Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Van Gogh on America

Courtesy of The Corner, comes this paragraph written by Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh concerning America:

“The dead poor sheep farmers on Sicily at the turn of the century argued that America must be heaven on earth as emigrated family members relayed messages of having meat for dinner everyday. That was a mouthwatering experience for people who could enjoy that privilege maybe once in a lifetime. You can argue that particular instinct to be ‘ordinary’ or ‘superficial’ like so many do here, but it is way beyond me to look down on it. America is hated because it embodies the hope of people that yearn for a better life, to have meat everyday, but also to believe in the God they choose, or not. To say what you want without being persecuted. To be a woman without a veil, with the right to vote, free expression and adultery, without being stoned."

Van Gogh, of course, was murdered last month in Amsterdam by an Islamist fanatic for daring to condemn the treatment of women in much of the Muslim world. As The Corner's Andrew Stuttaford writes:

It is impossible to read those words, and others that you can see up on the site, without being proufoundly moved - and remembering that Theo van Gogh was murdered for his opinions. Slaughtered for speaking his mind. In Europe. In 2004.


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