Wednesday, November 24, 2004

An Uncomfortable Silence: The Murder of Theo van Gogh

The murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh should be a wake up call to Europe and to our own lefties and artistic community. In his controversial short, titled Submission, van Gogh (the great grandson of Vincent van Gogh's brother and greatest patron) attacks the harsh treatment of women that is found in some fundamentalist Islamic thought -- something most feminist on the left should cheer. Yet, his brutal death at the hand's of an Islamic fundamentalists seems to have garnered no outrage from the usually vocal pseudo-moralists in Hollywood, who strut on to their oversized soap box at the thought of a film portraying Islamic terrorist, yet remain stunningly quiet when a fellow filmmaker is killed for protesting violence against women. The lefties seemed to have taken no notice as well. An online search of The Nation resulted in one article and it blames the death on “the messianic clash-of-civilizations rhetoric coming from the White House.” Unbelievable, I just don’t get this. How can the left think that a democratically-elected president that has helped free one country from a fundamentalist theocracy and another from a Stalin-worshipping thug is the second-coming of Hitler (there is plenty to criticize Bush for, but let’s be real), yet not say a word about a filmmaker, yes a filmmaker associated with anti-immigration elements in Europe, that was killed by a religious fundamentalist because he was promoting women’s rights? How did the left get so far off track? Secular Europe, lefties, Hollywood, and the rest of the artistic community should realize they and our cherished freedom of expression would not survive in the world envisioned by Osama and his ilk.


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