On Nov. 23, 2005 I moved to The Hague from Washington, DC. This is my new Dutch life.


Verdonk Back In The News

The Dutch seem born to follow rules. Nevermind that the rules change all the time, and often people aren't always up on the latest regulations, Dutch people will vehemently cite rules when making decisions.

The latest round in the the battle to control Dutch borders again involves Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who really seems to lack a soul. After a series of high-profile deportations in recent months, the revocation of MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Dutch citizenship seems to have tipped the scale. Even the NY Times picked up this story.

For those of you who haven't bothered to register for the Times, here's the story in a nutshell.

A few years back Hirsi Ali, a 36 year old Somali woman, sought refugee status during a lay over in Schiphol, en route to Canada for an arranged marriage. It seems that the Dutch recognize Somalis as refugees, so she was able to stay here, integrate and was even elected to parliament.

Last week Hirsi Ali made headlines in the Netherlands for her decision not seek another term in parliament. Instead, she's managed to parlay her experience into a top position at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think-tank in Washington. I admit that once I learned she was going over to a conservative group, I quit following the story. According to the Times, however, one of the reasons she decided to leave the Netherlands is because she lost a lawsuit filed against her by the neighbors in her apartment building. The other residents felt her presence made the entire building unsafe.

To that I ask, who in their right mind files lawsuits over apartments? Just move. Seriously, apartments here are especially not worth fighting over.

Last week some Dutch TV channel ran a show highlighting lies that Hirsi Ali told while seeking political asylum. Skirting any notion of due process, Verdonk promptly revoked her citizenship! Just like that!

I'll give you a moment to let your head stop spinning.

Now that you're back with me, let's take a look at this again. In response to information broadcast on TV, a high-ranking government official yanks someone's passport. I don't even need to comment.

In an unusual situation where Dutch people broke rules, Hirsi Ali says that Dutch social workers told her to say she came from Somalia even though she had been living with relatives in Kenya just prior to arriving in the Netherlands, facts she says were made known to her party's leadership. Interesting, Verdonk is a member of the same party, and is angling to be the next party chair. Surely she knew about Hirsi Ali's little white lies.

Verdonk says she needs to apply the rules equally. Hmmmm, something smells fishy... tv show, criticism about other unpopular deportations, political aspirations of her own... It seems that it is more important to uphold the notion of 'following rules' than acknowledging that the Dutch have, quite effectively, pushed their most famous and well-integrated immigrant out the door. Hell, Hirsi Ali even sides with Verdonk on immigration policy.

Rebuffed, Hirsi Ali now says she'll leave her post in parliament early and head to The New World sooner than anticipated. Even though I'm not there at the moment, I say to Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Welcome sistah! At one time or another, we all fled the hand of a stupid government.



Blogger Reid said...

And she's fleeing Holland just like the pilgrims! Unfortunately, she's heading right back into the hand of another stupid government. But at least that our stupid government won't be around much longer.

6:38 PM GMT+2


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