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Film worth dying for?
November 9, 2004 7:52 PM   Subscribe

Theo Van Gogh, murdered last week by a muslim in retalliation for a movie called Submission, a fictional short film critique of how women are treated within Islam. If you were curious about whether the film was worth dying for, the folks at iFilm have it on their site. It's basically an imagined monologue between a woman and Allah. It's 11 minutes long and is safe for work.
posted by mathowie (36 comments total)

 
While I think you could make a similar film damning Southern Baptists ("daddy said cousin Earl didn't rape me and I can't gets me an a-bortion as it's not god's will"), the film does highlight the lamer aspects of a fundamentalist mindset in Islam. Still, it sucks the guy died for such a film.
posted by mathowie at 7:55 PM on November 9, 2004


Yeah it is a pretty lame film. Especially the super-pointless lingerie aspect of her costume. That said - incestuous rape isn't condoned in the bible. If you wanted to make that comparison, I'd say just quote whatever the OT says you ought to do with adulterous persons. Because let's be clear - the film maker really does quote the Quran, and I don't think he's criticizing Muslim extremicists here, he's got something negative to say about Islam, period. I expect you're right, that he'd have something negative to say about Judaism and Christianity as well. But characterizing this viewpoint as one which is cool with "good" religious persons and not cool with "bad" religious persons looks more like wishful thinking than anything else to me.
posted by kavasa at 8:20 PM on November 9, 2004


Having spent a couple weeks in Amsterdam this year the Van Gogh murder and the apparent revenge bombing of a Muslim school makes me terribly sad. I've travelled a fair bit of the world and The Netherlands (which I've been to multiple times) has always struck me as particularly wonderful because of it's high degree of social tolerance and racial integration. Very different than, say, London where you can cut the racial tension with a knife. I recall an exhibit this spring at the Rijksmuseum which had portraits of interracial couples from the 1700s (and you had to have coin to have a portrait done back then, so the social acceptance piece was shockingly evident).

This is messed up and as much as I'd like to lay this at GWB's doorstep, the Salman Rushdie fatwah episode predated his regime so maybe we are looking at McWorld v. Jihad.

Pardon me for slipping into despair.

[Matt, rumor has it you're going to Europe. I hope Amsterdam is on your itinerary (and email me if you want a tip on a good bike shop ;-).]
posted by donovan at 8:27 PM on November 9, 2004


mathowie - I think you might be surprised....unless that film was by John Waters (who is probably marked for elimination under an eagerly anticipated Leviticus-based legal code).

The confluence of fascist ideology and Christianity in American culture has produced it's share of deadly violence.

Isn't this killing an identical, mirror expression of religious extremism that exists in Christianity ?

At base, I'd call idea of killing for religion or ideology pathological.
posted by troutfishing at 8:30 PM on November 9, 2004


kavasa - Yeah it is a pretty lame film

I don't see where mathowie calls the film lame: he says 'the lamer aspects of a fundamentalist mindset in Islam'.

We have discussed the murder of van Gogh on Viewropa, where the shock, as in the Netherlands, is palpable. Several of our dutch members are bewildered, worrying where has our country gone? Wish I had the answer to that one.
posted by dash_slot- at 9:02 PM on November 9, 2004


removeth the abortion clinic bomber from thine own eye before pointing out the misogynist in thy neighbors.
posted by quonsar at 9:27 PM on November 9, 2004


q - they bomb abortion clinics in the Netherlands?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:46 PM on November 9, 2004


That said - incestuous rape isn't condoned in the bible.

Lot's daughters? I suppose you could argue that it isn't explicitly condoned, but when God kills Lot's wife for looking back and a day later ignores his daughters' rape of Lot, I think it's pretty fucking clear where his priorities lie.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:14 PM on November 9, 2004


I spent a few years in The Netherlands myself. Even got my fingers burned by a pimp in The Hague. [dit is niet goed]


I hope that the Dutch won't consider this their 9/11. But I imagine that many Dutch are talking about this in that context.
posted by starkeffect at 11:34 PM on November 9, 2004


a - abortion clinics have never been seriously attacked in The Netherlands. There have been a lone protests but nothing comparable to the rest of the world. Why do you ask?

I'm not sure the murder on Van Gogh has solely been caused by the film he made for Ayaan Hirsi Ali (a somali-dutch member of parliament known for her critique on islam). Van Gogh wrote columns, books and had a website in which he constantly went head on against many many people. One of his favourite subjects was the goatfuckers, as he never failed to call muslims. Van Gogh took his freedom of speech and his love of personal freedom to the extreme and got slaughtered for that.

Dutch tolerance meets religious fundamentalism.

