pageok
pageok
pageok
Threatened Dutch Politician Required to Move Out of Her Apartment,

because of the European Convention on Human Rights. This strikes me as potentially quite troubling, but also puzzling, because all I've seen on it is brief English language news accounts, plus this blog post that comments on the case and translates some Dutch news accounts, and this Christopher Hitchens Slate piece that first alerted me to this. Here's one English language account from Expatica News:

Liberal Party MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been ordered to vacate the high-security home she is renting in The Hague within four months.

An appeal court sided with her neighbours who complained her presence put their own safety at risk and caused disruption to their lives....

Somali-born Hirsi Ali is known as a critic of aspects of Islam and she went into hiding in November 2004 when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered. They had finished work shortly before his murder on Submission, a short film about the ill-treatment of women under Islam.

Hirsi Ali and fellow MP Geert Wilders spent several months in hiding in secret locations due to death threats made against them because of their stance on Islam....

The neighbours ... won on Thursday when an appeal court accepted Hirsi Ali's presence meant they no longer felt safe in their own apartments or in the communal areas of the complex. The court ruled that is contravened Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which guarantees respect for a person's private and family life.

The Dutch State had contravened these rights by moving to the apartment complex without seeking their consent and without taking measures to diminish the neighbours' valid fears, the court said....

I understand the neighbors' concerns, but it seems to me on balance quite wrong -- and quite destructive of the fight against terrorism -- that they would have a legal right and, essentially, a European constitutional right to insist that Ali move out. Some risks, it seems to me, are inevitable whenever terrorists are trying to intimidate your countrymen and interfere with your democratic process. Sure, most of us would rather that these risks be borne entirely by others. But I don't think that we ought to have a legal right to insist on this. And if we do have the legal right to insist on it, that seems to only strengthen terrorists' ability to intimidate.

Plus, as PeakTalk points out, this "is not just about one outspoken member of parliament. Beyond a number of politicians there is a growing constituency of writers, artists and cartoonists who may rightfully claim government protection. And in most cases their neighbors are equally likely to take a less than charitable view of their right to exercise free speech. This is once more evidence of how Europeans fail to understand the bigger picture and are more than willing to let some short term comfort prevail over the long term survival of core values that built their societies in the first place." (I should stress, by the way, that this failing is a common and understandable human failing, not just a European one; it's just a shame if European law comes to reinforce this failing.) And, of course, "those responsible for threatening her will have the last laugh."

Nonetheless, it's hard to evaluate this for sure without knowing more of the facts and analyses underlying the court's judgment; and unfortunately I couldn't find even the Dutch-language version of the opinion. Do any readers know where the opinion might be found? If I get my hands on it, then I'll try to take the next step and get it translated.

Hans Bader (mail):
The European human rights convention is typically invoked to restrict, rather than expand, individual freedom, just as it was in Ms. Ali's case.

The European human rights court should be disbanded for all the problems it has caused, the injustices it has enforced, and speech restrictions it has upheld. It is a grossly discriminatory body that has created a vast body of freshly-minted entitlements that restrict rather than promote civil liberties.
5.9.2006 5:54pm
Steve:
Would the result be different if the tenant were, let's say, a cartoonist, as opposed to a government official? The story seems to suggest that renting this apartment was effectively state action.
5.9.2006 5:59pm
cirby (mail):
So...

When is the court going to require all of the folks who are making the threats move out of their respective neighborhoods and/or countries?

