Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wilders Mania

In defence of the right to offend (

But his announcement in late November that he would make a short film to that effect sent the government into a panic. The cabinet met in secret. It ordered foreign embassies to draw up evacuation plans in case of mob violence. It put the mayors of Dutch cities on alert. It arranged meetings with imams and other Muslim representatives, distancing itself from Mr Wilders' positions. The interior, justice and foreign ministers summoned Mr Wilders to meetings, and the country's terrorism co-ordinator warned him that he might have to leave the country for his own security. The government reportedly investigated whether it would be possible to block or delay Mr Wilders's broadcast.

The FT writer Christopher Caldwell looks at the Wilders controversy over his platonic film about the the Koran. This is an interesting point of view that equates Wilders with Western liberalism and its drive to separate us from Biblical command. Not so sure I buy the argument... Do you?

Mr Wilders is something of a bogeyman in polite Dutch society now. He should not be. His perfectly legal effort resembles the kind of mischievous testing of boundaries that civil libertarians have engaged in whenever they have sought to hasten social change in the face of an indifferent or hostile electorate. In seeking to reopen such questions as, first, whether Islam is a religion, and, second, whether ancient scripture is sheltered from our laws regulating hate speech, Mr Wilders is the comrade-in-arms of those western legal activists who have agitated successfully for gay marriage, euthanasia and bans on religious display.

In the end, the best response to Wilders is the cold shoulder or humor.

If there is a violent response, doesn't that just make his point? It's like fuel for him and even for people who might not agree with him but who see his vindication in a violent response. Who am I to tell people what to do? But if you are a Muslim who is offended by Wilders, then the most effective protest you can offer is to ignore him completely .

I prefer Eutopia's response to the mania. It's generous and humorous.

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Beja Was Here said...

Mr. Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, Grand Mufti of Syria, why don't you go back to Syria?!

Why won't the Netherlands ignore the Syrians instead of ignoring their own good citizens? Why don't all our countries ignore these hypocrites (to the extreme and in the wrong) of religion and of human life? What's wrong with sending them all back to their old, happy-sharia ways. If they like it so much, why can't they do without their beemers and their 50-room homes and could they PLEASE PLEASE put one more couch in their living rooms. I mean, I'm just being a little sarcastic and a little general but why can't a little mental push and shove lean for us and not against us?

Ignore them back, don't pay them attention, don't invite them to our parliaments. They can use their webcams, that's close enough IMHO.

I'm speaking of the illogical leaders of these countries and their religious fanaticism. It's not even religious, it's just plain primitive to me.

Btw, there's this really good video I found on youtube and wanted to share with you :)

Please post about it if you can and I'm back!

ella said...

"n the end, the best response to Wilders is the cold shoulder or humor."
You seem to be discussing the movie which has not been shown yet, but the assumption is that it will be "islamophobic". That many muslims will protest, violently, and therefore it will be better [for muslims, I assume] to give him cold shoulder.
Now why not look at it from different perspective.
What if the movie will touch upon real problems in Europe and/in Europe?
What if the movie will discuss behaviour of some muslims in Holland?
Why assume that it will have nothing to do with real life but will only propagate lies?
Why everybody assumes something before seeing and/or reading stuff?

Beja Was Here said...

If you're still writing- I'm reading!

Please come back with your thoughts. Did you move the site or something?

Take care and angels on your shoulders,

Tori said...

ella, the reason people assume things is because of the players involved. They are not experts or academics or disinterested participants in a larger debate.

Beja, I am just tired of the blog. I might revive it one day... hope to. But now i need a break.

matja said...


My name is Matthias Koch. I`m a nineteen year old student from Switzerland. Two years ago I traveled with my family through Iran and we visited Teheran, Yazd, Shiraz, Kerman, Esfahan and Bam. Thats why I`m interested in Iran.
Actually I`m writing on an exposition about the life of young people in Iran. And for that reason I woud like to get in touch with young iranish people. I found your blog on the web and would like to get in touch with you. I would be pleased if you answer.


Tori said...

Matthias, nice that you think I am young... I recommend posting over at or, maybe they can help you.

Anonymous said...

Mattias, contact blogs based in Iran. The sites tori mentioned are based out of Iran and one has a extremely negative portrayal of Iran.

Ikez said...

What do those in Iran think of the recent report that Saddam had planned more slaughtering of those in Iran before his demise? Detailed plans of bombings in Iran were found in his intelligence documents.

As the manager of I'd be very interested.

LAT said...

Babylon & Beyond, the Los Angeles Times Middle East blog, added your website
to its blog roll

Beja Was Here said...

Then you enjoy your break, and make sure you come back for a real good reason. I think we all need one of those if we're not into it anymore.

I definitely take my time in posting too.

Take care!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tori:

Thought you might like to know that Rick Steves shot a show in Iran recently. Check out his blog:

Hope you'll post again here soon.

Best regards,

Shirin (from KA)

Boston Review said...

We recently published an interview with leading Iranian dissident journalist Akbar Ganji about his life, his political activism, and the future of his homeland. Based on the content of your blog, we thought you might be interested in checking out the conversation. You can view it at
Have a great day,
Boston Review