The foolish Dutch
On October 14, a female police officer was working in the police station in the Amsterdam neighborhood of Slotervaart. Her job that day: she had to help civilians at the counter. She had helped several people that day when a 22-year old Moroccan Dutch, Bilal B., entered the office. He walked towards her, jumped over the counter, pulled a knife and stabbed her in her neck. When she fled, he stabbed her twice more in her back. A male colleague tried to help her, but to no avail: he too was stabbed by Bilal, in the neck and chest. The heavily wounded female police officer felt that there was only one way to stop Bilal B. from killing both her and her colleague, pulled out her gun, and shot the attacker. Bilal B. died.
Shortly after the attack and death of Bilal, reports came out that he was a troubled young man: he suffered from schizophrenia, he was institutionalized in the past and even committed voluntarily the week before the attack, saying that he was suicidal. After one day, however, he escaped from the mental hospital, a run which ended in his premature death. But there was more. Bilal also had contact with members of the terrorist group the Hofstadgroup. Dutch intelligence officers had kept an eye on Bilal and had even considered `stalking' him. This means that they would monitor his behavior, but not just yet, they would let him know that they were watching him. It had been decided, however, that although he had contact with Hofstadgroup members, it was not necessary to devote much time and attention to him.
Following the attack, the two severely wounded police officers were brought to the hospital where they underwent surgery. Shortly after, word came out that their lives were no longer in danger. Instead of mourning the loss of Bilal B. - by all accounts a tragic figure - and celebrating the survival of the two police officers, Moroccan youth took the streets, burned down cars and attacked the police station in their neighborhood, destroying windows and, generally terrorizing Slotervaart. It even got so bad that the president of the neighborhood Slotervaart, Marcouch (who is of Moroccan descent himself), called on the police to adopt a zero tolerance policy.
Strangely, however, the police in Amsterdam refused, for a long time, to do so. They favored a `soft policy' which meant that they hoped that Slotervaart's `buurtvaders' (the neighborhood fathers who serve as an `example' to the children of immigrants because they're integrated well and generally behaving in accordance to the laws of this country) would talk to the Moroccan-Dutch youth who were terrorizing the city. The police thought that the buurtvaders would be able to calm things down.
Ironically, the buurtvaders agreed with Marcouch and wanted the police to arrest the trouble makers and to use force if necessary. The buurtvaders understood that there is only one thing these thugs listen to: power. The police, sadly, did not. The result is that Moroccan-Dutch thugs terrorized Slotervaart three nights in a row, burning down cars in front of police officers and destroying whatever comes in their way.
This continued until Wednesday night, October 17 when finally, the Dutch police decided to act and arrested eight individuals. However, although they were arrested, the youths were released shortly afterwards which enables them to cause trouble time and again. According to the head of the police in Amsterdam, there are some 35 Moroccan-Dutch delinquents between the ages 12 and 15 at the core of the violence and he has now warned the rest of the country that what happened in Paris last year, may happen here now as well. Obviously, the intention of the police is to prevent that from happening, but in order to do so, the youths causing the trouble, breaking the laws and burning down the cars, have to be arrested and taken off the streets, and not treated with kid gloves.
What we have learned from the riots in France is that the police has to act immediately. If they allow the rioters to go on for a couple of days, until things are so bad that even the most conciliatory elements in the government considers it necessary to act, they've already waited too long. Whatever the police do at that point will only serve as fuel on the fire. Right now, there is still time to act, but the police should do what the buurtvaders are urging they should do: get tough, starting now. Pulling them off the streets the one night, only to put them back on the following morning is neither tough nor effective.
We Dutch have displayed enough patience with our badly integrated Moroccan-Dutch minority. We have displayed enough tolerance, we have given them everything they wanted except for a second Morocco. Zero tolerance should be our policy from now onwards; not just in Amsterdam, but in the entire country.
Permissiveness is degrading English civility
To understand the opening comments below, you need to know that Rugby is a form of football favoured by middle to upper class Brits while "football" (soccer") is working class. The bad behaviour of English soccer fans abroad is notorious. The author, Janet Daley is American born. Her surname is Irish. It is unlikely that an English person would comment on class differences so forthrightly. She is nonetheless a frequent writer in English conservative publications
So the England rugby fans apparently managed to find their way out of Paris without wrecking a single bar, overturning a single car or bottling a single South African supporter - let alone waging a pitched battle on the Champs-Elysees with a squad of armoured police. Even those who arrived without tickets, drank with abandon and were reduced to sleeping rough in the streets - a sure-fire prescription for carnage if this had been a football World Cup - made no trouble for the authorities.
