Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Dutch F*ck

The act of lighting a cigarette off the lit end of another is known, among other things, as a "dutch fuck". Yet that appellation may apply equally to the nascent fires of intolerance and xenophobia currently threatening to engulf a country more famous for its patina of tolerance than for pitched ethnic strife. The murder of rightwing filmmaker Theo Van Gogh in Holland last week has thrown into high relief the plight of that country's muslim immigrants who often find themselves ghettoized within a society that has done little to accept them and one they have failed to embrace with open arms with either.

In the aftermath, the popular press has already cast the major players: the angry Muslim youth; the heretofore tolerant European society; European identity under attack. Lost is any real analysis of how either community found itself in this position in the first place.

And so insult, begets murder, which begets school bombing, which begets church burnings . . .

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