The h2g2 Post 29.06.06

5 Conversations

Posted: 29th June 2006



A rose by any other name...

... doesn't smell as sweet if it is changed to win asylum. There have been major rumblings for several weeks over the decision by Rita Verdonk, the immigration minister, to strip Ayaan Hirsi Ali of her Dutch citizenship. Ms Hirsi Ali came to Holland in 1992 and changed both her name and age when filling in her application. She also claimed to have fled straight to Holland when, in fact, she had arrived via Kenya and Germany. She was awarded citizenship in 1997 and went on to stand for parliament representing the VVD party, ironically the same party as Verdonk. It was through her association with film maker Theo Van Gogh - assassinated in 2004 - that she became prominent, however, writing the script for the TV film Submission which highlighted the plight of women within the muslim world.

Given police protection after the film caused uproar amongst the muslim leaders, her neighbours in Den Haag won a court appeal to have her moved elsewhere and, shortly afterwards, a documentary on her life revealed the truth about her falsification. She insisted that she had confessed her deceit when applying to join the VVD, but Verdonk - who is well-known for her hard stance on immigration - withdrew her Dutch status regardless. She didn't bank on the fierce support expressed for the activist and, after an almost all-night sitting of parliament which very nearly led to a vote of no confidence yesterday, had to make a dramatic U-turn and reinstate Ms Hirsi Ali.

Verdonk, and possibly Prime Minister Balkenende who backed the original decision, will have to wait and see how this about-face and public outcry will affect their political future. Ms Hirsi Ali - who used the surname of one of her forefathers as, according to Somali law, she is quite at liberty to do - flies off to work in Washington for The American Enterprise Institute. So everything, for her at least, is smelling of roses.

On the sport front we wave goodbye, yet again, to Tim Henman at Wimbledon and the Dutch pull down their orange fiesta trimmings but an England flag still adorns my window. With most of the remaining teams in the World Cup having woken up I can only hope that England do the same and that our 'oldest allies' don't pummel our boys too much.

Our friends at DAC have another star interview coming up. I'll let The Duke of Dunstable fill in the details:

I'm pleased to inform that a date has finally been settled for a DAC VIP chat with Terry Jones.

Terry, apart from being Douglas Adams close friend, is mostly notable for being a member of comedy legend group Monty Python, an outfit nowadays notable for being the Pink Floyd of comedy, in the sense that all the members keep being asked when they're going to do something together again. But Terry has also other strings to his lyre; author of fantasy and childrens books and hosting historical TV documentaries.

Terry will lower his bottom into our snug and comfy VIP chat chair on Monday July 10, at 5pm BST, which is 4 GMT. As usual the chat will open some time prior to the event, for the benefit of those who cannot participate. Stay tuned to our news for updates.

Phew - rather a long editorial this week. EMR is off gadding around Europe for a few weeks so I promise the next edition will have a much shorter one. We have quite a bumper issue with one or two new series and new contributors so I'll leave you all in peace to enjoy the latest issue!

Shazz PRME(emeritus)



















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