Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Geert Who?

The news out of the Geert Wilders show trial today is that the Dutch court is refusing to hear but three of the eighteen witnesses Wilders had wished to call.

What is one to make of this but that it shows an obvious desire on the part of the judges to keep things as quiet and short as possible. Once again we see that the "liberal" elites ruling the West simply cannot both defend their dogmatic positions on multiculturalism and "hate speech" without trying to shut up people who point out some of the deep problems with their ideology. And no problem is greater than the question of whether Islam, as it exists today in Europe, is compatible with European liberal democracy.

Diana West notes that it is not just the Dutch judges who don't want to hear too much about Islam, it is also the global media. One might have thought that when the government of a Western state puts on trial the Parliamentary leader of the party currently highest in the polls, this would be big news to those who supposedly pride themselves in chronicling and commenting on the ways of liberal democracy. Apparently not:
If anyone is puzzled as to why there is so little MSM coverage of this trial that is in the shameful and historic tradition of the trial of Galileo, the reason is unspoken, possibly unconscious media cowardice and embarassment: cowardice driven by the chilling effect of the experience of Kurt Westergaard and other critics of Islam under permanent death threat; and embarassment driven by intense discomfort with frank discussion of the gross incompatibility of basic Islamic beliefs with Western society.

In other words, this code of silence is the code of dhimmitude.
This reminded me of Paul Berman's conclusion to his celebrated 2007 New Republic essay on Tariq Ramadan:
The [Salman] Rushdies of today find themselves under criticism, compared unfavorably in the press with the Islamist philosopher [Tariq Ramadan] who writes prefaces for the collected fatwas of Sheik al-Qaradawi, the theologian of the human bomb. Today the menace to society is declared to be Hirsi Ali and people of similar minds, of whom there are quite a few: John Stuart Mill's Muslim admirers, who are said to be just as fanatical as the fanatics. During the Rushdie affair, courage was saluted. Today it is likened to fascism [by the lefist establishment].

How did this happen? The equanimity on the part of some well-known intellectuals and journalists in the face of Islamist death threats so numerous as to constitute a campaign; the equanimity in regard to stoning women to death; the journalistic inability even to acknowledge that women's rights have been at stake in the debates over Islamism; the inability to recall the problems faced by Muslim women in European hospitals; the inability to acknowledge how large has been the role of a revived anti-Semitism; the striking number of errors of understanding and even of fact that have entered into the journalistic presentations of Tariq Ramadan and his ideas; the refusal to discuss with any frankness the role of Ramadan's family over the years; the accidental endorsement in the Guardian of the great-uncle who finds something admirable in the September 11 attacks--what can possibly account for this string of bumbles, timidities, gaffes, omissions, miscomprehensions, and slanders?

Two developments account for it. The first development is the unimaginable rise of Islamism since the time of the Rushdie fatwa. The second is terrorism.

As for Geert Wilders, he apparently is not amused to be tried by judges who apparently suffer in fear of what they might hear and have to judge. Gates of Vienna reports Wilders' comments:
“This court is apparently not interested in the truth. I cannot conclude anything but that the court does not award me a fair trial,” Geert Wilders said after the court in Amsterdam rejected fifteen of the eighteen witnesses chosen by him.

“I have no respect for this,” Wilders added. He pointed out that in a typical criminal case there are often dozens of witnesses heard. He believes that his case, which he calls a matter of great principle, would also deserve that. Otherwise he cannot prove that he has spoken the truth with the statements that led to his prosecution.
The time is come when we all have to decide whether to shut up or face down our fear of the left-terrorist alliance.

As usual, Walker provides a great roundup of Geert Wilders news.


Dag said...

A Daily Telegraph columnist has this line: "[A]s one of the prosecutors said before the trial: “It is irrelevant whether Wilders’s witnesses might prove Wilders’s observations to be correct, what’s relevant is that his observations are illegal”."

truepeers said...

Well, even if that's true, and I don't know it is, it hardly exhausts the matter for we still live in a culture that cannot but help but make a distinction between the law and fundamental morality. You can run away from your Christian past but you can't completely change the way you think. And a fair trial in the West is one where a man may stand for what is right and against the law, that he may be pardoned if appropriate, even made a hero, if the law is an ass. When the court is determined to deny that possibility then it is not merely upholding the law but also laughing at justice as it is known in the West. The question is, however, will enough Dutch care, or have they already committed suicide.

truepeers said...

But I guess you're right to suggest the judges won't think that the accused has the right "to put Islam on trial". Wilders should have all his witnesses come to town anyway and he should let them testify in the public square, if they dare.

Dag said...

I got the quotation from Ed West, "Geert Wilders is not 'far Right'," January 30th, 2010.

Here's a bit more, via Mark Steyn via Small Dead Animals, at Shrugging off Spinoza

Arthur Legger, "Shrugging off Spinoza", 17. januar 2010:

"Accused by the Dutch ‘Openbaar Ministerie’ exactly a year ago for insulting Islam, comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf and delivering hate speeches, the coming trial against Wilders suddenly got a Kafkaesque and potentially murderous twist. Finally, seven days before his first day in Court, all fangs were out and faces off.

“It is irrelevant whether Wilder’s witnesses might prove Wilders’ observations to be correct”, the ‘Openbaar Ministerie’ stated, “what’s relevant is that his observations are illegal”.


Paul Vellerman, the public prosecutor of the Amsterdam Court decided that the Wilders trial had to be regarded as “an ordinary trial open for public and with a normal procedure, which doesn’t deserve the Department of Justice’s highly secured bunker. His is a normal case and we’ll treat it as such”.

To me, that looks like an invitation to a death sentence for Wilders, regardless of the trial outcome. The ruling party seem to think Wilders has no rights at all, even to live.

Charles Henry said...

It's interesting to read the list of the 18 would-be witnesses that Gates of Vienna translates at their site:

At least four of the 18 are muslim extremists, including the murderer of Theo van Gogh. (A 5th name is offered without a corresponding resume)

Taking the quote that Dag offers into account, it seems as if the same limitations that come with socialized health care, also get applied to dutch legal matters.

Rationed justice!

Dag said...

I came across this by chance:

"In the Netherlands, where I lived for many years, it is illegal for the media to identify the accused or convicted by any more than initials, and their family may not be identified at all. This eliminates the demonisation of individuals, and crime is presented with the appropriate prominence and proportion."

Davidcro, Feb 4th 2010 5:01 GMT. "Britain's “broken society”:
Through a glass darkly," The

So Wilders' trial is looking ever less like anything legal, even in the Netherlands.