I find it very frightening that there are now too many of my countrymen willing to burn down muslim-schools. Tolerance is only skindeep.
posted by knutmo at 1:24 AM on November 10, 2004


Here's a good post over at Viewropa with more background and a detailed timeline of events since his murder.
posted by sebas at 2:27 AM on November 10, 2004


removeth the abortion clinic bomber from thine own eye before pointing out the misogynist in thy neighbors.

Fortunately, we don’t have to absolutely irradiate western religious fundamentalism before we can successfully criticise similar behaviour elsewhere.
posted by ed\26h at 2:34 AM on November 10, 2004


I think Holland is fine for racial tolerance. It's the ideological tolerance that's gone a bit funny..

What are freedom of speech laws like there? Is there any recourse against bigoted remarks which could possibly incite to violence?

The reactions I've encountered on this topic from the muslim populace have been somewhat mixed, from happiness that someone who fuelled hate against the religion and them can no longer do so, to disgust at the fact that someone acted completely unislamically to do so (ie murde/no due process).
posted by Mossy at 2:39 AM on November 10, 2004


Goatfuckers rejoice! Van Gogh is dead!!
posted by shoos at 3:32 AM on November 10, 2004


Is there any recourse against bigoted remarks which could possibly incite to violence?

What a stupid fucking idea.
posted by shoos at 3:40 AM on November 10, 2004


Sunnipath on Gayness and Homosexuality:

Less than ten years ago the student gay and lesbian coalition at Columbia University in New York applied for permission to use Earl Hall to hold its annual party. Earl Hall is the home of all the religious offices in the University: the Muslim Student Association, the Catholic Campus Ministry, and the several Jewish and Protestant Ministries, capped by an "Earth" ecological group and the campus community services. Why was such a party bringing its foul breath to a religious building? Ostensibly because the space could be gotten for nothing or next to nothing, and "no other space seemed available"! But in reality it was defiance. ALL the groups voted to allow the party EXCEPT for the MSA. Later, one of the rabbis privately conceded to the Muslim representative: "We know you cast the right vote and that we were cowards." So the wine-bibbing mixed-sex lesbian and gay party took place.
posted by shoos at 3:49 AM on November 10, 2004


.
posted by shoos at 3:56 AM on November 10, 2004


I can’t tell what your four posts either meant or were relevant to.
posted by ed\26h at 4:14 AM on November 10, 2004


relevant to mossy and his comment
posted by shoos at 4:17 AM on November 10, 2004


Well, you quote something and then state that it was a "stupid fucking idea", when it wasn't an idea but a question.
posted by ed\26h at 4:20 AM on November 10, 2004


ok. scratch the four posts.

what's with sunnipath.com?
posted by shoos at 4:22 AM on November 10, 2004


Not sure; havn’t seen much of it – but that article was garbage though, granted.
posted by ed\26h at 4:26 AM on November 10, 2004


Especially the super-pointless lingerie aspect of her costume

You might want to raise the issue with the film's co-producer, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Gotta say, though, I don't see how you can be despaired by this act but not by what is going on in Fallujah at the moment ... of for that matter Afghanistan. Two wrongs don't make a right, but this ain't coming out of nowhere. And it ain't local either.
posted by magullo at 5:00 AM on November 10, 2004


Gotta say, though, I don't see how you can be despaired by this act but not by what is going on in Fallujah at the moment ... of for that matter Afghanistan.

Someone can, presumably, if they don't believe the assault on Fallujah or the current situation in Afghanistan to actually be wrong.

Two wrongs don't make a right, but this ain't coming out of nowhere. And it ain't local either.

How do you mean?
posted by ed\26h at 5:54 AM on November 10, 2004




R E L I G I O N S U C K S
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:38 AM on November 10, 2004


what's with sunnipath.com?

Shaykh Haddad got a bit steamed by that incident it seems.. The reference is also a bit random.

However, it does pretty much represent the Islamic viewpoint - homosexuality (in terms of attraction) isn't sinful per se, acting upon it (via sodomy etc) is. Similarly, heterosexuality isn't sinful per se, as long as it's within marriage. Hence those who publically display illicit sexual behaviour provoke an ick reaction from most muslims. We still like the people, we just think their actions are a bit whack.

Still, my query was with respect to Dutch freedom of speech/anti-inciteful law - similar laws which prohibited Abu Hamza from wittering on at Finsbury Park mosque for example. Are these present?
posted by Mossy at 9:25 AM on November 10, 2004


In terms of what van Gogh said/presented in the film, it was completely legal. A large part of the horror at van Gogh's murder was the fact that it was because he had expressed an opinion. Opinions are considered valuable in the Netherlands, popular or not, and although others may not agree with them it's very much part of the culture to be able to express them.

