Hva betyr arrestasjonen og rettssaken mot tegneren Gregorius Nekschot? Nederland er kjent som ett av verdens mest liberale land. Da Pim Fortuyn ble drept (6. mai 2002) var det det første politiske drap i Nederland på flere hundre år. To år senere ble Theo van Gogh slaktet (2. november 2004). Man skulle tro nederlenderne ville slå ring om ytringsfriheten. I stedet blir en tegner halt ut av sengen midt på natten og puttet i kasjotten. Hva skjer i Spinozas hjemland?

Skribenten Arthur Legger forsøker i en artikkel å forklare. Først bakgrunnen:

Surely on Tuesday night, the 15th of May, somewhere in Amsterdam, somebody hammered on the door of Gregorius Nekschot, «a pale and polite little fellow» (Elsevier, 6 June 2008). A force of 10 heavily armed policemen stormed up the stairs, yelling «OPENMAKEN», then, without waiting for him to open his door, rammed it in, lifted him from his bed, handcuffed him, dragged him down and hurled him into the armoured van. They also took his computer, his mobile phone, his books, letters, cd’s, dvd’s, and shoes (?). Nekschot (an alias which means «shot in the back of the head» – the favourite way of the Nazis to execute members of the Dutch resistance – was thrown into a prison that contained a concrete platform to sleep on (no blankets) and a hole in the ground to piss in. He was interrogated twice and imprisoned for 33 hours. Nekschot was not wanted for murder: he was accused of drawing and publishing cartoons «of an extremist nature, expressly towards Islam». During the second interrogation he was told that his cartoons «were even worse that the Danish ones,» and that they now knew his identity «and would publish it, if he would not cooperate» (HP/De Tijd, 23 May 2008, page 27). In an interview with journalist Thieu Vaessen of the highly respected journal HP/De Tijd, Nekschot states that he is seriously afraid that the police will substantiate their threat and that, for his own safety, he has to censor himself (HP/De Tijd, 23 May 2008, page 27-29; the cartoons of Nekschot are on YouTube).

Dagen etter var det full oppvask i parlamentet:

The outcry of disbelief in the Dutch Parliament on the 16th of May over the cartoonist’s violent arrest (the first of its kind since the Nazi occupation), mainly came from the traditional Liberal Party of Mark Rutte and the new kid on the block, Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom, and it merely seemed to strengthen the Minister of Justice, the devout Catholic Ernst Hirsch Ballin from the Christian Democratic Party, in his decision: «Mr. Nekschot was urgently wanted since he published his Sickening Jokes in 2005. Three years ago he has been accused of contemptuous blasphemy, racism and discrimination. He is finally found and will now be prosecuted» (Elsevier, 16 June 2008). Three years to find a publishing cartoonist is, however, a very long time – especially when the person lives and works in downtown Amsterdam and answers his e-mail promptly. Also, although Nekschot uses an alias, he is a renowned figure and was very much admired by the Theo van Gogh – the pestilence of everything proper. During the weeks after his arrest it became clear that there was something extremely fishy about Hirsch Ballin’s explanation.

Justisminister Ernst Hirsch Ballin fra Det kristeligdemokratiske partiet.

Nekschot selv mener forklaringen ligger i noe som skjedde fire dager før han ble arrestert: da debatterte nasjonalforsamlingen Geert Wilders film «Fitna. The Movie». Regjeringen hadde gått høyt opp på banen og ønsket å stanse filmen, men fant ikke noe legalt grunnlag for det. I stedet ble Nekschot en erstatning for å vise handlekraft.

«They have been working on my file for a very long time. It took them three years to take action. Perhaps it was some sort of back up file, ready to use if other dossiers exploded.»

Elsevier: «You mean: when the charges against Geert Wilders didn’t work?»

«Yes, exactly. Probably the case against Wilders has become too difficult for the Department of Justice. Why else would my dossier suddenly become so urgent? They have followed me for three years, why now, why this way … they’re toying with my safety!»(Elsevier, 24 June 2008).

Det nye Nederland

Ballin og Balkenende trakk helt andre konklusjoner av Fortuyns død enn forsvar av toleranse og liberalitet. De ville skjerpe blasfemiparagrafen for å unngå konflikter og konfrontasjoner. De mente – slik det har vært sagt av ledende politikere i Norge – at det nye samfunnet krevde nye regler: man måtte vise hensyn.

