January 21, 2010
As the Netherlands enthusiastically enters the new Dark Ages Geert Wilders has been charged with inciting discrimination and hatred. This week he defended himself, and freedom, at his pre-trial hearing:
I would like to make use of my right to speak for a few minutes.
Freedom is the most precious of all our attainments and the most vulnerable. People have devoted their lives to it and given their lives for it. Our freedom in this country is the outcome of centuries. It is the consequence of a history that knows no equal and has brought us to where we are now.
I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom in the Netherlands is threatened. That what our heritage is, what generations could only dream about, that this freedom is no longer a given, no longer self-evident.
I devote my life to the defence of our freedom. I know what the risks are and I pay a price for it every day. I do not complain about it; it is my own decision. I see that as my duty and it is why I am standing here.
I know that the words I use are sometimes harsh, but they are never rash. It is not my intention to spare the ideology of conquest and destruction, but I am not any more out to offend people. I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom.
Future generations will wonder to themselves how we in 2010, in this place, in this room, earned our most precious attainment. Whether there is freedom in this debate for both parties and thus also for the critics of Islam, or that only one side of the discussion may be heard in the Netherlands? Whether freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to everyone or only to a few? The answer to this is at once the answer to the question whether freedom still has a home in this country.
Freedom was never the property of a small group, but was always the heritage of us all. We are all blessed by it.
The historic text is here
At City Journal Bruce Bawer has published “A Dark Day for the Enlightenment”:
... all that Wilders has done is expose vital truths about a dangerous ideology. The bottom line is clear: in the Netherlands today, it’s not an offense to incite violence in the name of Islam against gays, Jews, and infidel women, but it is an offense to draw public attention to these incitements of violence. We are supposed to pretend not to know what the most devout members of a certain religion believe, what they say among themselves, and what they want to attain. What we are witnessing here is an upside-down world—an Orwellian nightmare come to life.
The full text is here
The Quadrant Book of Poetry: 2001 - 2010
edited by Les Murray