The gist of pieces and comments was one and the same: "Shame on the Dutch". Personally, I'd like to ammend that: Shame on the Dutch government. The Dutch themselves have precious little say in the matter, as we have in other important stuff. We are (or, more formally, will be) part of a post-democratic EUnion, in which the masses need to shut up and do their 'betters' biddings.
But generally the Dutch are not all that enamored by the present government. The latest opinion polls have the current coalition standing at 61 out of a 150 Second Chamber seats (NL), a staggering (in Dutch politics) 15 seats short of majority.
Anyway, this story obviously made the mainstream media in the US. Two of the most outspoken pieces were written by Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post and Christopher Hitchens for Slate.
Miss Applebaum pretty much calls it at she sees it: The Dutch government is pre-emptively surrendering.
And once again, the Dutch will be confronted with the facts that Hirsi Ali remains a Dutch citizen; that the threat to her life comes at least in part from groups based in Holland; that she lives abroad because the Dutch political situation forced her to; and that when she speaks out, she does so in defense of what she believes to be Dutch values.Christopher Hitchens urges his readers to contact the Dutch embassy to register ones outrage.
Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech. Resources will be found, and she will recover. But will Holland?
The Dutch parliament debates this question later this week, and I hope that its embassies hear from people who don't regard this as an "internal affair" of the Netherlands. If a prominent elected politician of a Western country can be left undefended against highly credible threats from Islamist death squads, what price all of our easy babble about not "appeasing terrorists"? Especially disgraceful is the Dutch government's irresponsible decision to announce to these death squads, without even notifying Hirsi Ali, that after a given date she would be unprotected and easy game.It is not easy being Dutch these days. One always hopes that the politicians one has voted to be represented by display a measure of backbone, principle and moral righteousness. In this day and age that point of view is easily dismissed as naive, and maybe it is. But I do not believe that in a time when the Netherlands, Europe and the world is threatened by danger, real danger of massive bloodshed, either in war or in submission, we can afford an elite of rulers that does not rise above the level of mediocre day-care nannies.
And as the polls prove: Nor am I the only one. Pim Fortuyn argued decisively the bankrupcy of the Dutch poldermodel. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, without aiming to do so, showed this bankrupcy in practice. And the masses are fleeing the political centre and look for refuge on the radical fringes. This does not bode well for the immediate future...
[UPDATE001] Trust the Danes to be as good as their word: Alex Ahrendtsen, substitute mayor of Odense, has offered Hirsi Ali a safe haven (NL).
With his idea Ahrendtsen anticipates a law proposal with which Denmark wants to designate places where threatened freethinkers will find refuge. Local politicians in Odense have already decided that the city will become such a safe haven. "I thought: Why not start ambitiously and invite the woman that has suffered the most in the name of freedom of opinion", says Ahrendtsen.[UPDATE002] Gates of Vienna has the story in EN.