Thursday, January 21, 2010

Geert Wilders on Trial

Yesterday, the Kafkaesque Prozess against Geert Wilders started. Wilders took a few minutes to address the court. Please find below Geert's personal message (English subtitled).

Hattip: Vlad Tepes

Full translation:
Speaker, judges of the court,
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 Admiral, 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 a fair trial.

1 comment:

Frits said...

That was a beautiful speech, but also a quite useless one. As an atheist I wonder how Mr. Wilders can ever prove that what he feels is the essence of Islam is the essence of Islam for most muslims. It's the 'no true scotsman' problem he will come up against. That is to say that there are many different denominations of Islam (like there are of christianity) and each denomination feels itsself to be true muslims. That would include those strange sufi mystic cults that do not necessarily agree with a strict interpretation of Islam.

Now strictly logically I agree with geert Wilders on Islam. It makes no sense to me, it seems equally unreasonable to me as christianity or Judaism. However when looking at the most effective ways of battling unreasonable theistic beliefs is NOT attacking them full on. Not only will believers not understand this and feel threathened by it, it will also make sure that any fundamentalistic group will come selfrighteously to the fore. This means that any discussion between these two extremes will get us nothing as far as solutions go. and worse it will drown out ANY reasonable voices on either side of the argument. which will lead to further polarizing and incidents of violence from both sides, which will only inflame the conflict further.

Of course this is exactly what Mr Wilders wants, because the further he polarizes society the more self fulfilling his prophecy will be. and this is where I have a problem. Mr. Wilders motives on attacking the Islam seem dishonest to me, since it seems to be solely used to feed his populism and is by no means an attempt to start any serious debate on this issue (exemplified by the fact the mr. Wilders has not been willing to engage in any debate on this subject which is not political in nature). It makes me sad that he is using (or abusing) atheist principles like rationality to propagate fear, irrationality and xenophobia. Instead of Making his point and then debating about it seriously (which is not the same as repeating great soundbites that rarely if ever have anything to do with the subject matter).