Published on Sun 29 Oct On 2 November , Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh was shot in the stomach while cycling to work. Buruma quotes the remarkable statistic that in , 45 per cent of the population of Amsterdam was of foreign origin. If current projections are correct, this will be 52 per cent by Holland is, in some senses, a special case, but the question this book poses is one that is becoming urgent all over Europe: how to make such people and, in particular, second- and third-generation immigrants, feel at home in secular, liberal societies where many customs and values seem to flout and even mock their own? A rebel with a noxious turn of phrase, he rallied to the side of anyone who was prepared to defy convention.
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Start your review of Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance Write a review Shelves: kindle , crime-and-trial , amsterdam-rotterdam , freedom-of-speech I believe in freedom of speech. The right to speak I believe in freedom of speech. The right to speak your mind is a very important right. Yes, I can understand how those cartoons are hurtful; yes, if you feel its necessary march, protest, and boycott.
But why are you killing that guy who had nothing to do it? Why firebomb the newspaper? And no rape or death threats. And leave children out of it. When Theo Van Gogh was murdered, it made the news even over here. I followed the case in a haphazard way, interested in how the Netherlands I had visited twice before would change after the murder. I picked this book up for much the same reason, and it was one sale.
Buruma seems to be moved by much the same question of change, and he is far more knowledgable than I because he was raised in the Netherlands.
The intent behind this book seems to be a desire to examine the culture and society both before and after the murder. To look at causes and effects. At times, Buruma seems to dance close to the line of blaming Ali and Van Gogh, especially when discussing the film Submission which is seen as the spark. But to see this book this way is too facile an assumpation. Buruma might disagree with Ali on some, if not all, of her points, but he seems to respect her immensely.
Buruma, at times, seems a bit conflicted in a thesis for the book. It is more than a cultural war, he seems in part to argue that in some ways it is a cultural vaccum. He seems to be a mix of both what Americans would consider Conservative and Liberal.
At one point, Buruma describes him as a giant walking penis. Feeliing conflicted seems to be a good thing. If anything, Buruma seems to feel that the problems are caused by a "welfare state" that for good or bad intentions, sections off a part of its society.
He seems to interview anyone who is connected to the question and reveals some intersting ideas - perhaps American society is better suited for immigrants, Dutch schools are not required to treat national history. The best part of his book is the last section, where the people he seems to interview offer the best analysis.
Here, we have streakers who get tasered. After the murder of the provocative Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Muslim extremist, Buruma went back to his homeland of the Netherlands to interview people of all different backgrounds about the place of Muslim immigrants in European society.
Just as relevant today as it was a decade ago.
Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance
To face the facts beyond the veil
Murder in Amsterdam