Under this ruling, it seems to be a slam-dunk to make the more radical folk pack their bags. Not that I'm going to hold my breath, for that matter.
5.9.2006 6:03pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Did anyone go to see her at Harvard today? I couldn't make it unfortunately, but would love to hear feedback on how Harvard undergrads reacted to her.
5.9.2006 6:15pm
SenatorX (mail):
What a bunch of cowardly dogs! That woman is a hero in my book. It wouldn't surprise me if her neighbors were paid petrodollars to make her move out.
5.9.2006 6:22pm
Michael Williams (mail) (www):
How bizarre to give the terrorists a legal weapon to wield against their targets. By merely making a threat a terrorist (or other trouble-maker) can now force their target out of their home.
5.9.2006 6:34pm
Steve:
For the record, threatening to kill people is not legal.
5.9.2006 6:47pm
byrd (mail):
I admire your doggedness in trying to track down the actual court opinion. For my money, it's irrelevant. They found that this woman needs to move because she's been threatened, not for her safety (which would be bad enough), but for her neighbor's' peace of mind. That her neighbor's right to be free of irrational fears of violence (according to reports, the police testified that, with their protection, her building is one of the safest residences in the country) is more important than her right to live in her own home.

I'm afraid I just don't care how the court rationalized this.
5.9.2006 6:52pm
markm (mail):
There's a hint in there that government security forces placed her in this apartment, rather than that she chose it for herself. It might make a considerable difference legally if the case is against the state rather than against an individual - namely, that her individual rights aren't (directly) at issue.

This isn't a very good analogy, but consider the case of the FBI Witness Protection Program putting a Mafia informant into an apartment in a family residential block until he could testify at trial. Obviously, if the location leaks the apartment is likely to be attacked by heavily armed men with a bad attitude towards innocent bystanders. Would the neighbors have a case against the FBI for endangering them? Or would an American court rule that public policy (the importance of bringing evidence against criminals in court) allowed the FBI to override concerns about the safety of the neighbors, as long as it was the FBI's judgment that hiding among "civilians" was the best way to protect their informant? I'd favor the latter policy, and support legislation to allow it. Europeans tend to not be as tough-minded.
5.9.2006 7:26pm
Just:
" Some risks, it seems to me, are inevitable whenever terrorists are trying to intimidate your countrymen and interfere with your democratic process. Sure, most of us would rather that these risks be borne entirely by others. "

Oh no, my friend...
Some risks, you bear yourself. You should realize that going in -- if you can't handle the pressure, don't take the risk.

That said, where did the Volokh family just move to? If it's not a gated community, maybe you and your family could bear the risks and invite her to live next to ... you and yours.

We're always braver when it's someone else you want to share the risk with you, based on your own actions, not your neighbors or friends.
5.9.2006 8:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just. Try rephrasing the last paragraph. It doesn't seem to go anywhere.

However, the fact is that brave people have taken others' risks on themselves. Pointis that in Holland, Ali is taking the Dutchies' risks on herself. Only difference is, she's doing it sooner than they will. Perhaps her neighbors think the crocodile will choke on her or something, not come back to them in its own time.

Not all cynicism is valid, and world-weary wisdom is frequently a pose. Even Holland had brave people, such as those detailed by Corrie ten Boom and those folks who hid the Frank family. That was some risk.
5.9.2006 8:34pm
MatthewM (mail):
Maybe Anne Frank's house is still available to house her....
5.9.2006 9:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
MatthewM.

Naw. First place the bastards would look.

While I think this is a horrible situation, what bothers me more is that so few people seem to be thinking about what it all means, in the larger sense.

Maybe if they keep their eyes closed....
5.9.2006 10:58pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Just said:
That said, where did the Volokh family just move to? If it's not a gated community, maybe you and your family could bear the risks and invite her to live next to ... you and yours.

We're always braver when it's someone else you want to share the risk with you, based on your own actions, not your neighbors or friends.
This is completely unfair. Prof. Volokh published, and provided intelligent commentary on, the dreaded 12 cartoons. He did so at a time when people who have published the cartoons have been threatened with death. He did so despite the fact that his photograph and work address are linked to from this website. In addition, he works in a city that: (a) has a large Muslim population; and (b) is one or two plane fights away from pretty much anywhere in the world. It is not like he is living in the middle of Kansas or Montana.
5.9.2006 11:12pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Just said:
"Some risks, it seems to me, are inevitable whenever terrorists are trying to intimidate your countrymen and interfere with your democratic process. Sure, most of us would rather that these risks be borne entirely by others. "

Oh no, my friend...
Some risks, you bear yourself. You should realize that going in -- if you can't handle the pressure, don't take the risk.
The philosophy of the coward. The philosophy of the free rider. Let someone else take the risks. Let someone else fight for my freedom.

