Thursday, July 07, 2005

Many Is The Time I've Been Mistaken...

I was going to post today about my trip to Amsterdam, but as I logged on to the Internet I heard the news about London. Unsurprisingly my mind has been frequently in a different place since. I cannot, and do not want to, comprehend the mindset that can cause such carnage. These murderers pray on fear, and Richard is exactly right when he says that we have to continue as normal, for otherwise we are allowing the fear-mongers to win.

Having been at the Dutch Resistance Museum today, one point really came home to me. The exhibition starts off with an explanation of the different "pillars" of Dutch society - Catholics, Liberals, Socialists, Protestants - and demonstrates how separated the country was at the outbreak of war. The subtext to the rest of the exhibition was that the fragile unity of the Netherlands helped prevent a more active participation in a resistance movement. People were too scared to take part; even the resistance movements tended to come from individual 'pillars' rather than take on a truly national character in many ways.

There's a message for us all there. Britons may not live in a society that is so obviously divided into antagonistic pillars, but there's dividing lines between all of us. Yes, we have a culture of free opposition, and we must defend it to the hilt. Indeed, it's what we're fighting for. We have to make sure, however, that we stand together in the wake of horrors and atrocities that we saw in London today. We may disagree over Iraq, ID Cards, the G8 - and long may debates on these subjects continue. But we mustn't let disagreements on these issues allow us to flinch in fighting the Islamofascists.

Perhaps another story from the Dutch resistance museum would be instructive. By the end of the war, anyone found carrying a weapon was to be sentenced to death without trial. But they weren't killed immediately. They were held as prisoners until active resistance attempts were made - and were then killed in the streets, in public executions with all forced to watch, as a reprisal. We need only see the media management of the Islamofascists in matters such as the Ken Bigley kidnapping to know that given the chance, they would do exactly the same. We've got to make sure they don't get the chance to prevail.