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Life imitates (political, Islamophobic) artifice

[ by Charles Cameron — Dutch Islamophobia offers a terrible example of the sign turning into the signified ]

Jan van Breughel, 2012? -- photo credit: Eric Brinkhorst, Algemeen Dagblad


The quote that follows is offered without much comment, except to note that the formal correspondences between the two instances of “Henk and Ingrid” are as compelling as the two situations themselves.

From Islamophobia Watch:

As the Netherlands heads for a general election, barely a day passes without a mention of “Henk and Ingrid”, or Mr and Mrs Average, in a political debate that has revolved around the economy and the euro zone debt crisis.

The invention of populist politician Geert Wilders – who heads the anti-immigration, anti-euro Freedom Party – this mythical couple attracted a different kind of notoriety after a real Dutch Henk, with a wife called Ingrid, killed a Turkish immigrant, prompting commentators to warn that populism can backfire.


Compare the strange story of the writing and real-life enactment by the avatar of Vishnu of Valmiki‘s Ramayana, which I alluded to in a comment on William Benzon’s blog:

I recall that when I was in India more than thirty years ago, I was told the Ramayana was written by Valmiki, first among poets — and it was only afterwards, and under the poem’s inspiration, that Vishnu did indeed take the form of Rama and come to earth to live out the story already depicted in Valmiki’s epic.

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