolerance
Only not for the neighbour]

Listening to the text again, and you realise how much the Netherlands and people's attitudes have really changed.

  • Thanks to Frits for the tip!

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