Kommentar

Medredaktør av det en gang så anerkjente Index on Censorship, Rohan Jayasekera, skrev en kommentar om Theo van Gogh og hans død, som har opprørt mange.

Jayasekera skriver at van Gogh surfet på bølgen etter Fortuyn, hvor det ble lov å si nærmest hva som helst om innvandrere. Han var Nederlands svar på Jerry Springer, den amerikanske TV-provokatøren. Så nærmest iscenesatte han sin egen død. Fabelaktig! skriver Jayasekera. Han har fått svar.

Men først: debatten leder tanken tilbake på debatten rundt ayatollah Khomeinis drapsfatwa mot Salman Rushdie. Også den gang var det folk som forsvarte fatwaen. En mann som Arild Haaland skrev at man måtte forvente en kniv i magen hvis man fornærmet en annen gruppes tro. (Han elsker selv å provosere andre) Spørsmålet ble stilt den gangen: går den kunstneriske frihet foran respekten for andres tro? Svaret var ikke like opplagt som man gjerne vil tro. Reservasjonen er kanskje enda sterkere idag: Denne filmen, Underkastelse (og ikke Underordning som norske aviser kaller den), var den ikke nødig provoserende?

De samme journalistene som ikke leer på øyelokket når kunstnere dissekerer, provoserer våre oppfatninger, har full forståelse for muslimers sensibilitet. Det er et merkelig paradoks.

La oss ta en kunstner som Bjarne Melgaard, som har sans for Armani-dresser, norsk black metal a la Mayhem, og homoerotikk med voldelige overtoner. Hans tegninger blir uten videre vist i norske aviser, selv om jeg umiddelbart vil betegne dem som ubehagelige. Det var den samme Melgaard som laget videoen med en mann som suger på en barnearm, en film som ble politianmeldt av organisasjonen Expo i Sverige.

Noen foreløpige tanker: Våre egne taber er avskaffet. De finnes knapt som gruppe betraktet. Å bryte dem på idéplanet er en anerkjent metode. Nærmest opphøyet. Å protestere mot det er nærmest forbudt.

Men den samme salongradikalismen rykker ut og forsvarer de høyst levende tabuene hos nye folkegrupper som lever blant oss. Noen går endog så langt at de forstår når provokasjoner resulterer i mord. Da har man forrådt sine egne idealer og begått selvmord.

Men hvor går grensene? La oss konstatere at det er tendenser til å operere med to standarder: en grenseløs toleranse som gjelder vestlig kultur, og høyst levende tabuer som gjelder særlig muslimer. Det er for å si det forsiktig – ikke uproblematisk.

Den innfødte eliten forsøker å rekruttere medlemmer blant de nye innvandrerne: det skjer med de beste forsetter om representasjon og integrasjon. Men den liberale eliten har en tendens til å adoptere rekrutter med de samme medlemmer som dem. Dermed skapes en ring av høflighet rundt ømtålelige temaer: de ubehagelige sannhetene man tidligere kunne lufte overfor innfødte, kan nå stemples som uhøfligheter, eller tendenser til rasisme! Det ultimate våpen.

Jeg ser tendenser til at det er fra etablerte kretser man begynner å bruke ordet «hvit» om europeiske/norske innfødte, når det vitterlig dreier seg om kultur. Knut Olav Åmås skrev i Dagbladet lørdag at det på toppene i norsk samfunnsliv var «hvitt, hvitt, hvitt». Han brukte også ordet Festningen Norge. (Husker han Festung Norwegen?)

Folk med liberale synspunkter kvier seg ikke for å bruke ordet «hvit» fordi de står på den rikrige siden. De gangen jeg selv har følt meg fristet til å bruke det, har jeg rygget tilbake: det føler instinktivt at du krysser en grense.

Nå er ordet kultur og rasisme dukket opp med full tyngde, og vi trenger å sortere begreper og fenomener, erörtern, som tyskerne sier.

La oss ta hva Jayasekera skrev om Theo:

The September 11 attacks on the US set the perfect stage for Van Gogh , a man who addictively cultivated controversy. Holland had looked on its million non-white and Muslim fellow citizens and cried out with fear, so Van Gogh made films and wrote books that celebrated this horror.

He reminded them that gedogen had failed. Like Fortuyn he sought out his fiercest critics and provoked them into maddened fury. Cleverly he would often seek out the most extreme and ignorant opponents for his public battles, reinforcing the perception that only the extreme and ignorant opposed him.

The inevitable violence of their response was grist to his mill. He reinforced Fortuyn’s achievement of turning debate on minority rights and integration into a baying dogfight. Theo van Gogh became the Jerry Springer of Dutch political discourse.

