There are two sides to the expulsion of Ayaan Hirsi Magan (a.k.a. Ayaan Hirsi Ali) from the Dutch nation and her resignation from the Second Chamber of the States-General, the Dutch Parliament.
Yes, she was a gain to Dutch society and politics. And yes, there was something thoroughly dishonourable about the action against her. Her well-to-do neighbours wanted to get rid of her bodyguard-encumbered presence because it brought the scary realities of multiculturalism a bit too close to home for comfort. Politician Hans Wiegel, a leading member of Ayaan’s own party, the Liberal Party VVD, and an establishment elitist who had earlier sabotaged the enactment of a bill instituting the right to citizen-initiated referendums, smugly commented: “We will not be hearing much from Ayaan anymore, and we will not miss her.”
Politician Hilbrand Nawijn, elected as a coattail to the late Pim Fortuyn, joined forces with the Red and Green defenders of Islam to destroy Hirsi Ali, the activist who survived the murders of Fortuyn and of her friend Theo van Gogh. Nawijn cried victory when his demand to annull her Dutch citizenship was implemented. The Calvinist Right never forgave her her liberal advocacy of a secular school system, which is a legitimate viewpoint but no grounds for wanting someone expelled. To me, the coalition of undeniable diversity that brought her down was itself reason enough to support her.
She was all the more irritating to the enemies of freedom because her skin colour made it difficult to dismiss her as a racist. Indeed, her race is an anti-racist statement in itself. The Somali people are a mix between what old race theorists would have called the “Semitic” and “Hamitic” races. The old school frowned upon race-mixing and taught that it never yielded stable mix-races and that the mixed-race individuals were an ugly and unhappy lot, yet the Somali are on average among the most beautiful human phenotypes on earth. Ayaan Hirsi Ali also gave the lie to claims about low intelligence among Africans, for within a few years she acquired a mastery of the Dutch language that put many native speakers to shame.
Nevertheless the fact remains that she played and lost. The initial lie with which she gained asylum – and subsequently a successful future in Dutch society – caught up with her. I have known asylum seekers whom I personally liked and whom I considered an asset to our society, but who were nonetheless guilty of spicing up their stories to get accepted as legitimate refugees. They were lucky, but if their endeavour had failed it could not have been called unjust. Those were people whom I considered an asset to our society on specific grounds (as distinct from the silly dogma that any newcomer constitutes an “enrichment”), they were well integrated and fundamentally grateful to our country, but more importantly, they were individual cases.
Sympathy for individuals loyally struggling to find a place among us should not make us abandon our powers of discernment. A society can absorb individuals, not the teeming masses who would like to enter. The dramatic cases of individuals who have integrated but are legally required to leave the country should be avoided in the future by a firmer asylum policy which deals quickly with asylum requests and swiftly implements the decision whether to give or withhold the right to stay. This is not a harsh toughening of asylum policy but simply a matter of common sense. That is also why it was supported by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has consistently spoken out in favour of the restoration of integrity to the asylum process and a policy of selectivity in the admittance of labour immigrants, guided by the national interest. In other countries, too, it would seem that native politicians avoid the topic for fear of being called racists, but there is nothing particularly racist about upholding the rule of law.
When Ayaan Hirsi Ali was faced with the allegation that according to a strict interpretation of the law she was an illegal immigrant, she did not ask for special favours. Dissenting from the common opinion among her sympathizers she did not say: “I am among the good guys and so I have the privilege of overstaying my legal welcome.” Among other considerations, she knew that an exception for her would be used by asylum lawyers to argue for an extension of her exception to all illegal immigrants. And this is exactly what happened: when Minister Rita Verdonk announced that she would rethink her decision of expelling the passionaria of the struggle against Islamic oppression, hundreds of illegal aliens in The Netherlands seized the opportunity to file requests for a similar exception. Not that they had comparable merits to their credit, but the law is blind to such distinctions.
So Ayaan Hirsi Ali did the right thing by resigning and packing up. And since she had a job waiting for her in the USA, she could leave in style and show the petty Dutchmen that she does not need them. Whether they need her remains to be seen. Who will stand up and carry the torch of freedom and of resistance to Islamist intolerance and aggression?