42 pages 1 hour read

Ian Buruma

Murder in Amsterdam: Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2006

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Chapter 4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 4 Summary: “A Dutch Tragedy”

Departing from the theme of using an individual as the central figure of a chapter, Buruma uses Chapter 4 as a means to take the social temperature of a wide array of people living in the Netherlands. He opens the chapter with a synopsis of a Dutch melodrama Najib and Julia, a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story directed by Theo van Gogh. The series tells the tale of a Moroccan immigrant young man and his native Dutch love interest. Ending tragically, it was broadcast in 13 episodes in 2002 as a means by which to indirectly address notes of stereotypes and prejudices deemed prevalent in the Netherlands.

Buruma continues on by interviewing Farhane el-Hamchaoui, a young Moroccan-Dutch actor who described what is was like growing up in the Netherlands as the son of immigrant parents. Although successful and a self-proclaimed “exception” (113) to the norm, Farhane describes how the demeaning conditions suffered by the parents of many immigrants lead their children to feel an anger “with the Dutch state” (115), which he felt “let us come here without explaining how things work. They […] were too proud to show their humiliation. So their children felt it more.