Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Murder in Amsterdam

I’m reading Ian Buruma’s fascinating “Murder in Amsterdam” which analyzes the murders of two popular Dutch figures--Pym Fortuyn, the clowinsh politician, and Theo Van Gogh, the provocative--and often obnoxious--film maker. Both men were shot to death on the streets of Amsterdam.

Both assassins rode bicycles.

Fortuyn’s murderer claimed he was defending animal rights. Fortuyn wore a fur coat. Van Gogh’s assassin felt he was defending the prophet Mohammad. Van Gogh and Hirsi Ali made a film criticizing the Muslim treatment of women, in which portions of the Koran were projected on a woman's naked body.

After shooting Van Gogh repeatedly, the assassin used a knife to pin a note to Van Gogh's chest. He named Hirsi Ali as the next victim and she now lives with a full time body guard.

The Dutch, who are known for their tolerance, are left with various unanswered questions.

For starters, whose law counts?