They Are Not Monsters

I just stumbled upon an article in The Brussels Journal, Wilders causes another row. Pre-captivity Stockholm-Syndrome.

In a speech in the Dutch Parliament last Thursday, the Dutch opposition leader Geert Wilders referred to Joanie de Rijke’s case.

“She was raped, but she was not angry. The journalist who went looking for the Taliban in Afghanistan saw her curiosity end in a cruel ordeal of multiple rape. While this would make others angry or sad, this journalist shows understanding. She says: ‘They also respected me.’ And she was given tea and biscuits.”

“This story” Wilders said,

“is a perfect illustration of the moral decline of our elites. They are so blinded by their own ideology that they turn a blind eye to the truth. Rape? Well, I would put this into perspective, says the leftist journalist: the Taliban are not monsters.

The article went on to describe the reaction to this speech.

Wilders’ words caused instant fury on all benches except those of his own party. Parliamentarians and government ministers reacted furiously to his reference to Joanie de Rijke. “You should be ashamed of yourself,” Femke Halsema of the far-left Green Left Party yelled. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, a Christian-Democrat, called Wilders’ statement “extremely painful and tasteless.”

As in the case of Rush’s comments about Sonia Sotermayor, they do not dispute his conclusions. They just think it is so politically incorrect for him to state these conclusions.

This 43 year old lady journalist traveled from Flanders to Afghanistan to interview some Taliban fighters who had killed ten French soldiers last August. When she arrived for the interview the Taliban fighters abducted her and sent her interpreter back to Kabul with the message that 2 million dollars in ransom must be paid or they would slit her throat. The Dutch and Belgian governments refused to pay the ransom. The magazine she worked for offered $100,000 Euros, and the Taliban leader accepted the money after holding her hostage for six days.

In her book In de handen van de Taliban, which she published last month, she writes that the Taliban commander

“could not control his testosterone. I had the impression that afterwards he regretted what had happened. He knew it was wrong.”

The noble savage even “invited her to a threesome,” i.e. to have sex with him and one of his three wives.

After her release, Joanie de Rijke, too, criticized the Dutch and Belgian authorities for their refusal to pay ransom. “The Belgians have done nothing. They said it was a matter for the Dutch. And the Dutch authorities said they never pay ransom. In Afghanistan they know well enough that Western governments pay up after an abduction. Germany, Italy and France have all paid ransoms.”

Though de Rijke was angry with the Dutch and Belgian authorities, she told the Dutch media in interviews given after her release that she was not angry with her abductors. “I do not want to depict the Taliban as monsters. I am not angry with Ghazi Gul. After all, he let me live,” she said. About the rape ordeal she declared that though the experience had been horrible, she was also shown respect.

De Rijke, too, said she was appalled at Wilders’ statement. “I did feel angry because of the rape,” she explained, “what I tried to make clear was that the acts of the Taliban cannot be reduced to rape. The fact that I wanted to stress that aspect of my feelings is not the same as the Stockholm syndrome people like Wilders like to talk about. In a war situation people seem only able to think in black and white. I wanted to refine the story. A person is not a monster because he calls himself Taliban.”

Her reaction confirms precisely what Wilders was trying to say. In reality the Taliban are not monsters because they call themselves Taliban, but because they behave like monsters. People like de Rijke, however, no longer judge people by their behavior and their actions, but condone them for the noble motives which they imagine have driven them to commit their acts.

This sickness is not just something one can find among the Dutch elites. This sickness of being so blinded by your ideology that you turn a blind eye to the truth can also be found in Bakersfield, CA. March 30, 2009.

The story comes from KGET:

The woman had just left the Babies R Us store when she noticed a man in a tattered military coat lurking in the parking lot, she told police. The woman told detectives she was worried because the man looked like a thug, but she didn’t want to seem racist.

So, not wanting to seem racist, the Bakersfield, California woman proceeded to her car, where the man held her up at gun point and threatened to kill her 11 month old daughter if she didn’t do what he told her. He had her to drive to an ATM where he stole $500 from her, then he had had her drive to a junior high school parking lot where he raped her in front of her child.

These are disturbing stories for a couple of reasons. Reason number one is the outrage over merely identifying a moral decline evidenced by these incidents. Have we gotten to point where reporting the incident is more disturbing than the incident itself? I hope not. Reason number two is the fear that this sickness of being so blinded by your ideology that you turn a blind eye to the truth is a spreading sickness. Once again, I hope not.

Wilders understates the problem because this kind of sickness is far worse than Stockholm-Syndrome.
Cross-posted at The Minority Report