Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The betrayal of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Sam Harris and Salman Rushdie write:

Hirsi Ali may be the first refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. As such, she is a unique and indispensable witness to both the strength and weakness of the West: to the splendor of open society and to the boundless energy of its antagonists. She knows the challenges we face in our struggle to contain the misogyny and religious fanaticism of the Muslim world, and she lives with the consequences of our failure each day. There is no one in a better position to remind us that tolerance of intolerance is cowardice.

... The Dutch government should recognize a scandal in the making and rediscover its obligation to provide Hirsi Ali with the protection she was promised. There is not a person alive more deserving of the freedoms of speech and conscience we take for granted in the West, nor is there anyone making a more courageous effort to defend them.

My readers may recall that I'm averse on principle to making Holocaust analogies which have little merit other than inflame and feed some people's sense of abject victimhood. But this is one case where the analogy suggested by the authors of this article is aptly descriptive. When I read a few days ago about the scandal of Hirsi Ali's imminent exposure to Jihadist wrath, her frantic travels between the continents in search of a safe place to live and do her work, I remembered that film, Voyage of the Damned:

"937 Jewish Germans are offered safe haven in Havana, Cuba, in 1939. They depart Hamburg in high spirits, looking forward to their new life. However, the whole voyage is actually a Nazi propaganda scheme and the passengers are never really intended to be allowed ashore once they reach their destination. After weeks of unsuccessful pleas they are forced to return back to Europe. "

Like those passengers, Hirsi Ali's life is threatened by the proponents of a murderous ideology, and like those passengers, she has become a liability and an undesirable person, with almost nowhere to go or to hide from the jihadist wrath.

History always plays tricks on us, and the general plot is repeated while the details and context are so different that we are in danger of overlooking the moral outrage that is being re-enacted right in front of us. But we shouldn't kid ourselves; Hirsi Ali is being vomited from the safety and respectability of the society that had promised her sanctuary, to fend for herself, when there is a clear and present Death Sentence hovering over her head. Noone should minimize or deride the threat, with her patron, Van Gogh's death still fresh in our minds.

And from The Van Der Galiën Gazette

The concerted effort to terminate Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s relationship with her adopted motherland came to a conclusion in Dutch parliament yesterday. My latest column summarizes the affair and looks at the latest revelations:

Hirsi Ali must have sensed that the mechanics of the debate were not working in her favor and her lawyer released a series of confidential documents right before the debate, much to the annoyance of the government. They make for good reading.
[…]
Yet, the most astounding piece to come out of these documents is the fact that during one of these security-evaluation meetings Hirsi Ali was advised to seek psychiatric counseling. Hirsi Ali declined this offer – something which the government apparently was willing to fund – by replying that in case her mental condition would require ‘counseling’ she would just as well contact a good friend.

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