There are a few commentators who staunchly insist that this is not about class: that the difference between what Dave Tattoo and his mates would have done to Paris after losing a football World Cup final, and what the sad but non-violent rugby fans did, is nothing to do with the ugly social divide that still pervades Britain.
Well, delude yourself if you like - but this is about class. What confuses the issue now is that class is not all about money. Many thugs who travel abroad in fervent pursuit of the ultimate football fan's trophy - a charge of grievous bodily harm - are high earners, at least by the standards of their parents' generation. (After all, how else could they afford the trip?)
But what is so devastatingly depressing is that the class barrier in Britain is so immutable that even relative affluence cannot touch what lies at the heart of it. Since I arrived in this country, there has been a succession of optimistic prophesies about the end of the class system. When I got here in the 1960s you were in the midst of one: a great wave of creativity had arisen from the proletarian provinces - John Lennon and David Hockney, John Osborne and Kingsley Amis. Surely this was the dawn of a new age of egalitarian meritocracy in which it was positively fashionable to have working-class roots? Look at the photographs of the England football team who won the World Cup in 1966. How respectable and middle class they appear - and how gentlemanly was their behaviour on the pitch by comparison to the rich sociopaths who now dominate the game.
Whatever happened to the decency and civility that was personified by Bobby Moore and the Charlton brothers? What happened to the desire of young working-class men to rise above the violence and borderline criminality that lay in wait for people of their backgrounds whose self-discipline was allowed to slip?
It disappeared under a new wave of garbage culture and what seemed to me - a shocked outsider - like a positive conspiracy to maintain the separateness of working-class life, engineered jointly by sentimental media hokum and patronising middle-class guilt.
Whole genres of television programmes, whole tranches of truly appalling down-market magazines appeared on the scene, all apparently designed to celebrate the most degrading forms of working-class life. And as cynical and manipulative as these cold-blooded marketing exercises were, to criticise them was to invite charges of snobbery: as if no form of "entertainment", however debased, should be regarded as too low to be an insult to this audience.
Schooling, which should have been the real answer to it all, was dominated by an educational establishment steeped in bourgeois guilt. I can remember having heated arguments with teachers and education officials who were adamant that children's ungrammatical regional dialects should not be corrected. "Correct" English, they insisted, was just a middle-class fetish which should not be imposed on children from "other" backgrounds. So generations of working-class children had their feet set in social and cultural concrete by schools that refused to teach them how to speak and write their own language properly.
It happened again and again: in the 1980s there was another burst of meritocratic aspiration which saw a further wave of people break free from the limitations of their backgrounds - only to be ridiculed as "Essex men" whose vulgar tastes and flashy wives still put them beyond the pale no matter how much they earned.
Now we have a new incarnation of the old division with "chavs" [flashy working class youths] and reborn Sloane Rangers. And a poll at the weekend states that 89 per cent of respondents believe that people in Britain are still judged by their class.
The Labour Government, convinced (rightly) that education is the answer to this, is trying to force universities to accept students whose schooling has been so inadequate that they cannot even achieve the low level of qualification needed to be admitted legitimately. Social engineering is too subtle a term for this distortion of university entrance criteria: it is not so much a bending of the system as a bludgeoning that threatens to devalue what makes higher education so worthwhile. If education is the answer, then it must be allowed to do what only education can do: provide the rite of passage to an examined life.
That life requires an attitude which takes self-respect and the value of personal achievement for granted. Implant and nurture those things and the rest - aspiration, motivation and social mobility - will follow.
In Danny Danziger's book Museum, a collection of essays by people who work at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a revelatory chapter by the head of security. The uniformed guards in the galleries at the Met are all graduates. This may be why they exercise far more discipline over the groups of schoolchildren than their British equivalents do: first, they feel more real commitment to the art, and second, they see no reason why everyone - from whatever background - should not be expected to behave in a museum.
Two of them became so involved with the objects they were guarding that they went back to university to get higher degrees and became museum curators. Ask yourself what the chances would be of that happening here, and even what response there would be to the suggestion that all museum guards should have higher education?
