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Refusing to Submit

“Submission” – the direct translation of the word ”Islam”
Somali refugee Ayaan Hirsi Ali had a message, and the Dutch film director Theo van Gogh was her herald. The collaborative effort resulted in the 12-minute fiction film “Submission” of a Muslim woman speaking out about her tortured life. Transparent garments veil the verses of the Koran painted onto the woman’s body. The actress chronicles her life’s adversities: she was forced into an arranged marriage, abused by her husband, raped by her uncle, then ruthlessly disciplined for her adultery.
“[The film is] intended to provoke discussion on the position of enslaved Muslim women,” said van Gogh in a television interview. “It’s directed at the fanatics, the fundamentalists.”

“We can still talk about it! Don’t do it!”
Dutch Moroccan Mohammed Bouyeri also had a message, and again, van Gogh was the chosen Herald. On November 2, 2004, van Gogh was riding his bike to work when Bouyeri shot the filmmaker to the ground. Ignoring van Gogh’s pleas for mercy, Bouyeri slit his throat and pinned a letter to his chest. The letter was directed solely at Ali, who served as a liberal parliamentarian for the Dutch government and had spent years fighting for women’s rights in Netherlands’ prevalent Islamic community.

Theo van Gogh: Michael Moore’s ideological Dutch cousin
Van Gogh’s murder was a psychological jolt to the Dutch nation. The outspoken film director thrived off of the Netherlands’ distinguished social tolerance.
“Theo and I amply discussed the possible consequences of Submission,” wrote Ali in a letter to a Rotterdam newspaper. She wrote that van Gogh told her, “The moment these considerations stop you from speaking out, that’s the moment freedom of speech stops and that is exactly what the fundamentalists want us to do.”
Genuinely spoken, van Gogh honored his moral convictions to his death.