Ian Buruma's "Murder in Amsterdam" Essay

Ian Buruma's "Murder in Amsterdam" Essay

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Buruma provides detailed insight into each character allowing the reader to contemplate the motivation behind actions of each one. Buruma describes Theo Van Gogh, the assassinated, as a “ubiquitous figure” in Holland, but is quick to point put out he is better known for his provocative public statements than his films. Van Gogh’s family was made up of Calvinists, Socialists, and Humanists all of which had an influence Theo Van Gogh in one way or another. Buruma emphasizes Van Gogh’s “desire to shock, to stir things up”, a desire developed at a young age and carried into his adulthood and films known for the shock value. There were to sides to Theo Van Gogh the first characterized by his ability to be generous and gracious and the second influenced by his curiosity and independence of mind. The later lead to his provocative comments with disregard for causing offense of uneasiness, it is also speculated this behavior was caused by his constant need to have public attention. Van Gogh strongly believed in speaking ones mind at all times with disregard for the consequences.

The characters of Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam, Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance include three distinct and well-developed protagonists; Theo Van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri, and Ayaan Hirsi. Theo Van Gogh is the murder victim, Mohammed Bouyeri is the murder, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the author of the controversial film entitled Submission, Theo Van Gogh directed the film.
Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin, is referred to as the “radical loser”, a term coined by Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Buruma refers to the radical loser as “the lone killers who cannot bear to live with themselves any longer and want to drag the world down with them.” Bur...


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...oexisting without conflict. The number of ethnic groups and each group’s relationship to power is what truly impacts political stability.
The position of existing groups at the time of a country’s independence impact the degree of challenges cultural diversity will present to national integration. Bowen explains that countries in which one group has been exploiting all others start off with scores to settle and countries with no clearly dominant group have an initial advantage in building political consensus.
States make political process choices that either ease or exacerbate intergroup tensions. Increasing the relevance of ethnicity in politics increases the likelihood of intergroup conflict. Following Theo van Gogh’s murder, Dutch society finds itself at a critical moment in making choices that could significantly influence ethnic conflict within the country.

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