Quite frankly, a "culture," a "nation," of such pathetic, selfish cowards really doesn't deserve to survive.
5.9.2006 11:20pm
Just:
"We're always braver when it's someone else you want to share the risk with you, based on your own actions, not your neighbors or friends."

Richard Aubrey:
Just. Try rephrasing the last paragraph. It doesn't seem to go anywhere.

How bout this: I speak out. I criticize. Others criticize back. I call on all my friends and neighbors to support me. They disagree. I "bravely" vow to fight on principle until the death. My neighbors however choose to live, in peace and good health, because they don't see -- with eyes wide open -- the huge value that I am assigning to this "principle". But believing in autonomy, they believe I am free to say and do whatever I like. Just please, don't expect them to share the consequences for my "bravely" speaking out and fighting on principle. They think I should bear the consequences myself, since if you recall, they disagreed with me from the beginning. (Iknow, I know, hard to believe honest, intelligent people can disagree, even on the "principles" that me and mine hold so dear.) hth
5.9.2006 11:21pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Hirsi Ali spoke at Harvard today. Fortunately, the Kennedy School, where she spoke, remains unbombed. As I suspected, our brightest young minds were SOB-ish toward Ms. Ali. Here is a link:

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20469
_Ayaan_Hirsi_Ali-_I_Wonder_What_You_Are_Doing_Here&only

Yes, I know it's LGF - so please let's just avoid the "Why, I'd never's"
5.9.2006 11:22pm
Just:
Here's a final thought:

why should those who don't share your gain,
have to share your pain ??????

(I personally don't harbor any ill will toward individual Muslim people or countries. I think many here misrepresent Muslims and Islam, for their own gain. Spoiling for a "fight". I think the past 3 years should damper any enthusiasm for picking such a fight. Sometimes understanding and reason work better, but that takes 2 sides.)
5.9.2006 11:26pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Just, it's not about who bears the risks. The neighbors have a right, no doubt, to not be bombed... or not to see someone get a letter pinned to their chest with a knife... or something. However, let's not forget that Hirsi Ali is not bombing anyone. Muslims terrorists are. The neighbors have a right to demand of their elected government, that it aggressively pursue terrorism, and effectively protect them against it. By evicting Ali, they are just blaming the victim. This is not only utter cowardice, but also myopic. I think it's been mentioned, but this type of reaction only emboldens the fatwa-issuers of this world.
5.9.2006 11:29pm
Just:
"The philosophy of the coward. The philosophy of the free rider. Let someone else take the risks. Let someone else fight for my freedom. Quite frankly, a "culture," a "nation," of such pathetic, selfish cowards really doesn't deserve to survive."

No my friend...
The coward is the one who cannot stand to fight alone.

I personally am plenty free, thank you.
And I... I will survive.
As long as I know how to love, I know I'll be alive... I've got all my life to live, and I want to. Not to be a pawn in someone else's fight. Someone who is plenty secure, and knows it, and chooses to let the consequences be borne by those less buttressed ...
5.9.2006 11:32pm
Just:
"By evicting Ali, they are just blaming the victim."

Big words Mike. You inviting her to move in next door, (in the same building) as your wife and kids??

Better not to be a victim in the first place, to me, but I realize some people are ok with being victims. I'm just not one of those.
5.9.2006 11:34pm
Just:
"Yes, I know it's LGF - so please let's just avoid the "Why, I'd never's"

Not credible.
Biased source.
Lots of that been going around these past few years...
5.9.2006 11:36pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Just, if you actually clicked the link, you would realize that it wasn't LGF, but Miss Kelly, who, last time I checked, stands free of fascism accusations.

