Thursday, November 11, 2004

Holland's S11 

It seems that Holland is finally waking up:

"Even the most liberal society is illiberal when it is a question of survival. The Dutch see those who dream of Europe under a revived caliphate as a threat to their way of life. The prospect of Islamist imams imposing sharia law on Dutch cities amounts, they feel, to a new Nazi occupation."
(Hat tip: Tim Blair) Sadly, every country needs to experience their own S11 to truly comprehend the danger. For the United States it was two airliners smashing into two skyscrapers; but it doesn't have to be as spectacular and as bloody. For the Dutch it was an artist who was dragged off his bicycle, had his throat slashed and an Islamofascist manifesto pinned to his body with two knives.

Sure, the wake-up call doesn't always work. Spain had its Madrid tragedy, but it was so easy to talk yourself out of it; after all, that's what happens when you keep bad company and do silly things like invading Middle Eastern countries. Since both the Spanish left and the Spanish-based jihadis share the common view of the Iraqi war as illegitimate and unnecessary, Madrid could be interpreted as a graphic reminder of a need to change an unpopular policy rather than a declaration of war.

The difference in Holland was that Theo van Gogh was murdered not because of what Holland does (participation in the war on terror, involvement in Iraq) but because of what Holland is - a liberal Western democracy that is incompatible with demands of theocracy. Van Gogh, who through his work campaigned against mistreatment of women by Islamic fundamentalists, was in that respect the very embodiment of the liberal, tolerant, secular spirit of post-Enlightenment Europe, of which, in turn, Holland was a famous exemplar.

And so, it seems, the good people of Holland are now getting the message: the United States, Iraq or Israel are merely convenient symbols. What it comes down to is who you are - and that, in the end, is non-negotiable.

Make sure to check the Dutch-American blog
Peaktalk, which maintains a very good coverage of the van Gogh murder and its aftermath.


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