The Netherlands: discovering multiculturalism has limits Posted by: McQ
on Monday, March 13, 2006
Apparently the Dutch have decided that they're no longer interested in allowing migrants into their country which have difficulties with the Dutch culture and its mores.
Two men kissing in a park and a topless female bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to The Netherlands.
The reactions of applicants will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the country's liberal attitudes.
From Wednesday, the DVD — which also shows the often crime-ridden ghettos where poorer immigrants might end up living — will form part of an entrance test, in Dutch, covering the language and culture of Holland.
Those sitting the test will be expected to know which country Crown Princess Maxima comes from (Argentina) and whether hitting women and female circumcision are permitted.
Muslim leaders in Holland say the film is offensive.
Of course Muslim leaders find the film offensive. That's the point. To guage how offensive a potential immigrant may find the culture and, obviously, to bar them if it appears it will hinder their ability to assimilate. Or said another way, the intention here is to ensure those who are granted the privilige of entering Holland will at least be tolerant of the most profound differences found in the culture. The Dutch can't force acceptance, but they certainly can refuse entry to anyone who cannot find it in themselves tolerate such behavior.
Now I'm not sure this is a particularly good way to screen potential entrants to Holland, but I can certainly understand why Dutch officials are trying this out, given the Theo van Gogh murder by unassimilated Muslim extremists. When immigrants feel free to attempt to impose their culture and it's values through violence, it's time to take a hard look at how those with opposing values have found their way into your country.
"It really is a provocation aimed to limit immigration. It has nothing to do with the rights of homosexuals. Even Dutch people don't want to see that," said Abdou Menebhi, the Moroccan-born director of Emcemo, an organisation that helps immigrants to settle.
"They are trying to find every pretext to show that people should not come to The Netherlands because they are fundamentalist or not emancipated," he said. "They confront people with these things and then judge them afterwards."
No it doesn't have anything to do with the rights of homosexuals, but it has everything to do with toleration. The message here is "this is tolerated and you're expected to tolerate it as well, and if you can't, we don't want you". Now, whether you agree with the issue or the method, the point is important. Immigration isn't a right. And the Dutch, probably the most liberal and tolerant country in the world, are saying that this is an integral and accepted part of their culture and those who can't or won't tolerate it aren't welcome.
How intolerant, eh? Or is it? A culture is "the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought" within a country or region. It defines a "people" or in many cases, a nation. We've watched France, over the preceding years, wage a war to preserve (and extend) it's culture, especially from outside influences (mostly that of America). Culture wars have been waged for centuries among various peoples. What Holland is attempting is direct action to reverse a trend that has allowed the establishment of an unassimilated and intolerant alien culture within its borders.
Dutch judges convicted nine men Friday of belonging to a terrorist group, a landmark verdict that concludes promoting a violent version of Islam can itself be an act of terrorism.
The case opens a new way for prosecutors to stop potential terrorists and for the Netherlands to tackle the broader problem of the spread of radicalism among Muslim youth.
Lawyers for the men said they will appeal.
Two men received 15- and 13-year prison terms for attempted murder after a clash with police during their arrest. One received a five-year term for possessing a loaded machine gun.
The rest were sentenced to up to two years in prison. All were found to have spread hateful propaganda among their friends and on the Internet, encouraging Muslims to join a holy war against the West.
As the Dutch are learning, toleration has its limits and not all cultures are equal, both of which fly in the face of the multicultural mantra which is pushed so assiduously by the progressive side of the house. As the Dutch have discovered, some cultures are dangerous, violent and intolerant. When they are allowed to establish themselves within an existing and dominant culture and when its members remain unassimilated, they naturally attempt to change the very fabric of the dominant culture to something more like the alien culture to which they belong. Tolerance of such a culture (by the dominant culture) is like unilateral disarmament. It gives the alien culture free-reign to overwhelm and overcome the traditional dominant culture.
So it appears that the Dutch have finally recognized the limits of cultural tolerance. They've apparently also come to understand that the promise of multiculturalism is a false promise. Whether their methods will work or their fight to reclaim their culture will succeed remains to be seen. But they've at least recognized the problem and are taking steps to address it. One wonders if the rest of Europe will adopt similar measures in defense of their unique cultures.
An interesting analysis of the Dutch new Immigration policies and procedures. As a Dutch person living abroad, I am very much confronted with our aim for liberalism, multiculturalism and tolerance.
One aspect in your analysis is very often overlooked, and that is Respect for another human being. Respect is the very cement of any multicultural society. I agree with Mr. Menebhi, that 95% of Dutch people do not enjoy to see two guys kissing in the park, however there might be a higher score for a topless lady on the beach.
The utter lack or respect for islamic-based cultures displayed in the newspaper cartoons on prophet mohammed recently is a cold result of the "in your face" blunt culture, equivalent of "telling each other the truth", a highly appreciated value in Dutch culture, which is regarded as disrespectful in most other countries (and I agree). So, while "educating" the people immigrating into the Netherlands, maybe we can save some room for Dutch people learning about respect for others at the same time.
Jan, I have to disagree with you. It is no disrespect for another person if you find that his culture is offensive. Personaly I like several muslim friends. But I have NO RESPECT for things like Slavery (still practiced in some muslim cultures), female genital mutilation, Dhimmitude, and Jihad. The Dutch are good just like they are, (maybe a little too socialist, but I wont Quibble) You should be proud of your culture and even more proud that alone among Europeans, your people have finaly decided not to just lay down and die.
So, while "educating" the people immigrating into the Netherlands, maybe we can save some room for Dutch people learning about respect for others at the same time.
Perhaps. But respect for cultures works both ways, Jan. How respectful is murder?
Holland is one of the most culturally tolerant societies on earth. My point in highlighting this effort (and as I say, I don’t necessarily agree with the selection of images or the method) is to say even with the most tolerant western society, there is finally stark recognition that there are limits to tolerance.
Until recently, I think many Dutch might have wished to argue that point.
Respect is great, but respect doesn’t extend to contorting oneself into being universally unoffensive. For one thing it’s impossible and for another thing many of the actions and behaviors that people find offensive are largely avoidable by the offended. Finally, I’d say that when someone demands an end to an avoidable offense or else, the only rational response is to aggressively defend and counter.
I would be hard pressed to imagine a more disparate mix of peoples than the Dutch and the immigrant Muslims who have arrived in their midst in recent years. Now that is a sweeping statement. And I am not prepared to show my ignorance of the finer cultural distinctions that underlie the current problems there. Except to say that when I was last in Amsterdam in 1973, the Netherlands was an acknowledged model of civility, great artistic heritage, and culture (in its broadest sense),widely admired for its success at achieving a workable society confined geographically to extremely "tight quarters". In those days, the key (the mantra) to keeping things running smoothly, cheek by jowl, was "co-existence". A wonderful conceptual word that seemed to spring from the liberated energy of the times, both here and abroad. How wise the Dutch society to adopt this philosophy. To practice acceptance and tolerance of others, to live and let live at its most noble level. To successfully manage the balance between social responsibily and individual freedom of expression had to have been a hallmark of liberalism worthy of any such experiment in history, and regarded by many as perhaps as close to Utopia as you are going to get. It worked,and the people dug it.
In 1973, the Netherlands welcomed the world. But the world today is a different, meaner place. There was, is, so much of the admirable Dutch way worth preserving. It is a further symptom of fomenting international distrust and chaos, and a very sad day for all peace loving citizens of the world when the Dutch are accused of being intolerant of the intolerant.