Monday, March 14, 2005

60 Minutes On Theo Van Gogh-Almost Exactly What You'd Expect

Anyone in the political blogosphere (plogosphere?) could probably tell you who Theo Van Gogh was. The Dutch filmmaker and provocatuer was murdered in cold blood as he rode his bycicle in Holland by an enraged Muslim extremist in protest of his short film "Submission", which was written by a Muslim woman, that declares that Islam can be abusive to woman and featured some images of passages of the Koran written on a woman's body. He was killed because it offended the sensibilities of the extremist and others like him. Van Gogh's murder touched off a massive, sometimes violent debate in Holland about how the world's most tolerant, open culture should deal with the culture of extreme Islam that tolerates nothing and permits no free speech. This murder occured five months ago. On the sidebar of this page we have a picture of Mr. Van Gogh. The blogs and some conservative outlets were the ony ones in America to note his passing, as mainstream newspapers and TV pretty much ignored it. At the Oscars, Van Gogh didn't even get a moment "In Memorium". I'm sure when he dies, child rapist Roman Polanski will get an ovation. But that is not the point here.

The point is that last night 60 Minutes finally ran an extended piece on Van Gogh's murder, Holland's reaction, and the first interview with the very brave woman who wrote the screenplay for the film, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is a member of Dutch Parliment, is Somali by birth, was raised Muslim and still believes in her faith. She is under constant guard and threats come in all the time aimed at her, yet she retains her belief in what she has written. I was impressed a great deal with her, more so after the rather awful interview conducted by Morley Safer. The conservtaive film blog LIBERTAS ┬╗Libertas has some of the interview transcribed and it seems that Morley Safer ans CBS are more concerend that extremist Muslim population of Holland should not be offended than Ms. Hirsi Ali's right to free speech and life. Look to the transcript at some of the questions the Safer asks. He sounds like he's accusing her of trying to make the poor Islamists mad and that they should be free to beat their wives. He almost seems to be asking Ms. Hirsi Ali is she thinks Van Gogh got what he deserved.

Libertas also has up a response to the interview from the American Jewish Congress that sums up the awfulness of Safer's report. It is rather sick, and Hirsi Ali's resoutleness in the face of not just the awful questions but the accusatory tone of the interview is remarkable. She stood by every one of her beliefs and refused to be baited by Safer. In America it seems that we always have a new free speech cause celeb, usually someone who says thoughtless offensive things that are meant to get people angry, but not to think. This woman is a true hero of free speech. She provokes to provoke thought and discussion, to focus attention on problems and get her country to change it's ways. People want to kill her to silence her. Free speech has found a new hero in this woman, a real hero, and more's the pity that 60 Minutes seemed to think she should be silent.

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