Geert Wilders is a very brave man. And a very determined fighter who never gives up.
Wilders is the Dutch politician who founded the nationalist, right-wing Party for Freedom in the Netherlands in 2006 and is Parliamentary Group Leader in the Dutch House of Representatives. His views on the European Union largely mirror those in Britain and following the Brexit result of our Referendum, he too called for such a Referendum on the Netherlands’ membership of the EU. Also, he and his party want to control their country’s borders in order to stem the influx of migrants, in particular from Morocco, but as can be imagined, these policies are anathema to the Government and twice he has had to defend himself in court.
In 2010 Wilders was arrested on a charge of ‘Islamophobia’ but the judges in the first trial were removed due to perceived bias against him. The Dutch Public Prosecution Service, after initially refusing to prosecute Wilders because it did not consider his statements illegal, was ordered by a court of appeal to prosecute him nonetheless. In spite of this, on 23 June 2011, Wilders was acquitted of all charges.
Now, however, Wilders is currently awaiting the decision of the District Court in the Hague on yet another charge, this time of inciting hatred against Moroccans. And this is nothing short of being a political show trial, for a General Election in the Netherlands is set for March 2017, just four months away, and with his party polling well, Wilders is widely tipped to become his country’s next Prime Minister.
On 23rd November, Wilders gave his final statement at the trial which was being held to destroy what he called was the last and most important freedom for his country – freedom of speech.
“For centuries, the Netherlands have been a symbol of freedom,” Wilders began. “When one says ‘Netherlands’, one says ‘freedom’. We, the Dutch, say whatever is close to our hearts. And that is precisely what makes our country great. Freedom of speech is our pride and that, precisely that, is at stake here, today.”
Yet Wilders doubted that the court’s verdict would be in his favour and therefore in favour of free speech. When he decided to make this final statement, many people had reacted by telling him that it would be useless, that the court had already written the sentencing and had convicted him.
“But I refuse to believe that we are simply giving this freedom up, because we are Dutch,” he told the court. “And I, too, will never do that. I am proud of that. No-one will be able to silence me. Moreover,” he added, “for me personally, freedom of speech is the only freedom I still have and every day I am reminded of that.”
Since 2004, when a terrorist was arrested while on his way to assassinate Wilders, he has been permanently surrounded by armed guards, lives in hiding and always wears a bulletproof vest, even in Parliament.
“I sincerely hope that this will never happen to you, members of the court,” he continued. “I hope that unlike me, you will never have to be protected because Islamic terror organisations want to murder you. I hope you will be spared this. However, if you do experience it – no matter how much you disagree with my view – you might perhaps understand that I should not remain silent, that I must speak, not just for myself but for the Netherlands, our country. That I need to use the only freedom that I still have to protect our country.”
Wilders then spoke strongly against Islam and against terrorism, against immigration from Islamic countries and against the huge problem with Moroccans in the country.
“I cannot remain silent about it – I have to speak out. That is my duty,” he said. “I had to give up my freedom to do this and I will continue. Always. People who want to stop me will have to murder me first. And so, I stand here before you. Alone. But I am not alone. My voice is the voice of many.”
Over the past two General Elections in the Netherlands, the number of people voting for Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom has increased dramatically and are expected to be over two million in the coming election.
“They are ordinary people,” he said. “Perhaps your own driver, your gardener, your doctor or the baker in your neighbourhood. They are the ordinary Dutch, the people I am so proud of. I speak on their behalf, I am their spokesman, their representative. I say what they think, determinedly and passionately. Every day again, including here today.”
He pointed out that when they judged him, the court would also be judging millions of men and women in the Netherlands, people who would not understand a conviction.
“Members of the court, you are passing judgement on the future of the Netherlands and I tell you, if you convict me, you will convict half of the Netherlands, and many Dutch will lose their last bit of trust in the rule of law.”
He also pointed out that this was a political trial and political issues have to be debated in Parliament and not in court. This trial, he stressed, “would be appropriate in Turkey or Iran, where they also drag the opposition to court but it is an embarrassment for the Netherlands, a mockery of our rule of law”.
He continued: “I tell you: if we can no longer honestly address problems in the Netherlands, if we are no longer allowed to use the word ‘alien’, if we only go unpunished if we want more Moroccans or else are dragged before a criminal court, if we sell our hard-won freedom of expression, if we use the courts to silence an opposition politician who threatens to become Prime Minister, then this beautiful country will be doomed.”
But Geert Wilders is indeed being prosecuted, for posing a question about Moroccans who are not a race but a nationality. “Do you want more or fewer Moroccans?” he had asked on the previous election night.
He reminded the court that the former Minister of Security and Justice – the political superior of the Public Prosecutor – had demanded that he should take back what he had said, as had the Prime Minister, his deputy and the interior minister.
“A demand from the Ministerof Justice! You can predict what will happen next, what the Public Prosecutor will do, if you do not comply with the demand of the Minister of Justice,” he said. The government had left the Public Prosecutor no option than to prosecute Geert Wilders and that therefore in this trial the officers of justice were not representatives of an independent Public Prosecutor but accomplices of the government.
Even the ‘elite’ had worked against Wilders, rigging the number of complaints against him by tricking many Moroccans into thinking they were signing a form in the coming election. But meanwhile, two representative polls showed that, apart from the government and the media, 43% or around seven million people agreed with the policies of Geert Wilders and his party. As he said: “If the Public Prosecutor is going to prosecute all these seven million people, you are going to be very busy!”
And ordinary people will never understand just why other government parties and civil servants who have spoken harshly about Moroccans, Turks and even the Party for Freedom, are never prosecuted. Gilders mentioned in particular Police chief Joop van Riessen, who said on TV: “Basically one would feel inclined to say ‘let’s kill him, just get rid of him now and he will never surface again.’ That is hatred, Mr President, pure hatred – and not by us, but against us. And the Public Prosecutor did not prosecute Mr Van Riessen.”
But the Public Prosecutor demanded a conviction against Geert Wilders based, as he says, on nonsensical arguments about race and concepts such as ‘intolerance’ that are not even in the law. “I tell you: if you convict someone for racism while he has nothing against races, then you undermine the rule of law, then it is bankrupt. No-one in this country will understand that either.”
In 2009, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, banned Geert Wilders from entering Britain on the grounds that ‘his presence could inflame community tensions and lead to inter-faith violence’. To the Home Secretary’s chagrin, this ruling was overturned by an immigration tribunal ruling and Freedom party leader immediately announced his intention to meet UKIP’s Lord Pearson of Rannoch to discuss a showing of his anti-Islamic film Fitna in the House of Lords.
Concluding his final statement to the court, Wilders praised the worldwide movement which is emerging and will put an end to the politically correct doctrines of the elites and the media.
“Everywhere in the West, we are witnessing the same phenomenon.” he said. “The voice of freedom cannot be imprisoned; it rings like a bell. That has been proven by Brexit, by the US elections and is about to be proven in Austria and Italy. It will be proven next year in France, Germany – and in the Netherlands.
“Everywhere, ever more people are saying what they think. They do not want to lose their land, they do not want to lose their freedom. They demand politicians who take them seriously, who listen to them, who speak on their behalf. It is a genuine democratic revolt. The wind of change and renewal blows everywhere, including here, in the Netherlands.
“We will win, the Dutch people will win and it will be remembered well who was on the right side of history.
“As I said, I am standing here on behalf of millions of Dutch citizens. I do not speak just on behalf of myself. My voice is the voice of many. And so, I ask you, not only on behalf of myself, but in the name of all those Dutch citizens. Acquit me! Acquit us!”