I arrived in Amsterdam last week for a brief visit, an excited acquaintance informed me of the day's big news: the highly popular Queen Beatrix, who has been on the throne for more than three decades, had just announced her intention to abdicate in favor of her imperially bland son Willem-Alexander. The first thought that came to mind when I heard the tidings was Her Majesty's disgraceful conduct after the 2004 jihadist butchering of Theo van Gogh. Refusing to attend the funeral of the accomplished author, journalist, and filmmaker, Beatrix instead rushed off to a Moroccan youth center to assure those present that she was their pal. According to Reuters, Beatrix didn't want to leave the throne until she was sure "that anti-immigrant, euroskeptic politician Geert Wilders, of whom she disapproved, was in no danger of assuming real political influence….Wilders' poor showing at the last election and loss of influence in politics, could well have contributed to her decision to abdicate." Willem-Alexander, whom van Gogh once described as something of a royal dummy, is no Wilders fan either, sneering in 2007, apropos of the politician, that "Speech is silver, silence is golden." (The dim-bulb prince appeared not to grasp that under the rules of the Netherlands' constitutional monarchy, it's his job, not that of an elected official like Wilders, to keep his mouth shut.)
Walking the streets of Amsterdam in recent days, I thought about the sudden, horrible way in which van Gogh had been struck down, shot and stabbed, on an ordinary November morning on one of those very streets. I thought about how many years it's been since that day. And I thought about the fact that things on that front have been relatively silent lately: it's been a while since the last high-profile killing, or attempted killing, of an Islam critic. I reflected about the fact that each of these events causes instant shock and consternation, a brief preoccupation on the part of many Europeans with the reality of the domestic Islamic threat, and is followed by a gradual forgetfulness and return to complacency about Islamization. And I found myself thinking that it was only a matter of time until the next such assassination attempt. Where would it be? Who would be the target?