Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Integration Frustration

Oh boy. They may even deport her!
Acrimony, lies and opportunism surrounding Ayaan Hirsi Ali's exit from the Dutch parliament and, very likely, the country. See the piece entitled "The Rise and Fall of Ayaan Hirsi Ali".

Segment 1 - Holland’s Integration Exam
Jonathan Groubert looks at something that’s attracted a lot of attention worldwide: the Dutch integration exam. The integration exam is a test that most non-westerners planning to move to Holland must take before coming to live here.
Learn all about it, in English, at the web site of the Dutch Immigiration and Naturalization Service (IND)
Segment 2 - The Rise and Fall of Ayaan Hirsi Ali
A former refugee from Somalia, Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a name for herself with her outspoken criticism of Islam, even becoming an MP in the Dutch parliament. Now it turns out her entire life story is a lie. Jonathan Groubert investigates.
Click here for a detailed Radio Netherlands article on Ayaan Hirsi (what was her last name again)

Segment 3 - A Dutch Exploration of Female Muslim Sexuality
Fiona Campbell interviews Dutch journalist and documentary maker Ingeborg Beugel who has made a six part documentary on the sex lives of young Dutch Muslims.
Fiona wrote an article on the subject with links to Ingeborg Beugel's programs. They are, of course, in Dutch.

Segment 4 - Retraining Prostitutes to Be Nurses
The German Evangelical Church wants to help women who want to get out of prostitution, to turn some of their talents to Germany’s fast-growing population of old people. John Laurenson has more in Dortmund…

Click here to download the program in mp3 format....


At 6:51 AM, Blogger weatherall said...

Hi there:
Your mp3 program download doesn't work.

I am curious aabout this immigration story because I just heard it briefly summarized on Radio Netherlands (6165 khz, 20 May 2006, 0300-0330 UTC, San Francisco California). We are involved in immigration reform here as you may know. It concerns me that some United States politicians are pushing to make English our official language. Obviously that idea has its conveniences, but there are sections of the United States that do not rely on English and I think that's totally cool.

I love the idea of wandering around a large American city like San Francisco, and being exposed to many languages: Cantonese, Spanish, German, Russian, English, Japanese... it's a humbling experience and an excellent lesson in diversity. I had to wait until I became an adult for this experience.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Jonathan Groubert said...

Hi W.,

Fixed the link. Thanks for the warning. I too like a multicultural society and know that ik can work. But Europe in general and the Netherlands in particular is new to the idea. Europeans struggle with the concept that not only do the immigrants need to adapt, but the host society must adapt as well.
This is particularly difficult when it comes to Islam, more so in Europe than in America.
Because the US is still a society in which faith is highly accepted concept. Europe is quickly secularizing and any strong faith, let alone and imported one, is viewed with suspicion. As a result, they're all getting painted with the same ecumenical brush. Muslims get the worst of it because, as new immigrants, they are at the bottom of the social ladder. The next generation, because they are not wholly accepted by either their ethnic or host culture, feels lost. Many have found sanctuary in radical ideaology and here we are...in today's viscious circle.

At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard part of your sequence on Hirsi Ali and my impression of you as a journalist was not favorable. You had a smarmy and condescending tone. Your dislike for the woman was obvious. You came across as smart-alecky and quite pleased with your own cleverness. I found you quite distasteful.

Hirso Ali is too good for you and we in the USA will welcome her.

No, I am not a "conservative war-mongering" Bush-supporter. In fact I am just the opposite. And I detest bias and cant no matter where they originate.

At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also question the wisdom of your philosophy:

"Europeans struggle with the concept that not only do the immigrants need to adapt, but the host society must adapt as well."

"...the host society must adapt."

Why so? Tolerate the immigrants, of course, and help them to assimilate. But why should you Europeans be under any obligation to change your core values?

Each individual European can make choices about how to live as they individually see fit. But a social commitment to change? Why?

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Jonathan Groubert said...

Thank you for your comment.
Well, what I mean by the host country has to adapt and change as well should be obvious to someone who comes from a place where that happens all the time. America is so successful at absorbing the millions of immigrants who have come because its society is flexible enough to be changed as well. Think of the food, lifestyle, accents, vocabulary, inventions: all the result of successful integration.
Europeans are new to the concept of mass immigration and it will take a long time before the idea gains true acceptance.
As for smarmy, well, I am a bit, yes.
Keep writing!

At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess it all comes down to the meaning of "...the host society must adapt." I assume that to mean that you are willing to let Dutch core values of tolerance and freedom dissapear if newcomers don't like such things as gays or women's freedom. No?

You mention the USA, which I gather you know well! and you mention "food, lifestyle, accents, vocabulary, inventions: all the result of successful integration."

It is not clear what you mean. None of those items (I don't even get "accents" or "inventions") require change of core values such as relations between men and women (forced marriage, as an example.) Every one of the items you mention is specifically the choice of individual natives, or the actions of enterprising immigrants ("inventions") as well it should be. (I have no idea what "accents"is all about)

None of things you mention relate to change of laws or basic core values.

I think the confusion in this discussion arises because people confuse toleration with multi-culturalism. Perhaps you are doing so? Of course, we should be tolerant of newcomers (insofar as they are within the law). But to allow newcomers to form permanent communities which can maintain their own custiomary law would be, in the USA, a violation of the Constitution which promises Equal Protection to all under the same laws.

Btw, I will go back and re-listen to the show but if it is on second hearing as bad as it seemed the first time, I intend to write to the station and suggest that you might be putting just a bit too much of your own feelings into what should be some attempt at fair-handed journalism. Let the chips fall where they may with regard to Hirsi Ali. But be fair to the woman. You struck me as callous and gleeful at her misfortunes.

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. on re-hearing it was as bad as I had feared.

Mr Groubert, your sarcasm and derision only show you in a very poor light and not as a serious journalist or even commentator.

Ms. Ali with all her flaws as a human is going to come out of this just fine.

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry Jonathan, but I'd have to agree with the others about Hirsi Ali. Whatever her politics might be, she didn't deserve your sarcasm. You tipped over the line on this one.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Jonathan Groubert said...

Guys! Give me another chance! (see new post)

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are listening, Mr. Groubert.


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