Chrisopher Hitchens is disgusted with the Dutch government, and calls on Americans to stand behind Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Ayaan Ali Hirsi
If any country has enjoyed a long reputation for peaceful and democratic consensus combined with civic fortitude, that country is the Netherlands. It was one of the special countries of the Enlightenment, providing refuge for the family of Baruch Spinoza and for the heterodox Pierre Bayle and RenÃ© Descartes. It overcame Catholic-Protestant fratricide with a unique form of coexistence, put up a spirited resistance to Nazi occupation, evolved a constitutional form of monarchy, and managed to make a fairly generous settlement with its former colonies and their inhabitants.
Tons of people are asking how to pitch in and help Hirsi Ali pay for private security. Here’s her AEI page and public contact info:
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
American Enterprise Institute
1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
In the last few years, two episodes have hideously sullied this image. The first smirching was the conduct of the Dutch contingent in Bosnia, who in July 1995 abandoned the population of the U.N.-protected “safe haven” at Srebrenica and enabled the worst massacre of civilians on European soil since World War II. Dutch officers were photographed hoisting champagne glasses with the sadistic goons of Ratko Mladic’s militia before leaving the helpless Muslim population to a fate that anyone could have predicted.
Those of us who protested at this slaughter of Europe’s Muslims are also obliged to register outrage, I think, at the Dutch state’s latest betrayal. On Oct. 1, having leaked its intention in advance to the press, the Christian-Democrat administration of Jan Peter Balkenende announced that it would no longer guarantee the protection of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
To give a brief back story, it will be remembered that Hirsi Ali, a refugee from genital mutilation, forced marriage, and civil war in her native Somalia, was a member of the Dutch parliament. She collaborated with Theo van Gogh on a filmâ€”Submissionâ€”that highlighted the maltreatment of Muslim immigrant women living in Holland. Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street in November 2004; a note pinned to his body with a knife proved to be a threat to make Hirsi Ali the next victim. Placed inside a protective bubble by the authorities, she was later evicted from her home after neighbors complained that she was endangering their safety and then subjected to a crude attempt to deprive her of her citizenship. Resolving not to stay where she was not wanted, Hirsi Ali moved to the United States, where she was offered a place by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and where the Dutch government undertook to continue to provide her with security. This promise it no longer finds it convenient to keep. The ostensible reason for the climb-down is the cost, which involves a basic 2 million euros (not very much for a state), which can admittedly sometimes be higher if Hirsi Ali has to travel.
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