We can agree that there is in many places a setting of ‘freedom of speech’. For the most, I have always supported that, and even though I know that there is an overwhelming amount of exercise in the ‘art of free speech’ for the mere setting to do harm and to inflict insult onto others, the largest portion of people are about merely voicing personal opinion, or in some cases to evangelize their version, or better stated their interpretation of events through free speech. I do still believe that freedom of speech is a much larger advocate of good then evil. The question becomes, what happens when the intent is a malicious one?
In America one of the most famous cases of free speech is still Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988). From the New York Times at the time we get “the Court held that the First Amendment gives speakers immunity from sanction with respect to their speech concerning public figures unless their speech is both false and made with “actual malice”, i.e., with knowledge of its falsehood or with reckless disregard for the truth of the statement“, that is the important setting in this case, and even if this is regarding a setting in different nations, it gives a clear view on where most of us are, or should be. So when I was confronted with “a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest organized by anti-Islam PVV leader Geert Wilders“, a person who has a visible anti-Islam view, when we are clear and in the know that images of the prophet Mohammed are a massive taboo in the entire global Islamic population, why can we allow a political party leader to set a stage of mental duress to Islamic people of all ages? The fact that this competition is to be held in a closed part of Parliament closed or not reflects even worse on the Dutch government.
If I was an emotional person (which I am not), I would plead with the United Muslims of Australia (UMA) as well as a few Muslim governments on the idea of a fantasy story, the topic would be ‘How to assassinate a politician‘, it is partially important that the people realise that I am a Catholic, not a Muslim. It would be open to all Muslims from 14 to 20 years old and the story needs to surpass 8000 words. We will ask a prominent member of Muslim society to consider being the judge of all those stories.
I am as rich as a church mouse (read: therefor the opposite of rich), so I cannot make a price available, so we need sponsor willing to host the artistic exercise and the winner should get a decent award and we will send all the submissions in PDF form to the Dutch Parliament as a statement of objection on what PVV Leader Geert Wilders had set in motion.
You see, the steps are important for the mere setting that there must be a dialogue with people that is not set on hatred and in equal measure, people fuelling the fires of hatred should no longer be allowed in politics. The fact that we were offered: “In 2015 Wilders attended a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas. He left just before jihadists tried to commit an attack“, it was a clear message (apart from the one in France). So the Dutch politician was in attendance at this event on Dutch Memorial Day (regarding WW2), when we are treated to: “Two gunmen who opened fire outside a competition for the best cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad near Dallas in the United States on Sunday. PVV leader Geert Wilders was the keynote speaker at the event. The police shot and killed both gunmen. A security officer was injured“. It was at an American event, in America that called for, and knowingly invited for an action of extremism. A hate group hiding behind “He told the audience that most terrorists are Muslims and “the less Islam the better”. “We are here in defiance of Islam to stand for our rights and freedom of speech,” he said during his speech. “That is our duty.”“. the two sides is that we do not deny a freedom of speech, yet when you use that freedom to knowingly and intentionally inflict harm to others, how does that go over with you?
In this it is the current nightmare for Stef Blok who is currently heading the foreign office. It is a nightmare, because not only is it a setting where a politician is intentionally insulting a religion, not only is this a set stage, it is one that is ALLOWED to be done in Dutch Parliament.
No matter how good most of the Dutch are, no matter how dedicated they are to excellence. when we consider the business model (at https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/local/dutch-model-attracts-uae-firms), when we see that the setting of “Twenty-seven of the 60 projects come from the UAE“, when the attached “Currently, we have 60 investment projects from the Mena region together investing more than 1.1 billion euros and creating more than 2,000 jobs“, when that falls away due to the insult of their national religion, when the people in the UAE are made aware of the insults that PVV Leader Geert Wilders is allowed to get away with. How long until the funds stop and the jobs go to the UK, France and perhaps Australia? When we get Jeroen C.M. Nijland, commissioner of the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), now having to state that economic times have taken a step back due to ‘abused freedom of expression’ in a stage of intentional malignant acts against Muslim nations on a global scale. When these 2,000 jobs fall away? What will be the excuse Dutch officials will announce in line to the ‘Due to uncontrollable elements, the Dutch deficit will rise from 1.1% to an expected 1.9%‘, or perhaps “The economy will grow by 3.3% in 2017 and a projected 1.3% in 2018“. When one party represents close to 50% of the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, getting the scope of alienating economic partners correct tends to become extremely important.
In that regard, when the President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan learns that Dutch parliament was allowed to be used for such an event. How do you expect that he is likely to react? When Saudi Arabia learns of this, a nation now ready to give reign to around one trillion dollars in projects for the next 7 years (the new Neom city included as well as other Saudi projects), in that light, just how stupid was the setting of facilitating to Geert Wilders in all this?
A setting where the technological growth, especially in 5G projects will be the largest in the history of the world (for now that is), when these projects could feed corporations for close to two generations, getting ‘political correctness’ a little better under control is close to everything. So, I do remain a ‘champion’ of free speech, but we should learn to see accountability equally important, especially when there is as what I personally see as clear intentional malice in play. In that regard it was never about ‘freedom of expression‘, was it? So, if we accept fair play, then the Dutch economy should rely on business partners that are not fundamentally Muslim and perhaps they can get the same amount of projects and revenue in Asia, or Africa, or perhaps America. Was America not that nation that has such a booming economy? You see, plenty of other nations to get the 27+ replacement contracts.
