Ms. Ebru Umar, who befriended the late Theo van Gogh, has been attacked near her house in Amsterdam. (She lives a couple of blocks from my house, but for obvious reasons I will not disclose her address.) The attack was allegedly carried out by two youths of Moroccan descent.
There's no need to point out obvious historic parallels, so I'll refrain from that.
I do not always agree with Ms. Umar's statements. I think she lets her emotions prevail over reason at times when a less passionate approach may be in order.
Yet that is precisely the point. Ms. Umar verbalizes her emotions, rather than channeling them into behavior which is supposed to physically intimidate others to stop verbalizing theirs.
The government, of course, should enforce the right to practice freedom of speech without fear of retribution. Yet the government seems to have a hard time acknowledging that there even is a problem. To my knowledge, state television nor radio - sorry, I mean: the ever impartial and balanced Dutch PBS - have mentioned this news.
Neither has the city mayor, Job 'Cup of Tea' Cohen, renowned for his ability to defeat Jihadists by drowning them in freshly brewed Darjeeling, issued any statement. He's probably too busy hoarding up tea.
Unsurprisingly, the culprits have not yet been arrested.
Do you remember the guy that swallowed 40,000 MDMA pills and lived? The quantity this mdmaholic took got a lot of attention, less so the fact that it's apparently possible to swallow loads of this supposedly highly dangerous drug - up to 25 pills a day for years on end - and live. Try drinking alcohol at comparable intake levels and you'll end up not with memory problems that may or may not be transitory, as this guy did, but as a 120 percent proof corpse. So it's not entirely surprising, though welcome, that this case leads The Lancet to propagate an end to prohibition, at least for purposes of medical research:
Exaggerated risks of harm have contributed to the demonisation of psychedelic drugs as a social evil. But although this dangerous reputationâ€”generated and perpetuated by the often disproportionately stiff penalties for their useâ€”is helpful for law enforcement, it does not correspond to the evidence. Rather, the social prescription against psychedelic drugs that hinders properly controlled research into their effects and sideeffects is largely based on social and legal, as opposed to scientific, concerns. To maximise research into therapeutic benefits without exacerbating real social harms a legal structure that recognises this distinction is sorely needed.
There they lay, dying. Cut off at - nay: below the knee. And there was nothing now that could save them, not even the water I tried to feed them, despite it having been enriched with more chemicals than can be found on an average Saturday night in an Amsterdam club.
Over the following days and nights, I sat still, staring at them, pausing only for the fulfillment of essential biological functions such as eating and sleeping. And during that time, I slowly watched them fade away, until, this morning, they died.
"I believe in life. I believe in treasuring it as a mystery that will never be fully understood, as a sanctity that should never be destroyed, as an invitation to experience now what can only be remembered tomorrow. (...)
I believe in liberty. I believe that within every soul lies the capacity to reach for its own good, that within every physical body there endures an unalienable right to be free from coercion. (...)
I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer." Andrew Sullivan