Det gikk ikke gjennom i 2002, men 6. mai i 2008, på Fortuyns dødsdag, fremmet de forslaget på ny, og nå i en enda mer omfattende form:

From the elections in 2002 onwards (actually, from the moment that Pim Fortuyn, the brilliant challenger of the Dutch political system, was coincidentally murdered), Balkenende has called for «the resurrection of our traditional morals, in which applied respect for religion and proper behaviour are the core elements». Balkenende’s cry for strictness, control and censorship was even spurred on by the murder on Theo van Gogh in 2004. A week after Van Gogh was butchered the Prime Minister, inspired by his party member Hirsch Ballin, pressed his then Minister of Justice, Donner, to re-enact the archaic law on «slanderous blasphemy», which had not been applied since the late 1960’s. Balkenende did this to help the orthodox Islamic and orthodox Christian population in the Netherlands to defend their religion in court against critics such as Van Gogh. In 2004 Parliament didn’t back Balkenende. Yet in 2008 Hirsch Ballin, a peevish hawk wearing velvet gloves, tried again. Backed by the new Cabinet consisting of Christian Democrats (CDA), Christian Unionists (CU) and Social Democrats (PvdA) he proposed on the 6th of May (the same date Fortuyn was shot) even to widen the application of the law on «slanderous blasphemy» and to include «other ideologies, holy books and core values»; slanderous blasphemy would not only entail «God» but also «the believers themselves» (Elsevier, 24 May 2008; De Volkskrant, 15 June 2008). In short, in future Wilders will be prone to prosecution, whether he merely criticizes the Islamic ideology or the individual believers.

Statsminister Balkenende, også fra Det kristeligdemokratiske partiet.

According to Hirsch Ballin, the Netherlands was a different country in the 1970’s: «When the diversity in the philosophies of life was less and the population was more uniform.» Clearly «Islam has taken root and hence the law has to change to protect the sensitivities of the Islamic populace» (Elsevier, 24 June 2008). In view of the agenda of Balkenende and Hirsch Ballin to reform the Netherlands to their liking, this position hands them the perfect pretext to tighten the leash. Balkenende’s and Hirsch Ballin’s vigorous attempts to re-enact the law on «slanderous blasphemy» shows that to them freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press have to give way to the protection of religious sensibilities. Small wonder that Hirsch Ballin is strongly supported by the Christian Unionists – a party of Providential Calvinists who sternly oppose any modernity and religious mockery and look upon Islamists as adherents to a high-strung morality – like the one they pretend to profess. Of course, the social democrat Wouter Bos, Minister of Finance, stated on Friday the 9th of May that this law would not pass if it were up to him. But the new reality was already put in effect. Less than two working days later, on Tuesday the 15th of May, Gregorius Nekschot was dragged from his bed. By contrast, in Dutch mosques extremist imams are still free to preach whatever they want –using the pretext of religion.

Sosialdemokratene løftet ikke en finger for å forsvare Nekschot. For dem blir han et hår i suppa, en som forstyrrer den flerkulturelle idyllen.

In the Cabinet, the Parliament and the city not one Social Democratic politician lifted a finger. This was so conspicuous and painful to Karin Content Schaapman, rising star of the party and member of the Amsterdam town council, that she resigned and left the party. Thus far she has been, however, the only one. During the annually PvdA congress on the14th of June 2008 the party leader, Wouter Bos, also Minister of Finance, re-emphasized their goal: «Our litmus test of credibility is our successful program of integration» (De Volkskrant 16 June 2008).

Forklaringen på sosialdemokratenes taushet er to årsaker, som henger sammen: en ideologisk og en demografisk.

Nederland er et annet samfunn: Det er én million muslimske stemmeberettigede og flere vil det bli. Det er denne virkeligheten sosialdemokratene innstiller seg på. De har dessuten fått et maoistisk parti til venstre for seg, som uten blygsel appellerer til de nye nederlenderne. Men i farten kaster sosialdemokratene ut mye bagasje, deriblant viktige prinsipper. Det sender også et signal.

It is a demographic fact that in the major four cities, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, in ten years from now 70 pct. of the populace will be of Moroccan and Turkish heritage. To head off the steadily growing new Socialist Party of neo-Maoists Agnes Kant and Jan Marijnissen, its those future votes the PvdA wants to win and keep. The Social Democrats do not want to run the risk of alienating this powerful constituency by backing a mocker of Muhammed such as Nekschot.

Denne realignment, denne omstillingen er også synlig i sosialdemokratiene i resten av Nord-Europa. Frykten for å støte er nærmest metafysisk.

Handler om integrering

Nekschot-saken handler dypest sett om integrering og hva slags samfunn Nederland skal være. Regjeringen signaliserer at den må ofre ytringsfriheten for å integrere muslimene. Men hva sier de muslimske politikerne? To av de mest kjente er Ahmed Marcouch, som har gått for å være moderat, men som den senere tid har overrasket med ønsker om særbehandling.

