A gay activist interviewed in the article named Frank van Dalen does much to reveal the dishonesty and arrogance preventing us so often from moving towards a less violent accommodation of opposite beliefs. If the article is representing his statements in a trustworthy context, he comes across as an unsympathetically self-deluded thinker. It cautions us all to be honest in formulating our opinions of others, and to value truth when seeking a balance between looking for the legitimate good in people, and yet still seeing what is really there...
Translated, [faithfully, I hope, by myself, despite dubious help from babel fish], from the left-leaning 360 degree magazine's website, we can read of Insecurity and immigration: dutch gays caught in a bind :
The picture postcard of an open and tolerant Amsterdam is increasingly fading: a month does not go by without the national gay organization COC not reporting at least one, even two or three homophobic aggressions. According to police statistics, it is already up to 31 since the beginning of the year. And the incidents do not proceed any old place: "When there is violence, or more often still, provocation or intimidation, it is most of the time in the gay districts, on our streets", explains Frank van Dalen, president of the COC. However, in Amsterdam as in other large cities of the Netherlands, it is the young people of arabic-muslim origin, in particular the moroccans of the second or third generation who are singled out. An ethnic dimension which weighs very heavy in the current political climate.
While incivilities, violence and confrontations between young people of foreign origin and the police make the media headlines, the crisis of Dutch identity is also playing out in the background of demographic upheavals. Indeed, according to official projections, the muslim populations should form the majority of the large cities of the country within three years. "All political discussions are centered on these questions of integration of the moroccans and of religions", summarizes Philippe Esnault, a Genevan long living in Amsterdam.
"All these speeches do not reassure the homosexuals, who are taking refuge in populist rhetoric in order to protect their gains."
In fact, the massive rallying of homosexuals to the populist right, had just been predicted by a survey of the magazine Gay Krant, which foresees a [political issue?] for the local “iron lady", Rita Verdonk, ex-minister known for for her xenophobic declarations and her tough stands regarding immigration. The politician has started a new movement baptized Trots op Nederland ("Proud of the Netherlands"). "She is the homosexuals’ diva", says Laurent Chambon, French sociologist and elected Labour official in Amsterdam, with amusement. "Because of her, homosexuals on the right are coming out of the closet."
In a style inaugurated by the gay tribune Pim Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2002, Rita Verdonk and Geert Wilders, the other leader of the populist right-wing, became masters of the art of waving the scarecrow of Islamism after each incident implicating young people of muslim origin. A technique which works on gays at least as well as upon the rest of the population. "There is islamophobia among gays, I would have preferred that it is not the case, but it is a fact", concedes Frank van Dalen.
Frank van Dalen is not easily deceived on the motives which push the youths to attack homosexuals: "I believe that islam hardly plays any role in it. In truth, it is a question of social position, lack of education and of group behavior... the young people simply use it [islam] as an excuse." For Laurent Chambon, the phenomenon is the symptom of a more general malady, which has nothing specific to do with homosexuals. It particularly fits within a territorial dimension, because of the privatization of the municipal real estate, driving out the lower classes from the downtown area. "If the young morrocans come to play the strong arm in the center it is also because themselves, or their close relations, have just been elbowed out of it, sometimes with brutality, in order to make room for white bobos", he explains. "Gays are the first [targets?] because they are perceived as weak [links?]... In that, they pay the price for their visibility... "
This rise of insecurity coincides with a fall of vitality in the local gay scene. A decline that many Amsterdam citizens interpret as the sign that a "moral blanket" is falling upon the city, as bars close and restrictions multiply. Some put forth even the hypothesis that the parties in power (Labour and Christian Democrats) would benefit from the current tensions in order to “clean up” the gay scene, and to roll back certain gains of the homosexual community.
A vision that the COC president contests, for whom there is not any doubt that the authorities support gays, more than ever. "For the first time, the struggle against homophobia has been integrated in the coalition program. We have a minister of State in charge of the dossier and a more important budget to improve measures in education ", explains Frank van Dalen.
The reinforcement of educational measures for diversity are only a single part of the demands of the Dutch gay movement, which call for draconian measures of repression. It thus obtained an increase on required penalties for offences of a homophobic character. Last June, the COC even proposed the installation of a perimeter prohibiting known delinquents around the gay district. Immediately labeled the "gay ghetto", the idea caused an outcry. It measures in any case the confusion of the [gay and lesbian] community vis-a-vis this new phenomenon.
In response to requests from the gay community, the Amsterdam police force innovated by assigning gay and lesbian officers at heart of a special liaison unit, the Homonetwerk, which informs the remainder of the police force about the [gay and lesbian] community and encourages the victims of aggression to come forward with charges. ...
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I can't help but read this story as another example of how humility is such an essential component to searching for truth. Can a lifelong atheist not question their certainties about whether they truly do understand religious motivation? Can a die-hard socialist not push aside their own financial obsessions long enough to succeed in imagining something other than money alone as the motivating force behind any choice of behavior?
How authoritatively can we each see the unseen in our lives, to what degree can one man claim to sufficiently understand another, as difference after difference separate their personal experiences, further separating their common frames of reference?
Can the besieged Frank van Dalen really believe he knows what is in the heart of the thugs that repeatedly assault his friends? Is he honestly reporting on what is in his **own** heart, is he being honest with himself, when he claims that the "young people" are simply "...using islam as an excuse"...!?! What does that even mean, anyway; is he promoting the politically incorrect blasphemy that islam is a religion condoning violence, and that young muslims are using this as a license to indulge in all-too-typical adolescent urges to be violent? Does he have the courage of his convictions to follow links of one thought to another, or do his thoughts trespass into a "no-go zone" of the mind? For if the youth were indeed using islam as an "excuse" for their violent homophobia, what does that suggest should be the fate of islam itself in the tolerant Netherlands..? Where does he disagree with Rita Verdonk?
Silently missing from the discussion, as usual in these articles, are what the violent moroccan youths themselves think. In their mind, are they beating up gays because of an oppressively "unfair" distribution of capital?
Why deign to ask them, I suppose, when experts already portend to "know" what the youth believe......