Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The times they are a-changing ..

Bob Dylan was right, in a way. The times are definitely changing. Here, in the lovely, tiny country of Holland things have again changed dramatically. Last week a young guy has killed a Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, who had a very outspoken opinion and did not have the word 'subtle' in his dictionary. Yesterday he was cremated. Luckily he had his funeral all planned out in detail. This prevented hysterical scenes.

In the course of the last week many things have happened. The alleged killer is of Dutch-Moroccan background and the motive is extremist islamitic inspired. This has triggered a lot of reactions. Theo van Gogh has recently made picture about the treatment of women under the Islam. A quite explicit movie. This (and several not so subtle statements about the Islam) has angered a lot of people and death threats appeared on several web sites. His death now is seen by many as a direct attack on the Freedom of Speech. In a so called tolerant society this is something that caused a lot of outrage. Politicians and many others say that this needs to be stopped and that one should strike hard against extremism.

I agree with striking against extremism, but it sounds a bit too familiar. You're either with us or with the terrorists. Yes, we should act and we must act quick and with clear decisiveness. But we should also try to root out the cause of the problem. These extremist acts can be linked directly to the September 11 events and to recent events in Afghanistan, Iraq and Israel / Palestine. It is quite simple: The harder we strike the harder they strike back.

It is a time for thinking and acting, but please do it in the right order.

What really annoys me right now is the events after the killing of Theo van Gogh. Idiots have painted racist slogans on mosques and set fire buildings with islamic schools and other organizations and even a bomb has been detonated. In return a fire was started in a Catholic church. This could go from bad to worse. I think it is amtter of time before something really, really ugly happens. There are more death threats to politicians and other public figures. In return some nice white racists could jumped the wagon and exploit the chaos.

Again: It is a time for thinking and acting, but please do it in the right order.