May 18, 2006

Not a good week for the Low Countries

First up was the truly atrocious double murder of a Malian woman and a Belgian child in her care, and the murder attempt on a Turkish woman in Antwerpen, all carried out by a family member of an elected member of the Vlaams Belang (the xenophobic party in Flanders).
What amazed me too was the ease with which the just-turned-18 dickhead could walk into a gun shop and buy a rifle to commit the murders with soon after. I thought this was only possible in the redder states of the Union. But apparently not. My punishment would be, as always in murder cases, to offer the culprit a way out of a life to be spent in gaol: put a bullet into your own head if you wish to save a smidgen of your dignity.

Then in the Netherlands, another unedifying spectacle of political assassination. This time of a rather (in)famous VVD party MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. In the middle of a battle for the party leadership, she was accused by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who is one of the VVD leadership contenders, of lying when she applied for Dutch asylum and citizenship in the early 1990s. Ms Hirsi Ali is a controversial politician, who is very critical of Islam and has called for a reform of that faith along Reformation/Enlightenment lines. The treatment of women in Islam is a bug bear for her and she co-wrote the film "Submission" together with director Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered in 2004 for his effort. She has been under constant police protection and living in safe houses to protect her life ever since. The VVD party now thinks she is a liability and seems to be quite happy with getting rid of her. She had been planning to move to the USA months ago, so it's astonishing the internal party power games have caused her to lose her Dutch nationality and have damaged the image of the Netherlands abroad.
Voltaire and Erasmus are spinning in their graves, indeed.

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