dutch scare video

Apparently the Dutch have seen fit to make a video designed to scare away potential Muslim immigrants. It’s a shame, because it appears at first to be highlighting what are in fact positive aspects of life in the Netherlands: tolerance for nudity and homosexuality, among others. But they’re mixed with other weird glimpses of dutch life:

The film indulges in a dose of Dutch frankness. Besides the snippets on homosexuality and nudity, it features a run-down neighborhood largely populated by foreigners plus interviews with immigrants who do not always describe the Dutch in flattering terms, calling them at one point “cold” and “distant.”

The film warns of traffic jams, integration problems, unemployment and even possible flooding in a country largely below sea level. Some immigrant success stories are showcased, but one newspaper joked that the tourist board would give the whole production a thumbs down.

The spokespeople for the immigration board claim that accusations that they are attempting to scare off Muslims is nonsense, but this seems belied by the focus on negative aspects, and the selective nature of the video screening:

But Abdou Menebhi, chairman of Emcemo, a Moroccan interest group in Amsterdam, said the film was just another example of how the Netherlands was trying to limit immigration from Muslim countries.

“This isn’t education, it’s provocation,” Mr. Menebhi said. “The new law has one goal: to stop the flow of immigrants, especially by Muslims from countries like Morocco and Turkey.”

Citizens of some countries, in fact, are exempt from the examination, including those from the United States and European Union nations.

They don’t need to show the video to people from the United States, see, because over here in the states, we’re just as cosmopolitan, and nudity and homosexuality is no big thing – we’re very tolerant of both, see. Ahem. So it would appear they aren’t trying to scare away Muslims, per se, but just Muslims from predominantly Muslim countries.

I would approve of this video if they ditched the negative focus and distributed it to all immigrants, making it more of a user’s manual to a tolerant society rather than a cheap scare tactic to dance around the core immigration issues at hand.