First Hirsi Ali and Now This

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Hirsi Ali and Now This

Johan Cruijff (often spelled Cruyff in English) may have been the greatest soccer player ever (I'm not saying he was, but he's one of a handful for whom a plausible argument could be made). As a player, he was opinionated and headstrong. Since his career ended, he has become an oracle of sorts. His wisdom is sought on any variety of subjects, and his obscure and ambiguous utterances are analyzed carefully. He's the sort of person who is either a genius or an idiot, and you're not sure which.

His latest contribution to the national debate is an article in which he contends that Minister for Immigration Rita Verdonk is partly to blame for the Netherlands' loss to Portugal in the World Cup on Sunday. Had she permitted Salomon Kalou to obtain Dutch citizenship, then he would have been available to substitute for one of the team's ineffective wingers. But since she repeatedly turned down Kalou's application for expedited naturalization, he wasn't available.

Here's the wisdom of Johan, rendered in my accuracy-not-guaranteed translation:
I would like to emphasize that ministers are there to serve the national interest, and she clearly didn't do that. Not only in connection with this World Cup, but also for the next 10 years [Kalou has given up on joining the Dutch team]. I compare it a bit with the technical director of a professional team. If a major player of Kalou's caliber wanted to join my team and my manager sent him away, the manager could draw his own conclusions. The same goes for Verdonk.

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