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{Empty title} | The Nation

The thing is, we are gifted with short memory, meaning our memory erases all not welcome in our minds. I remember how fond we all used to be of ourselves, here in the Netherlands, when the struggle of the ANC against apartheid and white power wasn't won yet. All my fellow countrymen used to walk in demonstrations against apartheid, which was, of course, a rather homegrown phenomenon.

Nowadays we can see this more clearly, for our parliament is infested with the PVV-party, a anti-Muslim party with only one goal: get rid of all the Muslims in Europe. What Ms. Lalami tells us is right on the nose--worse even, it clearly shows we desperately need some other voices, public voices, meaning we need to reform our opinions though literary and political voices. Why is this so hard to achieve; 9/11, that used to be one of them, pretty soon we are entering a new decade... Dictatorships in some of those Arabic countries then? As if democracy with the likes of Berlusconi and Bush were democracies. Maltreatment of women: take a good look at YouPorn, for God's sake...

Pretty soon we are in the trenches, hitting each other with arguments and non-arguments. Perhaps we should look different to our pasts: yes, Arabic countries do have a bad track record, but hey, who used to colonize the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, Asia...

Who/where originated the (so far only two) world wars, if we leave the Japanese out of the equation for the sake of argument (they were among the first to prove the whites weren't invincible!)?

What we need is a true and hard look upon ourselves, Westerners and Arabics: neither "sub-species" is free of blame, free of guilt, although one of those has been richer then the other for a considerable amount of time.