AWOL Artistes

The murder of Theo van Gogh by Islamic terrorists seems to have galvanized the Netherlands to defend itself against the radical Islamists it has harbored for far too long. Here in the United States, however, there has been curiously little reaction to van Gogh’s brutal slaying.
Our filmmakers courageously stand up to non-existent threats to their freedom of speech. They constantly complain that the Bush administration has silenced dissent, notwithstanding the fact that in Hollywood, “dissent” against the Bush administration is practically mandatory. One might think that American filmmakers would be concerned, then, when one of their own is attacked on the street and shot and stabbed to death because of a film that he made, which criticized the suppression of women. One would be disappointed: as far as I know, almost no one in the American film industry has shown any interest in this very real case of suppressing freedom of speech.
In today’s Wall Street Journal, Bridget Johnson notes the strange case of the artists who failed to bark:

Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh’s short film “Submission,” about the treatment of women in Islam, written by female Dutch parliamentarian and former Muslim Aayan Hirsi Ali, had aired in August on Dutch TV. Van Gogh was riding his bike near his home when a Muslim terrorist shot him, slashed his throat, and pinned to his body a note threatening Ms. Ali. This appears to be an organized effort, not the act of a lone nut; Dutch authorities are holding 13 suspects in the case.
After the slaying, I watched “Submission” (available online at and my mind is still boggled that 11 minutes decrying violence against women incites such violence. There’ve been many films over the years that have taken potshots at Catholics, but I don’t remember any of us slaughtering filmmakers over the offense. You didn’t see the National Rifle Association order a hit on Michael Moore over “Bowling for Columbine.”
One would think that in the name of artistic freedom, the creative community would take a stand against filmmakers being sent into hiding


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