Excerpts from Geert Wilders’ NY February 2009 speech:
Thank you. Thank you very much for inviting me. And—to the immigration authorities—thank you for letting me into this country. It is always a pleasure to cross a border without being sent back on the first plane.
Today, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack all throughout Europe. Free speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural element of our existence, our birth right, is now something we once again have to battle for.
As you might know, I will be prosecuted, because of my film Fitna, my remarks regarding Islam, and my view concerning what some call a “religion of peace”. A few years from now, I might be a criminal.
Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue; I gave up my freedom four years ago. I am under full-time police protection ever since. The real question is: will free speech be put behind bars?
This is Europe 2009. Muslim settlers calling for our destruction, and free speech on trial. All this is the outcome of a sick and evil ideology, the ideology that is weakening us, the surrender ideology of cultural relativism. It believes that all cultures are equal, and therefore Islam deserves an equal place in the West. It is their duty, the Left thinks, to facilitate Islam. This way the cultural relativists paradise comes within reach and we will all be happy, and sing kumbaya.
Update of 20 January 2010: Mark Steyn on the trial of Geert Wilders:
A couple of years back, the novelist Martin Amis went to see Tony Blair and brought up the European demographic scenarios of my book. When the British Prime Minister got together with Continental leaders, Mr Amis wondered, was this topic part of “the European conversation”? Mr Blair replied, with disarming honesty, “It’s a subterranean conversation.” “We know what that means,” wrote Amis. “The ethos of relativism finds the demographic question so saturated in revulsions that it is rendered undiscussable.”
Geert Wilders is on trial for wanting to discuss it. The European political class will not permit this—even though what is “undiscussable” in polite society is a statement of the numbingly obvious if you stroll through Amsterdam and Rotterdam, not to mention Antwerp, Clichy-sous-Bois, Malmo, or any old Yorkshire mill town. The Dutch establishment is effectively daring the citizenry: “Who ya gonna believe—the state-enforced multicultural illusions or your lyin’ eyes?” Lest you be tempted to call their bluff, the enforcers are determined to make the price of dissent too high.
In the Low Countries, a pattern is discernible. Whenever politicians seek to move the conversation from the “subterranean” to the surface, they are either banned (Begium’s Vlaams Blok), forced into exile (Aayan Hirsi Ali) or killed (Pym Fortuyn). Given that the court provided greater security to Theo van Gogh’s killer than to Mr Wilders, you might almost get the impression that the authorities are indifferent as to which of these fates consumes him.
Behind this disgraceful prosecution lies a simple truth that the Dutch establishment cannot tell its people—that, unless something changes, their nation will become more and more Muslim and, very soon, slip past the point of no return. They understand the tensions between their ever more assertive Muslim population and an aging “native” working class, but they believe that the problem can be managed by placing “the European conversation”—the non-subterranean conversation—within ever narrower constraints, and criminalizing any opinions outside those bounds. Some of them are blinkered and stupid enough to think that they need to do this in order to save the tolerant multicultural society from “right wingers” like Wilders. In fact, all they are doing is hastening the rate at which their society will be delivered into the hands of the avowedly intolerant and unicultural. In its death throes, Eutopia has decided to smash the lights of liberty.