Theo van Gogh (July 23, 1957 – November 2, 2004)

Today it is a year ago that Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered for his points of view, his ideas, his complaints and for what he stood for, by an islamic-extremist, or in other words, by a goat-fucker.

On July 23 1957, Theo van Gogh was born in The Hague. It is a well-known fact that his great-grandfather was art dealer Theo van Gogh, brother of Vincent van Gogh. After dropping out of law school he became a stage manager and his passion was in the making of movies. He debuted as a director with the movie Luger (1981). As an actor he appeared in the production De noorderlingen (“The Northerners”, 1992). After that, he worked for television and wrote provocative columns for Metro and other newspapers.

Van Gogh was a virtuoso writer of polemic prose. His often scandalous tone and personal animosities got him involved in a number of public law suits against other writers and public figures and got him fired as a columnist of a succession of magazines and periodicals, forcing him to seek refuge in his own website, called De Gezonde Roker (“The Healthy Smoker”). This, also being the title of one of his books, was an allusion to his notorious chain smoking and to the ‘politically correct’ negative stance towards smoking in society. In general, Van Gogh had a strongly nihilistic outlook on life, displayed, amongst others, by episodes of heavy drinking, his open use of the drug cocaine and a cynical view of love relationships. Although he seemed to enjoy his life, he said he wouldn’t mind dying. His last book was Allah weet het beter (“Allah Knows Best”, 2003) in which, in his typical cynical, mocking tone, he presented his views on Islam. He was a well-known critic of Islam, especially after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He supported the nomination of the liberal, Somalian-born female politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Dutch parliament. As of 2004, she is a Member of Parliament for the classical-liberal VVD party, which advocates limits to the admission of immigrants into the Netherlands.

Van Gogh was a member of the Dutch republican society Republikeins Genootschap which advocates the abolition of the Dutch monarchy, and a friend and supporter of the controversial Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn who was assassinated in 2002. He was also a staunch supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Although Van Gogh was generally known as a friendly, tolerant character, there were those who saw a venomous side to him as well. When he fell out with someone he tended to respond with hurtful prose. In the 1980s, he became a newspaper columnist, and through the years he used his columns to vent his anger at politicians, actors, film directors, writers and other people he considered to be part of “the establishment”.

Van Gogh rejected every form of organised religion. In the late 1990s he started to focus on Islam. He caused widespread resentment in the Muslim community by consistently referring to them as geitenneukers (goat-fuckers), which he justified by reference to alleged remarks on the permissibility of bestiality in a book on Islamic law by the Ayatollah Khomeini - although it is not clear whether Van Gogh actually coined the term geitenneukers, he certainly popularized it. He felt strongly that political Islam is an increasing threat to liberal western societies, and said that, if he’d been younger, he would have emigrated to the U.S.A., which he considered to be a beacon of light in a darkening world.

One of the few politicians who seemed to be exempt of Van Gogh’s criticisms was the conservative leader Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002. Van Gogh usually referred to him as the “divine baldhead’. After the death of Fortuyn, Van Gogh continued attacking the remaining members of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn as he did other politicians. His political idol from then on was Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Working from a script written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, van Gogh created the 10-minute movie Submission, part 1. The film is about violence against women in Islamic societies. It shows abused naked women wearing see-through dresses with Qur’anic verses unfavourable to women painted on their bodies. After the movie was released, both van Gogh and Hirsi Ali received death threats. Van Gogh did not take these very seriously and refused any protection. The movie shows the false image about Islamic teachings that many muslims have.

Van Gogh was murdered in the early morning of Tuesday November 2, 2004, in Amsterdam in front of the Amsterdam East borough office on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat streets. He was shot with eight bullets from a HS2000 (a handgun produced in 2000 in Croatia) and died on the spot. His throat was slit and he was then stabbed in the chest. Two knives were left implanted in his torso, one pinning a five-page note to his body. The note threatened Western governments, Jews and Hirsi Ali.

The murderer Mohammed Bouyeri, a 26-year-old man of Dutch and Moroccan nationalities, was apprehended by the police after being shot in the leg. Although born in Amsterdam, well-educated and apparently well-integrated, Bouyeri became a muslim extremist and has alleged terrorist ties with the Dutch Hofstad Network. He was also charged with attempted murder of a police officer and bystander, illegal possession of a firearm, and conspiring to murder others, including Hirsi Ali. He was convicted on July 26, 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Until his murder Van Gogh was working on a movie about the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. The film was officialy released on the internet on December 15, 2004 and had its cinema premiere on January 30, 2005.

Van Gogh was cremated on November 9, 2004 in Amsterdam.