Also, a word of (completely unsolicited) advice. This site leans libertarian, but has a fair amount of left-wing visitors. The "haven't we learned anything in the past 3 years" and "LGF are a bunch of teh stupid dumasses" have all been hashed and rehashed. Please, really, let's not go through those motions again.
5.9.2006 11:41pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
"Big words Mike. You inviting her to move in next door, (in the same building) as your wife and kids??"

I'm not married, but as long as you are out for a pissing contest: (1) Yes, I absolutely would. (2) I had put my money where MY mouth is when I served in the Army.

What did you do except run *yours?*
5.9.2006 11:44pm
llamasex (mail) (www):

From: Timothy Noah
Tuesday, May 9, 2006, at 5:51 PM ET
The New York City Carpenters' Union—more precisely, its pension fund—is trying to evict Hot 97 (WQHT), a hip-hop radio station, from a building it owns just south of the meatpacking district. In a court filing, the Carpenters' Union alleges that Hot 97's presence has led to a series of violent incidents, including three shootings. The Carpenters' Union is also seeking to eject two comparatively peaceable radio stations—KISS-FM (WRKS, R &B) and CD 101.9 (WQCD, jazz)—because they are owned by the same parent company. Last week Hot 97 countersued, seeking damages for breach of contract and complaining that the Carpenters' Union no longer allows any visitors to the radio station, making it impossible to conduct interviews there.

I'm no expert on real-estate law, but in its court filing, the Carpenters' Union persuades me that having Hot 97 in the building is extremely stressful for the other tenants. To read the annotations (below, and on succeeding pages), roll your mouse over the portions highlighted in yellow. The complete document can be found here.


http://www.slate.com/id/2141304/entry/0/

It looks like it CAN happen here :p
5.9.2006 11:53pm
Just:
Nope, never served.
I'm in my 30s; the smarter kids then went college. Saw more potential in training our minds, than being trained.

Still, glad some choose the service. Too bad more of those with such strong opinions on "principle" don't join them. You know, for the validity of really fighting for something you believe in. I don't believe in the policies our military is currently carrying out, and think I'd be more "free" if they toned it down a bit. Just my opinion. It's ok to disagree...

"haven't we learned anything in the past 3 years" and "LGF are a bunch of teh stupid dumasses" have all been hashed and rehashed. Please, really, let's not go through those motions again."

So, don't bring it up then. That's an easy one...

ps. And you're welcome. American taxpayers like me and mine paid your salary when you were in the service, working in your chosen job. I don't think "support the troops" means "send a blank check" and "nevermind those progress reports"
5.10.2006 12:01am
Just:
"It looks like it CAN happen here."

And this is a bad thing, for owners and neighbors to exercise some control about their surroundings and the people they choose to associate with?
5.10.2006 12:04am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Just said:
They think I should bear the consequences myself, since if you recall, they disagreed with me from the beginning.
If they want to continue to live in a free society, their their "thinking" is wrong.

First they came... :
They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.



"I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
5.10.2006 12:15am
Just Say No (mail):
Just,

A hypothetical situation: If Ms. Ali were bombed/gunned/knifed down in an Amsterdam street by a radical Muslim fundamentalist, and you were trolling on this blog looking for people to piss off, harrangue, and "educate," what would you write?
5.10.2006 12:20am
Just:
Then they bombed and burned out of their homes and food supply innocent non-Christian/non-Jewish women and children...

and I said nothing, because it was my country and they had convinced me, though fear, that such actions were necessary to protect me and mine. I fought for "principle"; they died and suffed for real.

I still think back on it now, years and years past, and weep. Why was I such a coward not to speak out against killing and violence? Why couldn't I "see" such needless death and destruction? Why did I justify the escalation of such violence, because I thought the victims were so different from me -- a monster religion? I never tried to understand or educate myself about such innocent victims. I knew I was better, and convinced myself that You were on my side, indifferent to the pain and suffering of others.

