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news from the Netherlands: the Wilders film

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User offline. Last seen 11 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23

I, like many others, try to avoid speaking about our local xenophobic politician, Geert Wilders, who by now has both bored and annoyed the majority of the population to death (not literally, thank deity-of-choice). But I think the Netherlands is going to be the location of some very unpleasant world news relevant to libervis soon, so I guess I should inform you guys now.

A little recent history:

August 29, 2004 - member of parliament (party: VVD, people's party for freedom and democracy, a center to right-wing party) Ayaan Hirsi Ali (former muslim) and director Theo van Gogh release a short film, Submission, that criticizes the treatment of women in Islam.

September 2004 - member of parliament Geert Wilders separates from his party VVD because he disagrees with that party being positive about the idea of Turkey joining the European Union.

November 2, 2004 - Theo van Gogh is shot and stabbed to death by a muslim extremist, who leaves a note attached to the body with a dagger. The note is a death threat to Hirsi Ali, the Netherlands, Europe and the USA.

September 30, 2005 - The Danish (not Dutch) newspaper Jyllands Posten publishes cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammed, leading to peaceful protests in Denmark, violent protests elsewhere, threats against Denmark, and a boycott.

November 22, 2006 - Elections. Wilders' new xenophobic party PVV (party for freedom) gets 9 seats, probably a fair representation of the number of Dutch citizens that agree with his views as of then. Wilders goes on a personal crusade against Islam and his views become more and more extreme.

Autumn/winter 2007 - now - Wilders announces he will make a short film about Islam. What we have heard about it so far is that it will call the Quran a dangerous book, that it will probably show recent violence in conflicts involving muslims, and that at the end "something interesting" will happen to a portrait of Muhammed. It will be released March 2008, probably on the net.
Dutch diplomats warn leaders in Islamic countries a dutch MP is creating a film they won't like, and try to assure them the point of view of a MP is not the same thing as the point of view of the whole Dutch government or nation. This reminds said leaders they're supposed to be angry at Denmark (also: February 12 - Danish police arrest suspects of a planned assassination of one of the cartoonists), and makes them ask the Dutch government to forbid the film - "or else!". (By the way it is impossible to forbid the film since nobody knows the actual content and therefore it cannot be forbidden as a hate crime yet).

Said Islamist leaders by now are so excited that I have no doubt that even if the film says Islam is the best religion ever and Wilders uses it to announce he has converted, they will still think they should be offended by it and will call for a boycot, assassination of Wilders, attacking Dutch soldiers in Afghanistan, etc etc.

So, the shit is going to hit the fan pretty bad, and it seems there's nothing we could do about it that wouldn't set a precedent that would be very bad for our democracy.

If the film is forbidden before it is shown to anyone, that means freedom of speech in the Netherlands is limited by what anyone in any other country doesn't like, in other words, no free speech. If it is shown, I dare to bet it will cleverly steer around our hate crime laws, and so it will be impossible to forbid and there would indeed be no decent reason to. And even if there were a good and legal reason to forbid it, our government probably couldn't because the file would be on a server abroad.

(a slightly less polite version was posted to free_priests)

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 10 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
Interestingly that at the

Interestingly that at the same time as I believe human potential to be almost limitless in a positive sense, I more and more often find myself calling out "human stupidity".

But, for all intents and purposes, I am just an outside observer and as such it could be argued I don't know the contexts and therefore can't understand the motivations that drive people on the each side of this case. Islamic reality is based on their set of religious and cultural beliefs. Western reality is based on their own. The most simplistic solution, but also least realistic, would be to simply separate the two cultures from each other. If they are so utterly incompatible, why do they mix in the first place?

But there is something of value to derive from that simplistic approach. Why do islamic nations care what happens in cultures outside of their domain? Because of muslims living in those countries, like Netherlands here, right? Same can be asked in Netherlands, why do dutch people care how woman are treated in muslim countries? Because there are dutch people living there?

How binding should the fact that there are some people of a given culture living in a country external to that culture really be?

Questions, questions.. and hard to find proper answers. But I'll say one thing. This whole nonsense seems to be just another indicator of how little sense it makes to group people under traditionalistic labels like "nation", "religion" or "culture" instead of just treating each individual individually. In my book, muslim countries should have absolutely no say on what happens to muslims in other countries or how should they react to things like these movies and each individual muslim should decide how they really feel and what is more important for them, freedom of speech or not getting occasionally offended by someone's work of culture.

And media should also back off a bit. They tend to encourage hysteric reactions and growing tensions rather than inspire rational thought and individual wisdom.

So.. what else to say.. this is what happens in a world in which people don't think for themselves nor is that even encouraged (instead it's stupid emotional binds like national/religious/whatever pride and loyalty combined with hype and lack of individual self-determination). Simplistic observation? Maybe. True? You be the judge. I'm interested in other opinions.


Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 11 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
Quote: But there is

But there is something of value to derive from that simplistic approach. Why do islamic nations care what happens in cultures outside of their domain? Because of muslims living in those countries, like Netherlands here, right?

Well I'm not them, but if someone does something that I consider extremely insulting, I don't think I would be less insulted if I knew that person was far away.


Same can be asked in Netherlands, why do dutch people care how woman are treated in muslim countries? Because there are dutch people living there?

Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia. That's plenty reason to care. Why do Dutch people care? I guess what they're most worried about is how some minority of Muslims in the Netherlands think women should be treated. They are affected by it directly, or someone they could possibly meet in the street by coincidence is affected by it.

