Monday, November 08, 2004

Realiteit Check

Dept of: If that idiot Bush was right, then what kind of idiots are we:

AMSTERDAM - For many in this Dutch city, the war on terror came calling just five days ago. That is when a 26-year-old Dutch-Moroccan national emptied a magazine of bullets into the body of a filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, outside the bucolic Ooster Parc, slit his throat, and spiked to his chest an ominous five-page letter promising a new holy war.

The letter warned of "screams that will cause chills to run down a person's back, and make the hairs on their heads stand straight up."

"People will be drunk with fear, while they are not drunken. Fear will fill the air on the Great Day," the letter read. "I know that you, Oh America, will go down. I know definitely that you, Oh Europe, will go down. I know definitely that you, Oh Netherlands, will go down."

The letter sent a frisson of horror through a nation that, until last week, liked to think of itself as the liberal and tolerant heart of Europe. In the wake of van Gogh's execution, many local politicians, from a Somali-born former Muslim member of Parliament to the Jewish mayor of Amsterdam, have either gone into hiding or taken to traveling with bodyguards.

Lawmakers are considering an emergency law that will allow authorities to revoke the Dutch nationality of dual citizens suspected of terrorist activity, so they can be deported. Suddenly, ethnic Dutch are looking at their Muslim neighbors through narrowed lids and are suspicious of the terror within.

"It was tense before, but the murder brought so many things out into the open," a woman, Caroline Houton, said as she washed beer glasses in a pub off one of this city's grand canals. "We've always considered ourselves so open-minded and inclusive that we didn't think we'd ever be targets in a holy war. That happens to big powers, like America, and now, suddenly, it has happened to us."

And it's not over.

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