Geert Wilders To Anti-Free Speech Court: EAT ME
I will add to the Jawa comments.Mister Speaker, judges of the court,I can't say I agree with Geert Wilders on all issues, and I have vehemently opposed some of his more idiotic ideas (like banning the Quran), but what right does a government -- any government -- have to suppress criticisms of religion?
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.
Lady Justice wears a blindfold, but she has splendid hearing. I hope that she hears the following sentences, loud and clear:
It is not only a right, but also the duty of free people to speak against every ideology that threatens freedom. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States was right: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
I hope that the freedom of speech shall triumph in this trial.
In conclusion, Mister Speaker, judges of the court.
This trial is obviously about the freedom of speech. But this trial is also about the process of establishing the truth. Are the statements that I have made and the comparisons that I have taken, as cited in the summons, true? If something is true then can it still be punishable? This is why I urge you to not only submit to my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of freedom of speech. But I ask you explicitly to honour my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of Islam. I refer not only to Mister Jansen and Mister Admiraal, but also to the witness/experts from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Without these witnesses, I cannot defend myself properly and, in my opinion, this would not be an fair trial.
The prosecution of Geert Wilders is a two fold attack on freedom. First, it violates free speech. Second, if violates freedom of religion. The second point being nearly universally missed since the first point usually suffices as a defense. But think about it: freedom of religion is also about the ability to criticize religions which you don't agree with.
The broad religious freedoms enjoyed in the United States have led not only to greater religiosity, but also to a wider diversity of religious creeds. The history of the creation of sects is the history of one group of adherents disagreeing with another set of adherents.
To single out Islam as the sole religion which cannot be criticized is to give it state sanctioned protection not enjoyed by other religious communities. It is, in fact, just what many of the critics say it is: creeping sharia.
Because in the Netherlands, just like in Saudi Arabia, it is perfectly legal to criticize Christianity. But it is against the law to criticize Islam!
Again, I think many so-called examples of creeping sharia that are sent to me are pretty way off base. In fact, some of the email I get is from the paranoid fringe who think there is a super-secret Islamic conspiracy. A bunch of rubbish, all of it. There are much simpler explanations for the underlying motives of groups of people than conspiracy. Like try stupidity. Or maybe fear. As in: the Dutch really are afraid of offending Muslims who have some adherents who will kill you. Offending Christians? Not so much.
In any event I support Geert Wilders. And when I say that it doesn't mean I support everything he says or does, only that I support his right to freedom. Which I do. Unequivocally.
Here are some major loci of power in society:
1) The Government
2) The Media
3) Academic Institutions
4) Courts - an extension of government, yes, but still the most independent of the three branches, and thus I want to separate it out.
All of these institutions wield enormous power in our lives.
If we can not criticize these institutions, then their power becomes absolute.
Our system is a series of checks and balances invented to ensure that power does not centralize in any one institution.
The people have the right to Freedom of Speech precisely because without it, we would be at the mercy of these institutions.
It is the height of stupidity to believe that we can compromise on Free Speech, on our ability to criticize those who have power, without losing the rest of our Freedoms.