Holland is a strange place at times. Amsterdam is half sleazepit, half beautiful classical city. Public life is unusual there too. Maverick politician Pim Fortuyn murdered by a muslim-defending animal rights activist; Theo van Gogh butchered by a muslim fundamentalist for criticising the treatment of women in islam. Neither was remotely close to being a right wing stereotype – quite the contrary. Controversial Geert Wilders living under the constant threat of death. Wilders espouses a “robust” view on muslim immigration, which is both wildly popular and the reason he can not now live a normal life.
Holland, therefore is a country with a long history of high culture, free speech and behaviour, now riven by religious and cultural violence and antipathy. The public defenders of islam are at a loss to explain or justify this violence. Some of these people are also the keenest defenders of Holland’s extremely permissive laws on abortion, which have inevitably lead to very high abortion rates.
Step forward Mariska Orban de Haas.
Ms Orban is a journalist who, in a public letter, has challenged a Dutch MP, Jeannine Hennis-Plasschaert for her very public support of abortion. Her letter is factual but sympathetic, making a very crucial point:
“In addition, many of these women come from migrant backgrounds. These are not women who have autonomy over their own “belly” but young women who are afraid of their families and have been rejected, humiliated and even beaten because they slept with a man before they were married. Is abortion then a question of civilisation or a support for repression and a not so gentle culture of shame?”
The whole English translation is here.
The result of this is predictable, Ms Orban has received numerous death threats. Given the recent Dutch track record, she is a very brave woman indeed.
One of the delicious aspects of all this is that Ms Orban is frustratingly – for her enemies - a beautiful, stylish, intelligent and articulate Catholic – see the pix here. That’s not how it’s meant to be - surely she should be a bitter and faded old prune? But she’s not.
The Knife has helpfully provided a picture of Ms Hennis-Plasschaert, purely for illustrative purposes.