Measured Against Reality

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Crazy Dutch

Oh the crazy Dutch.

First, they promise to ban Muslim veils. The rationale is that it makes assimilation almost impossible, which is a bad thing. Naturally, people are objecting, saying that they should be able to wear whatever they want, and that there are very few burqa-wearing women anyway.

I don’t really like this idea. I realize that the lack of assimilation by Muslims in Europe is causing a lot of problems right now, but this doesn’t seem to be the best solution to the problem. People really should be able to wear whatever they want, and in the Netherlands “nothing” is included in “whatever you want”. Kind of strange for them to be doing this.

Although I suspect it’s more a problem of xenophobia and “otherness”. Intermingling cultures usually doesn’t go over too well when they’re both very different and the minority refuses to conform.

The lack of assimilation almost certainly has something to do with the mandatory film for immigrants with risqué scenes, such as two men kissing and public nudity. The goal is to make sure people can handle such things before they come into a country where it’s the norm.

This seems like the best way to help maintain cohesion, at least for such a small country, although it’s hard to say how effective it will be. But it does beg the question, how many people would move to a country where behaviors they hate are permitted? If you really want to live in a Saudi Arabia, why not move there instead?

As an aside, people often mention that religion builds cohesion, that it keeps people together and unites them. Funny, then, that the strongly religious Muslims are causing the problems in the 40% atheist Netherlands. People, being social animals, will find something to maintain bonds, and religion is one of many things that can fulfill that goal.

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1 Comments:

  • you said "This seems like the best way to help maintain cohesion, at least for such a small country, although it’s hard to say how effective it will be." and it makes me think of a really interesting discussion I had in a class a few years ago.

    We were talking about national identity. Not your citizenship, mind you, or social clique identity, but the larger grouped identification that people can make, which often (btw) lines up as either in support of, or opposed to, the policies and programs of a nation.

    blah blah.

    What was interesting is that national identity and rulers' attempts to create and engineer it are deeply embedded in world history. They created flags, slogans, state birds, national anthems, etc etc all for the purpose of trying to get "everyone who pays me taxes to pay them happily" or a similar reason. (sometimes need of war support, economic stimulation, etc)

    But people don't always remain identified with the "nation" they were previously. So, the muslims in the netherlands probably DID identify with the netherlands (and other muslims in netherland) but now, due to these new policies, that national identification may change or weaken... which is exactly the opposite of what the government wanted.

    On a related note, there are many reasons people may wish to move to a country where there are behaviors they don't agree with. Economic, family, being even LESS happy with their current home, etc. Very few people move to a country based on THAT country's national behaviors.

    Even liberal americans saying they'd like to move to canada are saying that because they feel canada is LESS bad than america.

    Anyway, it was an interesting discussion, and your post reminded me of it! :)

    By Anonymous Emily Nashif, at 11:29 AM, November 20, 2006  

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