I think that this should be the impact of Liberalism when it goes overboard. When we dig deeper and we consider the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), we see “findings confirm that conservatives, liberals, the religious and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might like to think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are” (source: Politico.com). Mark Brandt, Geoffrey Wetherell and Christine Reyna created the paper ‘Discrimination Across the Ideological Divide. The Role of Value Violations and Abstract Values in Discrimination by Liberals and Conservatives‘ (2013). Here we see “conservatives were more discriminatory than liberals toward liberal groups, and liberals were more discriminatory than conservatives toward conservative groups. Conservatives’ discrimination was driven by their higher traditionalism and by liberal groups’ apparent violation of their values. Liberals’ discrimination was driven by their lower traditionalism and by conservative groups’ apparent violation of their values. Complicating matters, conservatives highly valued self-reliance, which weakened their discrimination toward liberal groups, perhaps because self-reliance is associated with the freedom to believe or do what one wants. And liberals highly valued universalism, which weakened their discrimination toward conservative groups, likely because universalism espouses acceptance of all“. Yet the foundation is not the setting of prejudice that we all will have to some degree, what happens when this prejudice is coated in intentional malice? What happens when malice is the cornerstone of the politician and the spokesperson on an agenda that is drenched in self-interest and in that knowingly sets the stage of ‘absence for consideration‘ towards the economic setting that is part of a governing parliament, a parliament that Geert Wilders is a part of? When we see that the economic partners walk away, is that prejudice or the cost of doing business? When we accept certain cultural business partners, should we accept that a level of accountability is to be expected when the ‘freedom of expression‘ is set towards the stage of intentional malice?
You see, for me the exposure would be merely business. I can, to some degree take the slack of these 27 projects and claim my 3.75% of 1.1 billion euros and assist in getting the UAE the quality replacements that do take a level of political correctness in their stride, especially the political players that are unwilling to play fast and loose with a billion euro’s by not allowing parliament to be used for intentional malicious anti-Islam events.
So am I suddenly anti-Dutch? Am I suddenly anti freedom of speech, or anti freedom of expression? No, I am not. I merely state that ‘intent of malice’ should not be allowed, especially not in any house of parliament. I do also accept that the Charlie Hebdo case is a sensitive one, yet in that this was acting within France, in a total satirical case and it was not merely Islam. The setting was also anti Catholic and anti-Judean. One could argue that the magazine treated all religion, as well as politics and culture to a larger degree with contempt. I do not accept that the act against the Charlie Hebdo on 7 January 2015 was an acceptable one. For the most also for the driving reason that they were not singling the Muslim religion out as a target for their satire. In their setting it was about freedom of expression against all they viewed, not just one religion. There was a debatable absence of malice here.
This does get me on a slippery slope and I admit to that. You see, when we set that stage, is there intent or absence of malice? Is satire an intention of malice? No, when it is done over the top and in the staged setting of a cartoon, I remain in line of the Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell stage. It is cartoon, over the top expression of ridicule, like the two Hebdo images. And as a Catholic, I can look onto that setting and giggle. We never had the absence of icons and images towards religious Christian figures. It changes the field completely.
When liberalism allows for, and to the larger stage supports intent of malice, that is when we need to sit down and wonder just how far over the top have we gone? It is a discussion that the Dutch need to have in the very near future. That pressure will grow when it is no longer merely Pakistan formally complaining, but when Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Turkey and Indonesia follow suit and stand with Pakistan. At that point it might be too late for the Netherlands to merely do this away with some political statement. At that point it will require much larger efforts by the ambassadors in those nations to go into damage control mode and fix the mess that Geert Wilders was allowed to make in the first place.
It suck to be Mr Laurens Westhoff, Mr Joost Reintjes, Dr Bahia Tahzib-Lie, Mrs Laetitia van Asch and Rob Swartbol in the coming weeks. I have no doubt that in these places there will be a lot of outrage on the matter (and a few other places too).
The fact that this started in June and was not the front page setting in many papers was to some degree an issue, the fact that Pakistan made a formal complaint about the setting and the fact that the newspapers are ignoring the issue over the past 48 hours is also an issue, especially when we are confronted with the setting “Mazari said the actions of Wilders, who heads the Dutch Freedom Party, was a clear violation of human rights of Muslims in Europe as well as a violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom“, so we see Human rights issues in almost every paper, yet when it is Pakistan minister Shireen Mazari, the papers set it aside? Will it all become an outspoken stage on the Pakistan blasphemy law that still attracts the death penalty? In this stage and those settings, we need to accept that there is a much larger hypocrisy in play, so when I limelight the issue, partially so that I can fly in with an option towards 3.75% of One billion Euro, I feel perfectly justified in my actions, at least I was always willing to state out the settings, even when I was wrong (the Jeremy Corbyn stage of a funeral in Tunesia), I had no issue about correcting the stage as to what it truly was (to the degree that I was able to validate).