Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What does Europe think?

Elections in The Netherlands
Originally uploaded by FelixvdGein.
I was last week in Berlin. One of the things that come with my job is a membership in the Advisory Board of eurotopics. eurotopics is a daily FREE newsletter covering the main debates in European newspapers. I would highly recommend subscribing. Through it I have for instance noticed that there is really good writing in Estonian newspapers.

One of the good examples from eurotopics was a capture from Neue Zürcher Zeitung where Dutch journalist Hans Maarten van der Brink writes about the fuss around the book of Ian Buruma, The Murder In Amsterdam. The topic is once again on the agenda due to the Dutch elections today.

"Journalist and author Hans Maarten van den Brink expresses his views on the Dutch debate about tolerance with reference to the theses put forward by Ian Buruma in his book "Murder in Amsterdam". He notes that these theses have met with approval everywhere but in the Netherlands. "This raises the question of whether the Dutch brand of tolerance wasn't always based on negating all that is different instead of trying to understand it, and therefore has more in common with Apartheid – a term which is universally understood without the need for translation. The much quoted openness of Dutch society is in fact of a rather superficial nature... The lack of formal codes of behaviour appears at first to facilitate access, but it conceals a web of informal codes which inevitably form a barrier after a while. Irony is a conspicuously frequent feature in both private and public discourse. This is no coincidence: the ironist is superior by definition, and those who take offence do nothing more than reveal their inaptitude at the game." (22/11/2006)"

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