Art is not a crime

Today I can only write about one thing: the murder of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh (47), who was shot and stabbed in Amsterdam this morning. Theo, a far relative of Vincent Van Gogh, was the embodiment of free spirit. He made quite a few enemies with his (sometimes too) sharp and controversial columns. Sometimes he was described as the Dutch Michael Moore.
I did not read much of his writings, but I really appreciated him as a maker of interesting films and tv programs. His last movie ‘Submission’ perhaps proved fatal to him, in which he (like before) had a critical view about fundamentalist religion. Ironically Van Gogh just finished a movie about Pim Fortuyn, the politician who was shot two years ago.
Theo van Gogh was a strong supporter of the public debate. Therefore it was appropriate that the mayor of Amsterdam, sometimes scapegoat himself in Van Gogh’s columns, used the well-known quote (often attributed to Voltaire) in his commemoration speech tonight: ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’
The same Voltaire had in the 18th century his books printed in Amsterdam, because of its tolerant cultural climate. I wonder where he would go today…