“Greatest Dutchman”? You Might Be Surprised

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Yes, EuroSavant has been gone for a while. And what a time for such an absence! Just when the assassination of controversial Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh on the American Election Day touched off a wave of violence and counter-violence against places of religious worship here in the Netherlands, suddenly throwing into question in the eyes of the rest of the world this country’s reputation for tolerance. Have we been swept up too much over here in violent street-pogroms against local Muslims to find time to get to our computers to do a little blogging?

Nothing of the sort, of course; the absence has had more to do with unexpected delays in fully implementing a cable-to-ADSL Internet connection transition, which left me access-less for a while in the meantime. And just to make things perfectly clear: that “street-pogroms” phrase above was nothing more than exaggeration for effect. (Could we call it “blogger’s license”?) There’s been actually nothing more here than occasional night-time vandalism attacks on mosques and Muslim schools and churches. Nothing at all like mobs or a “pogrom,” although those incidents are certainly bad enough, of course, and do raise concerns about where this country is going with relations between various immigrant communities and native Netherlanders. At least rest assured that both the prime minister and the Queen herself are on the problem, paying visits to the right places and speaking calming and reasonable words.

Rather than try to follow the day-to-day incidents, I think mention of another happening, reflecting on the political background, is in order. (more…)

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