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April 7, 2024

She who sups with the devil …

She who sups with the devil should have a long spoon …

Part of me wants to shake Zoraya and tell her to wake up to herself.

She may be depressed, and she may have any number of psychiatric maladies, but that does not mean that she should throw common sense (and her caution) to the wind.

I mean, at the end of the day, who should we blame for the hit job that The Free Press did on her this week?

But I’m being way too harsh, I know.

How was she to know?

Who is Zoraya?

Zoraya ter Beek is a 28-year old Dutch woman with chronic, incurable mental illness. Her last day on the planet will be in May this year.

Zoraya has been reported as saying that she wanted to speak out about her path towards her elective death, not to show that the Netherlands is a slippery slope to hell.

But, rather, how it took her more than 2 years to get to the point where a doctor would agree to help her die.

Her point was to show how difficult it is in the Netherlands to get help to die, even though the country has had euthanasia law in place for more than two decades.

On this point she failed miserably.

Dutch Complacency

Here in the Netherlands (our adopted home), we tend to be complacent.

Not about how many people get euthanasia each year or for what reason.

Our complacency stems more from thinking (certainly mistakenly in Zoraya’s case) that the rest of the world shares our pragmatic, sensible and common sense world view.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia has long stopped being controversial.

Everyone knows someone, not knows of someone but actually knows someone.

You won’t stop the dinner conversation by mentioning the E (euthanasie) word.

Nor will you invite a barrage of opposition if you say that it sounds like a logical choice at the end of life, and expect that you will go that way yourself when time comes.

Trusting the Media

Through this complacency, and in the absence of the culture wars (that wrack other countries over so-called moral issue of abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia/ assisted suicide), the Dutch have a genuine, trusting faith that the media will treat them fairly.

In my own experience of working with various Dutch media, I have been pleasantly surprised with the earnestness and sincere way that we at Exit have been treated.

This applies not only to Dutch journalists but continental Europeans in general.

There is a genuine desire to get the story right. This is a distinct lack of intent to produce an article or a radio/TV segment that upsets the subject or which shows a pre-determined agenda.

Enter Rupa Subramanya & The Free Press

While I’m not sure (and don’t really care) how Zoraya ter Beek came into contact with Rupa Subramanya, this association is where the trouble began.

Rupa Subramanya is a journalist whose writing places her right at the heart of polemic public political discourse, most often understood as the ‘culture wars’.

Rupa has a lot of opinions. While this makes her more columnist than journalist, let’s move on for there is more to say about Rupa and her like.

A quick search on her career to date shows that whatever Rupa writes about, there is a sting in the tail.

Her twisting and writhing, regardless of topic is sadly formulaic.

There is a bad guy (usually the government or big tech) and then there is a victim. Finally comes her self-righteous indignation. In Rupa’s world, the little person inevitably loses out, even if they don’t know it.

In her piece on Zoraya, Rupa’s fangs were always going to pierce deep.

She has Form

In previous writing on assisted suicide, Rupa Subramanya had laid her politics bare.

Assisted suicide/ euthanasia are not her cup of tea.

Her mission in writing is to ensure her readers agree.

One can only imagine that Zoraya took part in her interview with sincerity and trust. And with a real intent to show the Dutch euthanasia system for what it is: a careful, laborious process by which a relatively ‘privileged’ few get help to die.

How sorely disappointed she must be. And how angry.

How do we know this? Because Zoraya has since spoken out on social media, disowning the interview.

But since when has The Free Press been a news outlet concerned with ‘doing the right thing’.

Founder Bari Weiss has a fairly infamoust track record.

Indeed, one wonders if she founded the site because no one else would have her?

Her ‘if you are not with me – you are against me’, black-white view of the world has won her few fans (except for soulmate Rupa).

Culture-war sisters, they seem to deserve each other.

Before the ‘Free Press’ (which purports to be about ‘honesty, doggedness, and fierce independence’ – yeah right), Weiss founded, amongst other groups, Columbians for Academic Freedom.

A darling of the American political far right, she has a knack for descriptive names that are the antithesis of their name.

The Columbians showed little regard for any type of freedom of expression and thought. Rather, they were concerned with closing down Arab academics. The Free Press started life as ‘Common Sense’.

Neither is true. Neither makes sense.

Zoraya ter Beek knows this now.

The pity is she did not know it from the get-go.

Her toe-dip into the media has been a disturbing wake-up call to anyone who believes that Dutch society can afford to rest on its laurels.

As the late Russian journalist (assassinated by Putin) once said ‘freedom takes a lot of effort’.

Editor’s Note

The long read version of Rupa’s article refers to Philip Nitschke (the inventor of the Sarco) as speaking from Melbourne Australia.

It is almost 10 years since Philip has lived in Australia. He vows he has never lived in Melbourne.