Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why Geert Wilders' movie Fitna is acceptable to Europeans

The movie that everyone in the Netherlands has been talking about but nobody has seen yet is called Fitna. The coverage of this 10 minute movie by Dutch MP Geert Wilders has been immense, and not only in the Netherlands. Remember the ban on YouTube in Pakistan? And even NATO Boss Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is worried about the possible fallout of the movie.

Many Dutch MPs want the government to do a better job of communicating why the movie will not be banned at forehand. Dutch MP Alexander Pechthold explained it this way:

"The cabinet constantly warns Mr Wilders about the film's consequences. We should address ourselves more to other countries. Here we are accustomed to democracy and freedom of expression but not everyone abroad is.

Elsewhere fundamentalists seize on these sort of films to preach hatred against the West. We have to explain what our fundamental rights represent. Maybe the prime minister should explain the matter on Al Jazeera. Or Mr Ahmed Aboutaleb [the deputy minister for social affairs], who speaks Arabic."
The Netherlands should join forces with other European countries, which have a stake in it too:
"The protests sparked by the Danish cartoons, for example, show this can happen to any country. In fact, we should now form a common front at the EU Council of Ministers. Democracy and freedom of expression are European inventions. But it now looks like each country is left to fend for itself."
No word yet from the Dutch government if they will actually follow suit.


- Radio Netherlands: Europe should explain Wilders to world
- NRC Handelsblad: De Hoop Scheffer warns of consequences Wilders film (Google translate from Dutch)
- Wikipedia: Film Fitna
- Wikipedia: Geert Wilders


Anonymous said...


Freedom of speech is a good concept, but think about it is it okay if i use that freedom to abuse your beliefs will you not be offended. The same applies here, even if Europe is the father figure of FOS, do you think the governments let you just say anything and get away with it.. think about it again..............

a common blogger myself

Erik said...

Freedom of speech is a good concept, but think about it is it okay if i use that freedom to abuse your beliefs will you not be offended.

Why don't you give it a try? I'm all ears...

Dutch Person said...

What makes you think that the movie is going to "abuse" someone's beliefs? Is that what you think it is about?
Have you somehow already seen the movie and know it is made for the purposes of abuse?

Yes freedom of speech does allow for people to say things that others will find offensive. What one finds offensive another will find acceptable. This is a common knowledge statement.

You act like people are supposed to tip toe around other's feelings.
No one is allowed to say their opinions or show their take on anything if it has the possibility of bothering another. Well, that is just not how life in the West works.

If Geert wants to put out his video show casing how he sees islam as, then he has that right and whether or not I agree with his personal sentiments, I full heartedly support his ability to express himself.

The moment we start dictating how another is allowed to use their freedom of speech is the time we become like the far east and not have freedom of speech.

To original poster:
I saw on the news a discussion with a Dutch reporter and a representative from Iran regarding this video. The Iranian rep seemed to be of the belief that the Dutch govnt is required to stop Geert from releasing the video. When the Dutch reporter tried to explain free speech to this man, it wasn't working. The Iranian man would insist that he indeed understood free speech, but immediatly stated the Dutch government needed to silence Geert.... It was falling on deaf ears entirely. The man stated that the other memebers in Govt are openly disagreeing with Geert but the Iranian man said that if the Dutch govt did NOT stop Geert than he and others, would consider that they support it.

It is impossible to explain free speech to them I believe. This is a foreign idea to them and they may never understand it.

I do believe that if this video is going to bother them so much, then maybe they ought to not watch it. Simple as that really. I don't watch hunting tele shows because hunting bothers my very being.... Same idea. (I think they should mind their own business and work on what happens in their country and stay out of what we do over here in the Netherlands. it is none of their business.)

They are already burning the Dutch flag and chanting Death to Holland so whatever. I refuse to be dictated by close minded people who insist on burning flags, chanting death and decapitating people. (Theo Van Gogh- Did we forget him?)

Erik said...

It is impossible to explain free speech to them I believe. This is a foreign idea to them and they may never understand it.

Well said. It's hard to explain free speech to people who've never been able to experience it.

On the other hand anonymous post does "explain" why they demand from the Dutch government that the movie be banned; that's what the governments of many muslim countries would do.

I bet it's hard to explain to people who grow up under a totalitarian regime (such as Iran) where the line is. There are indeed things you can't do, even in the Netherlands. Insult the Queen, I believe it's still not legal. Print (in eigen beheer) Adolph Hitler's "Mein Kampff"? not a good idea in the Netherlands. Shouting "fire" in a busy theater? It could get you in big trouble.

But other than the examples given I can't think of much else that you CAN'T do in a so-called "free and democratic society.

Quite fascinating, when you think about it :)

Dutch Person said...

We are quite allowed to make cartoons making fun of the Queen if we want to. We are also allowed to question her and all that because we live in a free society.

Geert Wilders himself once stood up and made disparaging comments about the Queen and talked about an abolishion of her position entirely. Of course, no one backed him up but he wasn't arrested or anything because of it.
No you can not yell fire in a theatre or make death threats.... That is an entirely different topic though. That is clearly to incite a panic. Making a video critical of a religion is not an incitement of panic though it may in fact cause one. The difference is simple. Making a death threat or shouting fire in a theatre serves no purpose but to create fear. Making a video showcasing your opinion on something serves the purpose of maybe making people think, or maybe showing people the truth as he sees it.

I was just thinking about something important to all this. See to me it is hypocritical of islamic nations to complain about any video depicting them in a maybe, less than opulant light.

They play videos and even make cartoons for their children depicting western cultures as evil and immoral all the time. They teach and make materials that are highly derogatory to Jewish people and even Christians. There are videos that are blatent lies about many countries played on Al Jazeera and Western figureheads portrayed as a sort of demon all the time.

Why is it that they can make their videos critical of western culture (I use the light word critical) but when another country does it on them they cry foul and play victim and even result to violence and death threats? It is plain and simple pure hypocrisy.

Do we the west make death threats to them over their videos or take to the streets burning their flags? Do we decapitate their filmmakers?

Erik said...

We are quite allowed to make cartoons making fun of the Queen if we want to. We are also allowed to question her and all that because we live in a free society.

That's called a non-denial denial. Here's why.

Maar toch bedankt, en groetjes uit Canada!

USpace said...

All freedom starts with freedom of speech. If there is no freedom of speech, there will be no freedom. The Christians and Jews don't riot when somebody makes fun of Christ or Jews. People must learn to be civilized. Rioting MUST not be tolerated.

Bedankt! Well said. That'll be great if there's no rioting, how very mature that would be. Geert Wilders is a hero telling the painful truth. Definitely show it in Denmark ASAP.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
let yourself be bullied

never shoot rioting thugs
let them threaten you at will

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
appease religious wackos

even those like Nazis
NEVER point out their faults



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