Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Dutch Courage

The trial of the killer of Theo van Gogh has begun in Holland. It provides a Srebrenica-style example of Dutch weakness.

Prosecutors said that Bouyeri shot Mr van Gogh on a busy Amsterdam street as the film-maker cycled to his office. Wounded, Mr van Gogh pleaded: "We can still talk about it! Don't do it! Don't do it."

The court was told that Bouyeri shot his victim six times then slit his throat with a kitchen knife, severing Mr van Gogh's neck down to the backbone before impaling to his chest with the knife a five-page note threatening other public figures.

Witness statements read in court described how he reloaded his gun then walked around a park before firing on a police vehicle, allegedly in an attempt to provoke a gunfight and die a martyr.

Mr van Gogh's mother, Anneke, delivered a brief victim statement to the court. Her voice shaking, she said of Bouyeri: "He had the time to plan this, because for three years he was on unemployment benefits."

Here's how the police responded to this Islamic hero:

Two senior policemen involved in the final shootout with Bouyeri appeared in court to ask for €3,000 (£2,060) compensation for emotional distress.

Insp Marcel Groenendaal and Brig J S de Ruyter said they had suffered loss of concentration and apathy since the gunfight.

But the scene disgusted two protesters, watching the hearing in T-shirts bearing images of Fortuyn and van Gogh. One of them, Marianne Houtzager, condemned the police for recalling how they hid on the floor of their car. "They acted like victims, not policemen. We are too soft."

Yup.