Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Dedication to Geert Wilders

I read the following comment online today:

The more things change the more they remain the same. When Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison spoke out against slavery in the 1830s he was accused of incitement and "offensive" speech. He was arrested many times and received death threats on a scale that is really unimaginable.

The question arises: who was calling for the violence? Who was inciting? It was not Garrison. Garrison was simply speaking the truth, quoting exactly from the writings of the "Salveocracy" (as Garrison called the planter class of the Old South).

His opponents called for shutting down Garrison's Liberator Magazine and silencing his speeches against slavery.

From the Wiki bio of Garrison:

"In 1831, Garrison returned to New England and founded a weekly anti-slavery newspaper of his own, The Liberator. In the first issue, Garrison stated:

"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; – but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the dead."
Yes, indeed, nothing seems to change. It has been the same in the 30s, too, when Norwegian Aftenposten called the marching Nazis 'frustrated German men'. Nowadays, people seem to find sociological reasons and feel good about themselves for loving everyone and being tolerant. But I wonder, whom do my Friench friends blame now, when they see armed police in Paris?..
I suppose, there is always someone to blame. In any case, the quote above reminded me, among other things, of a very brave man who has the guts to stand for his opinions, and is now on court trial in the Netherlands. Whatever you may personally may think of him, whatever I may think of him, here is what he himself has to say:
Freedom is the most precious of all our attainments and the most vulnerable. People have devoted their lives to it and given their lives for it. Our freedom in this country is the outcome of centuries. It is the consequence of a history that knows no equal and has brought us to where we are now.
I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom in the Netherlands is threatened. That what our heritage is, what generations could only dream about, that this freedom is no longer a given, no longer self-evident.

I devote my life to the defence of our freedom. I know what the risks are and I pay a price for it every day. I do not complain about it; it is my own decision. I see that as my duty and it is why I am standing here.

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