|Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville
Monday, November 08, 2004
The Evil at the heart of liberal tolerance.
“If maverick Dutch journalist and moviemaker Theo van Gogh was a fundamentalist believer in the right to free expression, his 2 November murder may have been his very own 'martyrdom operation'. Rohan Jayasekera comments on the disturbing legacy of a man who believed in free speech, whatever the consequences”.
First Van Gogh’s links to the great impressionist are flagged up “descendant of the mad genius Dutch painter”. Ah you see descendant of madness, well its obvious the fellow was mad as well innit? But they key to this disgraceful argument is a Dutch word and concept “Gedogen, another. It means tolerance, but something else as well - like a kind of polite endurance of something unpleasant”. In fact I couldn’t think of a better explanation of the word tolerant. What Jayasekera doesn’t seem to understand is that it is impossible to tolerate something you agree with. For somebody to act with tolerance, then that person has to start from a position of at the very least disliking the thing tolerated. Otherwise what we are talking about is approval, which is another thing altogether. Approval, Jayasekera’s default position is easy, tolerance is very difficult, and something admirable.
There are a number of instances of official; Dutch racism cited then an extraordinary statement
“Van Gogh's juvenile shock-horror art finally led him to build an exploitative working relationship with Somalia-born Dutch MP Ayann Hirsi Ali, whose terrible personal experience of abuse has driven her to a traumatizing loss of her Muslim faith. “
I wonder if this peon of liberalism (tm George’s Galloway and Monbiot) ever spoke to the MP in question? From what I understand she is not the sort of person to be “exploited” by anybody. Except maybe western liberals who wish to pigeon hole her as some victim. Between them the filmmaker and the politician made a film that posed stark questions of the no-doubt culturally valuable practice of female circumcision, and did it in a way that brooked no argument. What is more they did it in a way that was calculated to upset the mainstay of Muslim opinion, in much the same way that much modern art is calculated to upset Christian opinion. But this according to Index on Censorship is “An abuse of his right to free speech”.
And his punishment for this abuse
“A sensational climax to a lifetime's public performance, stabbed and shot by a bearded fundamentalist, a message from the killer pinned by a dagger to his chest, Theo van Gogh became a martyr to free expression. His passing was marked by a magnificent barrage of noise as Amsterdam hit the streets to celebrate him in the way the man himself would have truly appreciated.
This is disgusting. I am not sure if this body is publicly funded, but if it is then some questions have to asked.
posted by Eliab | 9:17 pm