Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Going Dutch has a new meaning ...

.. and it ain't nice.

Since the brutal killing of Theo van Gogh a lot of disgusting things have happened in our dear little country. We have seen attacks on Islamic schools, mosques and churches. All as reaction on the extremist, fundamentalist background of the killing of the not-so-subtle film maker. Then we have seen a day long siege of a house with a couple of suspected would-be terrorists.

Going Dutch (already with a negative meaning) has now a new and even worse meaning to it. The simple minded violent and racist/discriminatory reactions on the killing and these reactions are now the Dutch Way. That in a country that has been so tolerant throughout the ages. At least, that's what we try to convince ourselves of by repeating it over and over again. Death threats to politicians with outspoken opinions are conceived as something normal. Something that goes along with the job. Something they had coming. If they wouldn't have had such an outspoken opinion then they would not have been threatened!. It's their own bloody fault!

Well, this is the atmosphere that still exists. After all these years. We have been so tolerant (lax) that we have allowed sub cultures to grow and grow that defy all that we think is part of our heritage: freedom of speech, equal rights for women, homosexuals, Muslims, Christians, Jews and non-believers, our tolerance. We (the political correct, civilized society) have even disallowed people critizing these sub-cultures. We have allowed these group to live among us, but outside our rules and moral values.

This is what has come to. There is in our society a group that is so easily insulted because they have a low pain level for taking criticism. They see every remark as an attack on all Muslims and all mosques and Islamic organizations.

I know I am risking my life here when I say that the soft approach of the past decades have led to this and that we should now push harder for this group to become part of our society. To be able to accept criticism and also to conduct some internal self control. To accept and practice our constitution. That means equal rights for all: women, homosexuals, Jews, non-Islamics. That means learning our language. That also means that if they feel insulted that they take the legal route and not the violent route.

Let's try to be Dutch again.