Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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( 'Nother Solent is this blog's good twin. Same words, searchable archives, RSS feed. Provided by a benefactor, to whom thanks.
I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The riders of Rohan. Many of you will have seen a now-famous post in which Harry of Harry's Place expresses his astonishment that an article by Rohan Jayasekera suggesting that Theo Van Gough had it coming should appear in Index on Censorship of all places. Time was when the Index on Censorship, along with Amnesty International and the National Council of Civil Liberties, as the latter two were called before this fashion for one-word names, were the pillars of liberalism. The old gods fall.

I would like to have directed you to read Mr Jayasekera's piece yourself to check out whether you think my description of it is accurate. However the link within Harry's post now takes you to a page of responses rather than the original article, and the search function of the Index website keeps timing out.

Mr Jayasekera is equivocally repentant. He admits that he had no basis for saying that the working relationship between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Theo Van Gogh was exploitative other than his own bubblethink inability to believe that an immigrant could possibly make an informed, independent decision to support Pim Fortuyn's party.

I do though regret making presumptions about Ayann Hirsi Ali. It did seem like a faintly exploitative relationship to me. To me something seems not right about her association with a political party with policies that are so inimical to her fellow Somalis in the Netherlands, as well as to so many others. But in speaking for her for the purposes of my own argument, I think I was treating her no more fairly than van Gogh did.
He might have added, but didn't, that his assumption that she was traumatised by her rejection of Islam was equally presumptuous. Judging from this interview she dropped it with little regret - what bothered her was not her apostasy but the danger it involves.

Although I would rather the link still took you to the original article, the responses are worth reading in themselves. One of the commenters, Brian Murphy, said:

Theo Van Gogh did not die of natural causes: he was murdered, but you know this, and yet you describe his brutal murder as 'a marvellous piece of theatre'. As the author of this marvellous theatre, the Islamofascists will no doubt wish to repeat their performance on other artists, whose views they dislike.