Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spastic Beeb (no I'm not being offensive for the sake of it- read on)

I came across this BBC whimsy recently- a little dig at Dutch Prime Minister Jens Peter Balkenende.

Now these things always intrigue me because there are numerous little embarrassments or moments of supposed self-revelation, gaffes and the like, going on continually all over- so what, I ask, makes the BBC choose one over another?

Well obviously if the gaffe concerned GWB that would not be a sensible question, but sometimes in other cases it's interesting.

Aside from the fact that Balkenende is a 'devout Calvinist'- meaning, I imagine, that he is one, in BBC speak; aside from that it may just have to do with another recent focus of BBC interest: a study which basically condemned Dutch society as intolerant and, regarding such matters as assimilation of Sharia law, 'spastic'.

As DFH pointed out, when the BBC report the controversy they prioritised the story rather strangely. Instead of leading with the specifics which have caused controversy, for example the recommendation to accommodate sharia law, and that to negotiate with terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbullah internationally, the BBC merely reported that 'A new report submitted to the Dutch government has sparked controversy by arguing that Islam does not conflict with either human rights or Dutch values.'

It seems to me that most of the public would say that being 'not in conflict' with Islam is not the same thing as allowing for the incorporation of its laws or the endorsement of its goals. Although the BBC report later in the article about 'reaching out' to Islamofascists (actually, believe it or not, not the word they used), this is not presented as a cause of controversy, when it was. Indeed, it was not incidental to the report's impact, but central to it. If the summary headline contradicts the main story then the headline is wrong.

It seems the BBC think that Holland has got a touch of the Denmarks- ie., that the Dutch are tending towards 'bigotry' too. The next thing you know they'll be drawing naughty cartoons. As the BBC say:

'In a country traditionally seen as one of the most liberal and tolerant in Europe, Islam and Muslims are now viewed with suspicion.'

What is wrong with this sentence is that it dogmatically places an historically conditioned notion of tolerance (the old easy come-easy go immigration-led multi-culti merry-go-round) in opposition to latter day Dutch 'suspicion'. If things have deteriorated, I would ask who has caused the deterioration (a link off the sidebar to an article about the murder of Theo Van Gogh may give a clue)

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