With the new road now opening up, rising stars in Dutch politics grab their opportunity. Ahmed Marcouch (PvdA), chairman of Amsterdam-West, advocates for the introduction of Islam into public schools, separation of boys and girls during school swimming, acceptance of headscarves and burkas, and the introduction of Creation next to Darwin.

Den andre suksesspolitikeren med innvandrerbakgrunn, er Ahmed Aboutaleb. Han er statssekretær og tør å kritisere sine egne, dvs. marokkanerne.

Until recently Marcouch was regarded a moderate just as Ahmed Aboutaleb (PvdA), Minister of Social Affairs. Aboutaleb had the nerve to call for the sacking of Amsterdam’s most extremist imam Fawaz Jneid – which, of course, never happened. Marcouch, however, «unmasked himself» the leading (and leftist) Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool writes, and proves to be «a wolf in sheep clothes» (Het Parool, 14 June 2008).

Tofik Dibi fra De Grønne anklaget Marcouch for å øke segregeringen i samfunnet.

Tofik Dibi, of the marginal Green Left party, stated in Parliament that Marcouch furthers segregation:

«To the list of all prejudices concerning muslims, Marcouch managed to add a new one: all muslims want, in fact, an education based on Islam and the clear line between public and private schools means nothing to us. The opposite is true. Most Islamic parents send their children to public schools and not to private, Islamic schools. And they do so for a reason: they do not want Islamic inspired education. They want good education and integration. The religious education is something which has to happen in the privacy of the household or the mosque and not in the public sphere» (Metro, 9 June 2008).

Ahmed Aboutaleb, med marokkanske røtter, er en av de mest fremgangsrike politikerne med innvandrerbakgrunn.

I et direktesendt debattprogram om «Fitna», sa Aboutaleb åpenhjertig.

«My father,» Aboutaleb said, «moved with his family and me from Morocco to Holland to flee oppression and embraced the opportunities of freedom. Today I am very sorry to see that the Dutch Moroccans and the Dutch themselves are less free than 35 years ago. At least I know this: the Dutch Moroccans did this to themselves.» It was a heartfelt slip of the tongue, which the leaders of the PvdA did not appreciate. Hence, Aboutaleb, a political careerist, didn’t back his observation during the debates on Wilders and Nekschot. In fact, during a current mission to Morocco, Aboutaleb was praised by the Moroccan government and press for «how well he represents our country in another country»(De Volkskrant, 10 June 2008). With an intellectual elite that is still conspicuously struggling with even its own loyalty and integration, the regular Dutch Moroccan or Turk, who pays taxes, has a mortgage, wants good education, goes for a stroll in the park, is left in the dark; and has to witness that currently his cultural context in Holland is more traditional than the one in Casablanca or Istanbul.

Det er en situasjon som er gjenkjennelig i flere andre europeiske land: den tradisjonelle eliten rygger tilbake fra ubehageligheter, dvs. konflikter i skjæringspunktene mellom mennesker og kulturer, og de liberale stemmene fra nye kulturer merker at de står uten støtte. De nye som gjør karriere må falle tilbake på de tradisjonelle miljøene de kommer fra. Å stå alene er for slitsomt og farlig.

Ledende politikere faller tilbake på en kultur hvor det å unngå risiko blir et poeng i seg selv. Balkenende og Ballin er representanter for denne linjen hvor man søker å oppdage trusler i forkant.

Looking for an explanation for Balkenende’s and Hirsch Ballin’s behaviour, the eminent Dutch reporter Bart de Koning of the high brow journal HP/De Tijd states that which triggers the two is the fear of running risks:

«Ever since 9/11 and our actions in Afghanistan our society, and Balkenende expressly, are obsessed with risk prevention. Reality is no longer in charge, but the fear that something might go wrong is. The content of Fitna did not matter, but the risk of attacks did. And the same goes for the story of Gregorius Nekschot. … Risk and censorship are now part and parcel of the policies of Balkenende’s Cabinet. Arie Slob, chairman of the Christian Unionists stated last week in De Volkskrant that a Charter on Responsible Citizenship is needed, in which the citizen obligates himself «not to abuse his freedom of speech». Clearly this is a euphemism for self-censorship. The Cabinet is even more outspoken and will rephrase the law to allow prior censorship. … The Government wants the power to act when «the insult will probably will have consequences for the public sphere». The arrest of Nekschot shows that this law has in fact is already been put into effect» (HP/De Tijd, 23/05/08).»

Holland’s Systematic Campaign against Free Speech

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