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Theo van Gogh murdered

Controversial filmmaker Theo van Gogh has been shot dead in Amsterdam, the radio reports. More when I have it.

Theo van Gogh was a columnist, filmmaker and chain smoker known more for his provocative attitude, slovenly dress and outspoken views about social issues, particularly about Islam, than for his actual movies*). His last work, a TV movie called Submission, got quite a bit of publicity though: it featured misogynistic verses from the Qu'ran projected on the nude bodies of Muslim women. Van Gogh courted controversy and thrived on it. His commitment to freedom of expression was absolute, and while he made many bitter enemies in 20 years of polemical writing, he always made a point of assuring that his enemies could at all time have their say. He made no distinction between attempts to silence his opponents and attempts to silence himself.

The news now says van Gogh had received death threats recently.

Van Gogh, a third cousin of the 19th Century painter, was stabbed and shot dead on the streets of Amsterdam at 9 AM on Tuesday. The gunner was pursued by the police and shot in the leg before being arrested. One police officer was also wounded. The murderer's motive is not clear at the time of writing although undoubtedly pundits will spend the rest of the day guessing.

Van Gogh left behind one young son.

Update: The gunman was somebody known to the Secret Service, AIVD. Also, I forgot to mention that a pamphlet was pinned to van Gogh's body. The contents are as yet unknown. BBC coverage mentioning that the gunner was a Moroccan in traditional dress | CNN coverage | Harry's Place responds. | Review and report on Submission from the Taipei Times

Latest: I just heard someone say that doing one thing or another that I didn't catch was "In de geest van Theo". Brace yourselves for another episode of mass hysteria.

*) If this sounds too flip a way to discuss a recently-deceased public person, tough. If there was one admirable thing about Mr. van Gogh's public stance, it was his loathing for self-censoring, consensus-affirming hypocrisy. I thought his columns were appallingly bad and could never muster much interest in his movies, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise just because he's dead. That attitude got us a hundred days of LPF misrule 2 years ago.

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Theo Van Gogh's murder on an Amsterdam street has been related to Salafists, who deny this link. I'm willing to take them at their word, which makes it perhaps better to think of his murderer and accomplices as Takfiri/Qutbists [Read More]

Comments (4)

Dan.e:

Most news sites are down with the overload :-)
Teletekst still functions smoothly though: at least they caught the guy already

cmkaapjes:

Isn't it interesting that 3 centuries of religious tolerance have disappeared in 3 years?

I'm not sure we were all that tolerant in the first place. It was our self-censoring consensus that kept a tight lid on the true feelings of a large part of the population, and Fortuyn and van Gogh were among those who blew it off.
That's a good thing, by the way. You can't have true dialogue if one party is silencing itself.

Dawe:

Like I cautioned the folks at HP's let not jump ahead of ourselves in pointing fingers. It's a postive development that the "murderer" ia already apprehended.
It's sad and outrageous when people lose their lives on stupid stuff like the making of controversial films.

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