European elites, like American elites, are having trouble understanding the recent American elections. ?How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?? was the headline in London?s Daily Mirror. Another British paper, the Guardian, actually organized an anti-Bush letter-writing campaign to sway voters in Ohio.
Instead of trying to influence or explain American elections, Europeans ought to be taking a much closer look at what?s happening close to their home, or else one day a headline over here might read, ?How Could 457 Million Europeans Have Been So Blind??
Theo Van Gogh, Vincent?s great grand-nephew, was a filmmaker and, pardon my French, provocateur. He was the kind of artist whose work, if he had been an American, would probably have outraged some Christians, including me.
Christians would have written letters-to-the-editor, picketed his showings, and have insisted that taxpayer dollars not be used to support his work. In reply, Van Gogh?s defenders would have compared us to ?Islamic fundamentalists,? even as his provocations made him rich and famous.
Unfortunately for Van Gogh, he was Dutch, not American, and the people he offended were real Islamic fundamentalists, not Christians. On November 2, a man Dutch police describe as ?an Islamic fundamentalist with terrorist ties? murdered Van Gogh.
The motive behind the murder is believed to be a movie about ?Islamic violence against women? called Submission. The film was produced by Van Gogh and written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch member of parliament and an ?ex-Muslim.? Ali?s criticisms of her former faith include describing the Qur??as ?in part a license for oppression.?
Ali now lives under twenty-four-hour-a-day police protection, protection Van Gogh refused, saying that ?no one can seriously want to shoot the village idiot.? He was wrong.
The Netherlands and the rest of Europe face an enemy within its borders that will use European freedoms to take away the freedom of Europeans. They will avail themselves of continental tolerance to spread intolerance throughout the continent.
As if to underscore this point, a few days after the murder, someone painted ?Thou shall not kill? on a wall as a tribute. Officials sandblasted the message after local Islamic leaders complained that the graffiti was ?offensive? and ?racist.?
The same British Guardian wrote of a ?dangerous rise in racial tension? as a result of the murder and accused the Dutch government of ?fanning the flames? through its efforts to better integrate Islamic immigrants into Dutch society.