Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Geert Wilders Interviewed On American TV

Geert Wilders was interviewed on Fox News Monday night, first on Glenn Becks' show...

...and then he almost got to say a few things on Bill O'Reilly's program:

I think Glenn Beck, by far, offered the better opportunity for Wilders to make his case. From the transcript:

Wilders: [..If] I would have been allowed to enter the United Kingdom and I would have gone to the House of Lords, I would have reminded them to one of the giants of America who spoke there in 1982, this was President Reagan, and President Reagan in the House of Lords while warning for communism said that if history teaches us anything, it teaches us that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.

And, of course, he was talking about communism, but what he meant is that we cannot escape — we cannot escape from totalitarian ideologies that want to destroy us.

... They had people shouting "Hamas, Hamas" and all the Jews have to be guests in the center of London. [Note: the Fox transcript is in error here; Wilders actually recounted the crowd's chant as "Hamas, Hamas and all the Jews to the gas" (thanks to BakedLays in the comments for pointing out the discrepancy)] They have Al Qaeda affiliates as guests from Lord Ahmed in the House of Lords a few years ago. They had pop music bands in December last year who are shouting music that gays should be killed. They have the most terrible things.

And one guy, like myself, is standing up and saying, this is wrong. We have to defend freedom of speech and warn against the totalitarian ideology of the Islam and I am being banned. I'm here today, Glenn, this week in the United States and to really learn from you.

What I want to propose is a European kind of "First Amendment." I want all the hate speech laws that are only used against us to be to be abolished in Europe. And let us come with a first — European first kind of amendments and learn from the freedom of speech that you Americans have.


BakedLays said...

Who'd have thought that an actual European would be the one to bring this to the attention of the US!

Just one thing:

The line in the transcript: "... They had people shouting "Hamas, Hamas" and all the Jews have to be guests in the center of London. "

What he actually said was: "Hamas, Hamas and all the Jews to the gas"

Thank you for the post!

Charles Henry said...

Thanks BK, you're right... I'm embarrassed to admit that I read the Fox transcript and yet even then did not notice the mis-association.

I've corrected the post accordingly...

In watching the interviews a second time, I can't help but contrast how polished Geert Wilders is in his handling of challenging questions, with President Obama's hapless public speaking skills whenever he's not reading from a prepared (and presumably well-rehearsed) texts. "Ums" and half-formed thoughts abound in rambling answers to the few challenging questions he's seen come his way in his press conferences so far.

Wilders's debating skills, I suppose, reflect his Parliamentary experience, where debate is a regular part of the process, as it is here in Canada, compared to the more speech-oriented process of the US representative system.

He's also undoubtedly far more used to talking to people who disagree with his views, and therefore has to spend more time listening to challenges (not always as politely phrased as O'Reilly's) to his conclusions.