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Tag: Netherlands

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the “No Platform” thugs

Tuesday, 6 February, 2018 0 Comments

“I am among those who have been ‘de-platformed’ for speaking critically about the political and ideological aspects of Islam that are not compatible with American values and human rights. The usual justification for disinviting us is that speaking critically of Islam is ‘hate speech’ that is ‘hurtful’ to Muslims.”

So writes Ayaan Hirsi Ali in “The ‘No Platform’ Brigade,” which is published in the Hoover Institution Journal. “The practice of de-platforming must end not just for the sake of politeness but for critical thinking,” she notes, and adds: “Free thought, free speech, and a free press were at the core of Western Civilization’s success.”

Despite the increasing intolerance of the Left and its fundamentalist Islamist allies, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not for turning: “However uncomfortable free speech about Islam may be for some people, enforcing silence on the subject will do nothing to help those who are genuinely oppressed — above all the growing number of Muslim dissidents around the world whose courageous questioning of their own faith risks death at the hands of the very Islamists whose feelings progressives are so desperate not to hurt.”

Background: Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Mogadishu in 1969 and she was subjected to female genital mutilation as a child. Ayaan Hirsi Ali Initially, she was a devout Muslim, but she began to question her faith and, as she tells it, one day, while listening to a sermon on the many ways women should be obedient to their husbands, she asked, “Must our husbands obey us too?” In 1992, she fled to the Netherlands to escape a forced marriage was given asylum and, later citizenship. From 2003 to 2006, she served as an elected member of the Dutch parliament and her name gained international attention in 2004 following the murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri. Van Gogh had directed her short film Submission, about the oppression of women under Islam. The assassin left a death threat for her pinned to Van Gogh’s chest and, increasingly disillusioned with the Netherlands, she moved to the United States. She lives now with round-the-clock security because her determination to speak out against fundamentalism has made her a target for Islamic extremists.


The startling murmurations of starlings

Saturday, 2 December, 2017 0 Comments

Jan van IJken is a filmmaker from the Netherlands and the relatively warm winter of 2015 gave him a rare opportunity to observe the “murmurations” of Sturnus vulgaris, the common starling, because the birds stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. A “murmuration” is a mass aerial stunt with thousands of birds swooping and diving in unison and these mysterious flights create one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena. Theories about murmuration suggest that by grouping together the starlings create safety in numbers so that predators such as falcons find it hard to target one bird in the middle of a flock of thousands. It’s also possible that the gatherings help the birds to exchange information.


Fast forward thinking at ING

Tuesday, 4 October, 2016 0 Comments

Revolutions are turbulent, gory affairs. “The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets,” said Baron Rothschild, who made a fortune in the panic that followed the Battle of Waterloo. This time around, it’s the financiers that are filling the streets, driven out by the algorithms in the battle to capture the smartphone customer.

ING Last week, Germany’s second-biggest lender, Commerzbank, said it was planning to cut 9,600 jobs over the next four years and end dividend payments for the first time. Yesterday, Dutch bank ING says it intends to cut up to 7,000 jobs in Belgium and the Netherlands over the next five years as part of a plan to save €900 million a year, speed up the adoption of new technology and “continue to lead in digital banking”.

“Customers are increasingly digital and bank with us more and more through mobile devices,” said ING chief executive Ralph Hamers in a statement. “Their needs and expectations are the same, all over the world, and they expect us to adopt new technology as fast as companies in other sectors.” Quote:

“In order to continue to lead in digital banking, we need to offer a better customer experience, that’s instant, personal, frictionless and relevant. From 2016 to 2021, we intend to invest €800 million in our digital transformation, building a scalable platform to cater for continued commercial growth, an improved customer experience and a quicker delivery of new products.”

Heralding the revolution at ING, Ralph Hamers titled his strategy “Accelerating Think Forward.” It’s kind of instant, but it’s certainly not frictionless for those giving way to the new technologies.


Leaving the euro: a practical guide

Friday, 6 July, 2012

The Economist and Daily Telegraph columnist Roger Bootle has won the £250,000 Wolfson Prize for Economics for devising the “smoothest” plan for a break-up of the eurozone. According to Bootle, the optimal solution would involve a northern monetary union centered on Germany, and including Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and maybe Finland and Belgium. Given […]

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