Forgive the homily, but it seems to be necessary to say this: self-respect comes to people from the expectations of others. If you, as a society, do not expect correct speech, decent behaviour and a sense of responsibility from some of your fellow citizens - do not, in other words, demand from them what civilised life requires - then you deny them the chance to enter that life more effectively than if you had barred the gates to every centre of learning in the land.
You're Insensitive About My Insensitivity
We live in a day and time where a person must be excruciatingly careful of what the say and how they act. One mistaken word or act can bring down a torrent of criticism the likes of which have never been seen before. "You should go to tolerance camp" is becoming a more prevalant phrase. How tolerant is "tolerance"? Does the fact that I don't like illegal immigrants make me intolerant? Does it make me a bad person? Does the fact that I believe homosexuals should have a ceremony different from marriage to consecrate their union make me an intolerably bad person? Just because my beliefs differ from yours, does that make it necessary for you to tell me I need to go to tolerance camp?
You cannot give tolerance to some people and deny it to others. If you are going to be tolerant of all ideas, then you must also be tolerant of the people whose ideas differ from yours. You may believe in opening our borders to every living, breathing creature on the planet whether they be innocuous or terrorist. I don't. Does that make me any worse of a person than you? HArdly. I just view things differently. That is what gets me about these tolerance toting people out there. They will be tolerant as long as your beliefs follow theirs. And if your beliefs don't? Well, then you're simply a narrow minded pig who needs to learn tolerance.
But there are some things, and some people, who should not be tolerated.
Illegal immigrants - I have nothing against LEGAL immigrants, because they follow the laws. They rightfully belong in this country. They pay taxes for the services they recieve. Illegals don't. And when they get hurt and are sent to the hospital, who is paying for their treatment? MY tax dollars are. Not theirs because they don't pay taxes. As for the arguement, "No one else will do the jobs they do." We currently have an unemployment rate of something like 6%? That's a whole lot of people who would like a job right now.
Racism - Okay, yes, racism is still alive in this country. It's also alive in every other country around the world. But when you have this many people, or so many diverse backgrounds in one area, you're bound to have conflict. But then again, I think people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson hype up racism to the point where it seems like where back in the pre-Civil War era. Seriously, get real. If you even look at a minority group member wrong, you're immediately labeled as a racist. But then, should you call a white person "white trash" or get involved in reverse racism, no one really cares. The easiest group to attack in America where you don't have to fear repercussions? White men. Who knew?
Homosexuals - Okay, love is love one way or another. Some people condemn it, some people love it, some people just don't care one way or another. I feel that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. Punto. If homosexuals want to come up with some other kind of sacred ceremony for themselves, go ahead. I'm not going to be one to stop you. I think that's one of the biggest problems today. People are expecting too much change too fast for too diverse of a population. One thing at a time ladies and gents. The ending of slavery and the sufferage of woman wasn't gained over night. And it is still not what it should be. Everything takes time, but demanding everything all at once isn't going to make things any better or easier.
Tolerance is a two way street. You either have to tolerant of all people, or you are not completely tolerant.
Deadly airline OK for Australia?
This is just politics. Must not offend Muslim Indonesia
GARUDA will be allowed to continue carrying tens of thousands of Australians to Bali and Jakarta despite Federal Government warnings that Indonesia's aviation standards do not measure up. Garuda, along with all Indonesian airlines, was banned earlier in the year from using European airspace by European Union aviation authorities concerned about their abysmal safety record.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) yesterday ducked calls for a ban locally amid widespread dismay at how badly the Garuda pilots got it wrong in the Yogyakarta crash that killed five Australians. The authority said it would not review the airline's access to Australian airspace until it had read the full crash report.
Both sides of Australian politics urged the Indonesians to consider laying charges against the pilots who ignored 15 alerts before the crash on March 7. Transport Minister Mark Vaile warned that safety standards in Indonesia were below those in Australia. "Australians travelling overseas should understand that that level of safety doesn't necessarily exist in every country across the world," Mr Vaile said.
Garuda carries about 80,000 passengers to Bali every year, with daily flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin.
CASA tried to downplay any threat to Australian lives, saying Garuda had not put a foot wrong since the March crash. [Big deal!]
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.