After filmmaker’s murder, Dutch creed of tolerance under siege

Ian Buruma on the effects of Theo Van Gogh’s murder on Dutch society, in the New Yorker:

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.”

Van Gogh often expressed his admiration for the late Pim Fortuyn, the populist politician, who regularly proclaimed that there was no room for a bigoted religious minority in a liberal society, and that “Holland was full.” Van Gogh called Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002 by a deranged animal-rights activist, “the divine baldie,” partly to annoy the bien-pensant liberals, who were quick to denounce any criticism of minorities as racism. His friend Max Pam thinks that van Gogh’s attitude was mixed with professional rage; like Mohammed Bouyeri, van Gogh had trouble getting state subsidies, not for community centers but for his films. Yet there is no getting around van Gogh’s nasty streak.

More here.