Daily Archives: 14 May 2006

Peaktalk on the Fall of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Dutch expatriate Peaktalk offers a fascinating take on Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s downfall.

The other aspect that should be underlined here is the deep resentment that success and ambition usually generate in The Netherlands. Dynamic careers, success, outspokenness, standing out in the crowd are things that have always been frowned upon, although that has changed a bit in recent years I guess. Still, the Dutch coined the phrase “act normal, that is strange enough” and a very ambitious black Muslim woman who built up a spectacular political career with international allure by holding a mirror in front of the complacent and politically lethargic Dutch was of course not something that would be rewarded with eternal gratitude. Intelligent as she is, Hirsi Ali must have been keenly aware that she was bound to get into real trouble and by that I do not mean a jihadist ready to kill her. No, her once receptive hosts and former friends will now have the honor of wielding the knife.

Coming so quickly after the court ruling in the case that seeks to evict her from her house it is hard not to escape the conclusion that some sort of concerted effort is under way to get rid of her. As it stands, I believe that both the left and the right have a vested interest in bringing this about and without the support of her own party Hirsi Ali’s chances to hang on and run on the VVD ticket in the general election next year are remote.

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Guinness Record for Carp Streamers

On Sunday afternoon, the weather was clear enough that the Far Outliers made a short trip to see the already fading blossoms at Azalea Hill Park (つつじが岡公園) in nearby Tatebayashi in Gunma Prefecture. The white azaleas seemed to be the last to bloom and fade; the gaudier varieties were mostly well past their prime. It was a nice sprawling park, and the crowds were much more tolerable than they must have been the previous weekend.

Among the serendipitous delights we witnessed were the Guinness record-holding display of carp streamers (鯉のぼり koinobori)—set last year at 5,283, exceeded this year at 5,478—and a hothouse (温室 onshitsu) containing a wonderful range of tropical plants that made us nostalgic for tropical islands: palms, banyans, breadfruit, tree ferns, coffee trees, anthuriums, hibiscus, passion flowers, 等 (nado ‘etc.’).

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