Back to the Netherlands, while waiting for my flight

*** The other major event while I was in Europe last week happened in the Netherlands. Somali born, Dutch naturalized, parlamentarian, activist and author Ayaan Hirzi Ali decided to call it quits and move to the US (unhappily coaxed by and into a conservative DC think ank). Here’s sign&site’s summaries of the event in the German news:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali to leave the Netherlands

Dutch politician, author, filmmaker and Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali has announced she is leaving the Netherlands to forestall a threatened expatriation. The reason: she is said to have given a false name and date of birth in filling out her application for political asylum.

Writing in die tageszeitung, Jan Feddersen believes the alleged reason for Hirsi Ali’s threatened expatriation is just a pretext: “Hirsi Ali, 36, is no softy who’s so proud of Western secularism that she prefers to say ‘dialogue’ to avoid riling people. Her caustic, often insulting criticism of the leftist, green alternative mainstream in her country – who love immigrants as long as they make pretty music and enrich Europe’s menus with fine foods, but prefer to remain silent about patriarchal customs and conduct – has won her many enemies. And she is also no friend of the Muslim communities, for whom she is a self-assured pain in the neck.”

Henryk Broder reports in Spiegel Online that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has already been stripped of Dutch citizenship in a coup d’etat by her fellow party member, Minister for Immigration and Integration Rita Verdonk. “The question remains why this has all exploded only now. The answer is as banal as it is surprising. Because last Thursday on the social-democratic VARA television station, the 40-minute documentary ‘The Holy Ayaan’ was shown. The VARA reporters travelled all the way to Mogadishu in Somalia to unearth information they could just as well have found in the archives of their own programme: that Ayaan Hirsi Ali long ago admitted to fudging her application. ‘This affair is a scandal for our country, for all of Europe. Voltaire and Erasmus are turning in their graves,’ laments Afshin Ellian, professor for the philosophy of law at the University of Leiden.”

In an article in the Neue Zürchner Zeitung titled “The Moor has done her duty” (a quote from Schiller’s ‘Fiesco’ which continues “The Moor can go”) the journalist “de” comments on Hirsi Ali’s decision to leave the Netherlands. “Hirsi Ali, the parliamentarian, was feeling the long-term consequences of her political engagement among the self-satisfied and the self-righteous. She made large numbers of enemies and lived underground in a democratic country. It was enough to cope with the Muslims and the Islamists who were unable to bear the ignominy of being criticised by a woman, especially one born a Muslim; much worse were her political opponents, opportunists and her quiet-life-seeking neighbours for whom she was increasingly becoming a burden. They brought her to her knees with a mountain of accusations and court cases, and also forced her into isolation within her own (liberal) party.”

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