I looked out for me, my interests, at the expense of others. If I had held You in higher regard, and the quality of mercy, I might have seen that in working for the betterment of others -- instead of shooting up infrastructure or dropping bombs -- my interests and freedoms would have been better protected.
5.10.2006 12:29am
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
I'm just thinking... It's early 1942, the residents of Los Angeles County protest to Washington, because the preponderance of aircraft manufacturers there make them vulnerable to Japanese attack...
5.10.2006 1:01am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Charles Chapman,

See, the thing is, no one ever comes for the internet trolls. That's why Just isn't worried.
5.10.2006 1:09am
Artemis (mail):
Hey Mike BUSL07,

Thank you.
5.10.2006 1:27am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Hmmm. Why couldn't all the others be told to move to some safe place and leave Ali where she is?

++++

I think the Carpenters case is significantly different, if there have already been several violent acts. There have not, so far as I understand, been anything but nerves at the Ali Apartments.

Where I live, the government can (and has) petitioned to force owners to stay away from real estate that has been shown in court to be a 'public nuisance.' Read, drug dealing.
In at least one case, an allegedly uninvolved relative (mother, if I recall right) was forced out of her home by the bad-doings of a son.
5.10.2006 3:55am
Just:
That's funny, MikeBU.

In your fight for "free speech" -- so strong is your principle, you'd have other people die for it -- anyone who doesn't share your opinion is a troll somebody should "come for", presumably to keep them quiet.

Do you see the irony?

Did they teach you about honest discussion in your military training, or just how to "take out" those who are making trouble by expressing a different opinion?
5.10.2006 7:00am
chez Diva (www):
Just wrote in his reply to Mike:

<blockquote>
American taxpayers like me and mine paid your salary when you were in the service
</blockquote>

Just, get off your moral high horse. If it wasn't for our military protecting our freedoms and rights you wouldn't have the precious liberty to spout off like you are doing here.

And another Just "gem":

<blockquote>
Then they bombed and burned out of their homes and food supply innocent non-Christian/non-Jewish women and children...

and I said nothing, because it was my country and they had convinced me, though fear, that such actions were necessary to protect me and mine. I fought for "principle"; they died and suffed for real.

I still think back on it now, years and years past, and weep. Why was I such a coward not to speak out against killing and violence?
</blockquote>


Tell me Just did you weep when Saddam tortured and killed thousands of non-Christian/non-Jews (the Kurds, his citizens, Iranians and Kuwaitis)? Did you weep when 2,977 innocent men, women and children were killed on 9/11? Did you speak loud and clear against those atrocities? And one more thing Just - the Government didn't use fear to make me support the war on Terror (Iraq included) - Al Qaeda and countries that sponsor the terrorism did.
5.10.2006 10:27am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Just. The smarter kids didn't avoid the army to train their minds. You put entirely too much weight on accumulated classroom seat time as an indicator of virtue.
Wrong. Probably inversely correlated.
You are a parasite, by your description.
My brother and I got our BA/BS degrees and enlisted, as did a fair number of our fraternity brothers.

Anyway, in your hypothetical: I may not agree with you about something--if I did, I'd see a shrink--you consider principle. And if your mouthing off put you at risk, and you were my neighbor, my principle would kick in, which is that nobody fucks with my neighbors.
Considering the neighbor in question is you, I would be interested in rationalizing an exception, but I don't know if I can.
5.10.2006 11:16am
Gary McGath (www):
So if neo-Nazis threaten Jews, will the court kick the Jews out of their apartments for violating the rights of their neighbors by attracting danger, and declare that by doing so it's showing "respect for their private and family life"? Logically, it would.
5.10.2006 1:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Gary. And Just would probably be first to file the suit, or, if he came late, as amicus.
5.10.2006 4:32pm