But shouldn't we care about anything that is happening in another country? As an extreme example, if there is another ethnic cleansing somewhere, should we shrug and say "it's THEIR country, so not our business"?

We like freedom, so disagreeing with anything happening in a group we are not part of makes us feel uncomfortable. Forcing freedom on any group is self-contradictory. But that doesn't mean we have to shut up.

Something else, what we see here is someone acting suicidal and quite likely endangering others. The first response is to try to stop it at all cost, but the cost in this case actually is way too high.

User offline. Last seen 7 years 26 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
An immigrant Muslim used to

An immigrant Muslim used to work in a local shop. He had the long beard, when things were quiet he'd be reading his copy of the Koran, and sometimes played Arabic music. Though I smiled and was friendly his facial expression remained a stony stare, he resisted any natural response to reciprocate and my reading of this was that he probably had negative views of the local population.

I persisted in trying to crack this nut, not just out of my general social values, but particularly in light of global discord. So on the next visit I asked where the music was from, he replied factually from hi home in Saudi Arabia. I said it sounded very nice, and reminded me of Spanish music, no doubt because Spanish music has the benefit of the Moorish influence. Eureka! His face lit up and he started to talk about that history. He was even more delighted when I complimented the beautiful artwork of the Alhambra, and stunned when I said the Muslims at that time were far more tolerant and humane than the Christians who drove them out and instituted the inquisition. We were interrupted by another customer so I bade him farewell.

On the next visit, he was reading the Koran, and I said the Arabic writing was beautiful. Again he was delighted, and couldn't help himself from saying it was the word of Allah. I said I was raised in a different religion, but it also teaches that there is one creator of the universe, and it can only be the same one, so by that token both teach that we are all Allahs children, and that God is great, or in his words Allah Akbar. Now this seemed to be a new view for him, that on arguably the most important points the religions agree, and to hear a supposed infidel utter those two words with a smile that are usually the last words of suicide bombers put him on his back foot. Again interrupted I left, and he must have moved on as I haven't seen him since.

Now I have an open mind, and don't accept just because some say so, that the Koran is the word of God, or even that there is a God for definite. These things cannot be proven true or false by the scientific method. I believe in free speech, so why did I censor myself? Once you start down that road have you not given up the freedom our ancestors died to win?

I still have my freedom of speech, to say that I don't just because I chose not to exercise it in that case is not true, because in this post I've exercised it. If I want to invite people with extreme views to consider moderate views, jumping into conflict myself is hardly a good starting point. However, complimenting the good things about a persons cultural heritage at once makes the person feel appreciated and welcome rather than alienated. Also, staking out common theological ground, showing that a tolerant moderate position is not something entirely alien to his beliefs, further invites that person toward a greater fellowship of man.

But making anti-Muslim films and cartoons of Mohammad, in full knowledge that it plays right into the hands of certain imams churning out extremists from their mosques and madrases, is wrong-headed. They're exercising their free speech in a way that works in the ideal world of the future, but has dire consequences in the world as it is today. There will be blood, and yes we can clearly blame the imams who poison the minds of uneducated poor, and those who carry out the attacks, but those who are also in a position to choose not to provoke and provide what they know will be used as justification, also have blood on their hands, they cannot step back and pretend they had no hand act or part in it, they have full knowledge of the likely consequences.

Those who exercise this particular brand of free speech regardless of the consequences, are guilty of extravagant indulgence based on an absolutist view of freedom, it's totally backfiring every single time and resulting in LESS freedom. If they really want to make the world a better place, let them contribute to building up the moderate position, extending a hand of friendship instead of a fist of fury.

User offline. Last seen 11 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
That was very well written.

That was very well written. Thank you.

memenode's picture
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Joined: 2004-07-12
Indeed. I suppose then it is

Indeed. I suppose then it is not a problem that people care what happens outside of their country and then speak up against it. The problem is when the free speech that we have is used in a suboptimal way. Freedom of speech is the fundamental freedom and on that level it is therefore fine if someone speaks in a way that entices a discourse filled with negative feelings, but on a higher level the known and easily expected consequences of such expressions should be a moral deterrent for anyone who care to establish a positive, rather than a negative dialog.

So indeed, I wholeheartedly agree with you. We should definitely use our freedoms, but more responsibly. If only your post would get to the newspapers and on TV..


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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 10 weeks 2 days ago. Offline
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Some news on this: Site

Some news on this: Site Suspended After Promoting Dutch Lawmaker’s Anti-Qur’an Movie.

And so the foolishness continues. I can't help but think. Sure the movie might be quite provocative and sure it might not be a way to start a healthy and peaceful conversation. However, Zeitgeist was pretty hard on christianity yet it appeared within the western world (where most christians are) and lo and behold it's site is still up:

So, as much as I am to blame this dutch film maker for expressing his negative emotions about islam the way he apparently does in that movie, I am compelled to blame islamic extremists even more for in fact just adding oil to the fire. Did they ever hear of a concept of free speech?? I think someone should really start practicing chilling out.

Heck, the thing is they are actually enticing even more publicity to this film by trying to fight it so much instead of just ignoring it. Even the god damn scientology church knows better. Oh wait, did I just insult some fragile religious feelings by saying that?

Damn this makes me angry. How much more stupid are humans going to get! Fscking primitives! Sorry to say, but to me this is utterly primitive. Minds trapped in a shell.


Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 11 years 31 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-08-23
I'm beginning to suspect the

I'm beginning to suspect the film will turn out to be an april fools joke in very bad taste. Wilders will say something like "Sorry, there is no film, but look at how aggressive all those evil Muslims are!"

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