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Ian Buruma beskriver Nederland post-van Gogh. Buruma har nederlandske aner og kjenner landet. Hva har skjedd?

Først skisserer han innvandringen. Den numeriske utviklingen: En som slo alarm på begynnelsen av 90-tallet var den tidligere leder av det liberale partiet, og EU-kommissær helt til november ifjor, Fritz Bolkestein.

in the early nineties, he began to warn about the possible consequences of an uncontrolled influx of Muslims. The foreign-born population of Amsterdam was growing at one per cent a year. At that rate, he said, the 2_kommentar Dutch cities would have Muslim majorities in a decade or two. The government policy at the time was «integration while 2_kommentartaining identity.» In practice, the idea was to deal with Muslims much as previous Dutch governments had dealt with Protestants and Catholics, by creating another «pillar.» Bolkestein disagreed, and wanted to have a debate.

Sitting with Bolkestein in his new office in the center of Amsterdam, I asked him to recall the days when he spoke out against the government policy. «The policy was complete nonsense, of course,» he says. «I wrote a piece in 1991 saying that integration would not work if our fundamental values clashed with those of the immigrants: separation of church and state, for instance, or the equality of men and women. Those things could not be negotiated, not even a little bit.»

Men Bolkestein ble skjelt ut som rasist og følte seg en stund fysisk truet. Det var Pim Fortuyn som vekket nederlenderne. Etter årtier med toleranse, var det nok.

It was as though the Dutch, having looked the other way for so long, had woken up to a problem and were now demanding a radical solution.

Det gir noe av forklaringen på hvorfor reaksjonene på Fortuyn og van Goghs død ble så sterke.

Nederlenderne hadde latt staten støtte religiøse skoler i 19. århundre for å dempe motsetningene mellom protestanter og katolikker. Den samme fremgangsmåten brukte man overfor muslimer: de fikk også støtte til sine skoler.

Buruma nevner noe annet viktig: okkupasjonen. At nederlenderne så 100.000 av landets jøder bli sendt østover. 100.000 av i alt 140.000. Det blir ikke nederlenderne ferdig med. Theo van Gogh var svært opptatt av fortiden. Hans familie hadde deltatt i motstandskampen. Både faren og broren hans deltok i motstandskampen. Onkelen ble skutt. Nå oppfattet Theo van Gogh at de totalitære var på marsj igjen. Han hatet «kollaborasjonen», feigheten.

Van Gogh often referred to the war in his writings. «The jackboots are on the march again,» he wrote of the Islamists in Holland, «but this time they wear kaftans and hide behind their beards.» The Dutch officials, social workers, and politicians who appeased them were, in van Gogh’s eyes, akin to collaborators. A frequent target of his abuse was Amsterdam’s mayor, Job Cohen, who has tried to preserve civic harmony by making a show of treating Muslims with respect and understanding. «If anyone has not learned from ’40-’45 how unwise it is to want to live with marching jackboots who demand ‘respect,’ it’s the mayor,» van Gogh wrote. Cohen, as it happens, was among the «Jewish masters» whom Mohammed Bouyeri singled out as enemies of Islam.

For van Gogh, the worst crime was to look away. One of his bugbears was the long-standing refusal (since abandoned) of the Dutch press to identify the ethnic origin of criminals, so as not to inflame prejudice. He saw this as a sign of abject cowardice. To show respect for Islam without mentioning the Islamic oppression of women and homosexuals was an act of disgusting hypocrisy. In a free society, he believed, everything should be said openly, and not just said but shouted, as loudly and offensively as possible, until people got the point. It was not enough to call attention to illiberal Muslims; they were to be identified as «goat-fuckers.»

Nasty streak
Yet there is no getting around van Gogh’s nasty streak. When the novelist and filmmaker Leon de Winter, whose work often revolves around his Jewish family background, managed to get public money for his projects, van Gogh detected cynical manipulation and sentimental cant. «Hey, it smells like caramel today—well then, they must be burning the diabetic Jews,» he wrote, mocking what he saw as a Jewish cult of victimhood. He described the Jewish historian Evelien Gans as «having wet dreams» about the Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele. In the guilt-ridden land of Anne Frank, there is a certain amount of strained piety about such topics, but van Gogh’s response had all the subtlety of the Dutch football hooligans who find it amusing to abuse an Amsterdam soccer club known as «the Jews’ club» by mimicking the sound of escaping gas. Van Gogh seemed to regard delicacy as a sign of fraudulence, and in this he spared no one; Jesus, in his book, was «that rotting fish in Nazareth.»

Buruma besøker Amsterdam-Nord, en av de fattigste bydelene, hvor det bor mange marokkanere. Her treffer han Paul Scheerder, en tidligere pressemann som har giftet seg med en marokkansk kvinne og konvertert. Han driver et krisesenter for kvinner og barn. Han forteller noe svært interessant om hvordan verdener blandes:

Scheerder tells me that he has seen boys like Mohammed Bouyeri, who seem all right one day and then suddenly go berserk. «People watch Moroccan and other Arab television stations,» he said, «and they see the Americans as the greatest criminals in history.»

This is the problem. Although Theo van Gogh was Dutch and was killed by a Dutch citizen, in the end this is not just a Dutch story but a Middle Eastern one imported to the heart of Europe. Mohammed Bouyeri, and hundreds like him, have plugged into a wider world of violent Web-based rhetoric and terrorist cells. The integration of Muslims in the Netherlands has not been a greater failure than anywhere else. But the country may have been less prepared for the holy war.

De drikker te. Scheerder forteller at det er stor frykt blant marokkanerne for hva som kan komme til å skje. Når de tar avskjed forteller han om et innslag på marokkansk TV om Theo:

Then he mentioned a news segment about Theo van Gogh on Moroccan TV, and an interview it had featured with a Moroccan immigrant in Amsterdam. I asked Scheerder what the man had said. He thought for a moment and spoke softly: «He said that his death was just, and that he was punished by God.»

The New Yorker: Fact

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