The result, to use a word that doesn’t need translating into Dutch, was bullshit. In the wake of Fortuyn’s death and across Van Gogh’s stage came some of the most ardently stupid opinions in Europe.

Dutch politicians, social scientists, policemen, teachers, journalists, all fell over themselves to reduce complex issues of migration, race, religion and social responsibility to idiot sloganeering.

The late mayor of Tilburg, Johan Stekelenburg, said that in the case of black people of Caribbean descent, the law «should not be slavishly followed». Dutch supermarket tycoon Jan Blokker called on police to launch an ‘arms race’ with black robbers. Rotterdam police chief Jan Wiarda tore up 500 years of Dutch jurisprudence and urged judges to single out non-white defendants for tougher sentences – on the grounds that they could expect worse in their former home countries. Instead of the sack he got ministerial support.

These cretinous positions were then celebrated by the Dutch media for their supposed defiance of censorship. The European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations has reported that Dutch media coverage of minorities is one-sided, negative and tends to focus on their lack of Dutch language skills rather than their real social problems.

The idea that poverty and racism might have a part was dismissed as ‘political correctness’

Free speech fundamentalist
on a martyrdom operation

Jayasekera nevner sosiale faktorer som opphav/forklaring til muslimers problemer med nederlandsk samfunn. Som tittelen antyder: van Gogh iscenesatt nærmest sin egen død.

Fortuyn and van Gogh freed the Dutch from responsibility to rationally debate the country’s cultural crisis. So without fear of further disturbing already ravaged public sensitivities, applaud Theo van Gogh’s death as the marvellous piece of theatre it was.

Han underkjenner seriøsiteten i det de to gjorde. Hvor grov og fortegnet denne fremstillingen er, gikk først opp for meg av denne kommentaren:

Dear Rohan Jayasekera: I am a journalist and a former Dutchman (now a naturalized U.S. citizen). I’ve also long served on the First Amendment Committee of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In 1996, I was one of 50 recipients of a Civil Liberties Award from the ACLU Foundation for challenging the 1996 Communications Decency Act in court. (Newsweek called it «perhaps the most important free speech issue in the last quarter of this century.») My opposition to censorship, and my dedication to freedom of speech, is one of the 2_kommentar themes of my personal and professional life. I’m not mentioning this to impress upon you just how high my horse is, but I thought it instructive to let you know where I’m coming from. Hey, you and I are in the same camp, right? Not on your life. I read your article on the murder of Theo van Gogh, and find your assessment of his work and his character cartoonish and disturbing — but not half as sickening as your conclusion that Theo somehow had it coming. Look, I won’t even go into your puerile dismissal of Theo’s views, and Fortuyn’s — you call them «bullshit» without even making a cursory attempt to explain them. And asserting that Theo was «the Jerry Springer of Dutch political discourse» also doesn’t deserve my intellectual engagement. Schoolyard taunts never do. I do want to make this point, however. No matter how you, Rohan, try to slice it, shush it, sanitize it: Both Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh were brutally slaughtered because they dared express their thoughts. DO YOU NOT CARE? If you do, you have a very odd way of showing your outrage. If you don’t, then why on earth are you collecting a paycheck from an organization that’s a prominent free-speech bulwark? I am flabbergasted that Index on Censorship would run on article that, rather than rising to the defense of these victims of the *ultimate* censorship, takes the side of the murderers. I’m trying to keep this as polite as possible, but I was sorely tempted to write, as my subject line, «Dude, what the f***?!» Try as I might (and I have), I don’t understand you. So «Van Gogh roared his Muslim critics into silence with obscenities»? Yes, Theo roared, as was his absolute prerogative. The people he roared against roared right back, as was *their* absolute prerogative. Under the perfectly robust Dutch constitution, everyone has the right to congregate, to demonstrate, to write, to publish, to pamphleteer, to inspire, to agitate, to preach, to march. In the Netherlands, you can probably even break a few windows in righteous anger, or burn an effigy, without necessarily finding yourself in a police cell ten minutes later. But any exchange of ideas stops, of course, as soon as someone puts a gun to an opponent’s head and squeezes the trigger, in the name of some supposedly unassailable faith. Theo was shot multiple times at point-blank range. The killer then almost severed Theo’s head with a knife. He plunged the blade into his victim’s chest. Theo, I assure you, is now quite dead. So tell me again, Rohan: Who silenced whom? Rogier van Bakel

Speak now or forever
rest in peace…

The Netherlands: Death of Theo van Gogh – Free speech fundamentalist