On the night of his murder there was a huge rally at Dam Square, where our mayor Job Cohen gave a speech. He said, more or less, that van Gogh got into arguments with everyone, including Cohen himself - "and in this country - it's allowed." One of the placards I remember from that night said, "Look out! I have an opinion!"
posted by different at 9:31 AM on November 10, 2004


I don't think he got "killed for making a film" but rather for being the most public face of Dutch anti-Islam sentiment, which is strong. Because Muslims are generally held in low esteem in the West, it's the natural inclincation to believe that his killing was irrational and horrible, which it was. But can you imagine if Van Gogh was an anti-Semite who made a film criticizing Jewish Hasidic treatment of women, and constantly wrote columns calling for the expulsions of Jews from Holland, referring to them as Goatfuckers? People would probably be able to see the entire situation in a recognizable context, where in this case the context is seen through the lense of the conflict between Islam and the West. I'm not arguing that that context isn't equally important, but I do think it's important to remember that the situation in the Netherlands is one of a poor minority (Muslims, 80% of whom are non-practicing and 95% of whom are not even suspected of holding radical views) with a tenuous foothold in mainstream Dutch society that has been excaberated of late by the general Islam/West conflict and the overall problem of immigration in Holland. Ethnic tensions have been with Europe for a very long time, and while it is easy for the Dutch to say "he got killed for having an opinion" the reality is that is death was part of a larger struggle going on within Dutch society.

The main problem in Holland, as in many other European countries, is that they have taken on massive immigration at a time when their own basic identity is also being questioned. Thus, many Dutch have no desire to share their culture with their immigrants, and have no way of seeing them as equals. This leads to immigrants coming into a place where the very concept of being "Dutch" is being debated, and they are given no secure place in society. This leads to disenfranchisement and may make extremism more seductive.

Having an open, liberal society is fine, but when you add 900,000 people from a totally different culture over the period of 15 years, and do so with an ambivilant attitude, not making the necessary effort to explain to these immigrants what is expected of them, and make genuine efforts to integrate them into society (because, for one reason, a significant portion of society doesn't want them there in the first place) you will end up with very serious problems.

That being said, it's still not too late for the Netherlands-- the extremists in their society are still a small number and are opposed by the vast majority of Muslim citizens. The outrage that many Dutch feel over the killing of Van Gogh should be channeled into making sure that the Dutch tradition is upheld, and shared with its newest citizens fully and completely.
posted by cell divide at 9:53 AM on November 10, 2004


mossy, so calling muslims goatfuckers and criticizing aspects of their religion is inciting violence? I suppose if his audience is violent, maybe. But if his audience is civil, no.

Yeah, my reference was random. But, just for the record, would you say that you are of the same mind?
posted by shoos at 10:56 AM on November 10, 2004


Looking at some of van Goghs comments, yeah, those were inciteful. A number of the audience are indeed violent - there is a hefty amount of ideologic tension down in those parts.

For the record I have a number of gay friends and indeed, live with a gay guy (uhh, not in that way). None of them subscribe to ostentatious "gay culture" - they're just normal peeps on the whole. Ok, some are a bit camp. I find sodomy morally repulsive and public displays of sexuality offensive. What individuals do in the bedroom is their own business of course.

Funnily enough, last time I was in Amsterdam happened to be during a massive gay parade. Eh, at least they all seemed happy, which is a good thing I suppose.
posted by Mossy at 11:20 AM on November 10, 2004


Although you find sodomy morally repulsive, will you join me in a prayer to our pal allah that Mohammed Bouyeri learns a thing or two about it in the next 30 years?
posted by shoos at 12:47 PM on November 10, 2004


Nope.

For the same reasons I wouldn't have prayed for someone to murder van Gogh.
posted by Mossy at 1:23 PM on November 10, 2004


Here is a direct link for those who find ifilm insufferable: Submission [2004] - Theo Van Gogh
posted by nasim at 1:27 PM on November 10, 2004


Although i wasnt impressed by the movie, the fact that the artist was killed for it says more about the problems of religious fundamentalism than he ever could.

Organized religion demands dogmatic adherance to outdated and inappropriate rules. Without tracing all the reasons behind this, i think its fair to say it is a trend we see in all organized religion.

What we really need to figure out is a way to establish some rules (for religion or government) that allow future generations to adapt them to their lives without sacrificing the integrity of the original idea. I think we have our work cut out for us.
posted by sophist at 3:59 PM on November 10, 2004


The fact that the artist was killed for it says more about the problems of religious fundamentalism than he ever could.

Yes. I suppose he died a martyr. Quite funny that.

For the same reasons I wouldn't have prayed for someone to murder van Gogh.

I don’t at all mind the idea of Mohammed Bouyeri, if guilty of murder, enduring some degree suffering, but it doesn’t necessarily follow from that that I would also like to see people who make controversial films killed. Unless “the same reasons” you mention are irrespective of a persons deeds and you just don’t want anyone to suffer for any reason.
posted by ed\26h at 4:10 AM on November 11, 2004


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