In Defense of Free Speech

Mr President, Members of the Court,

For more than eleven years, I have been living under death threats. Every day, I am reminded of this. Even today. This morning, I was driven here in a convoy of armored cars, with sirens, flashing lights, and surrounded by bodyguards. And not only today, but every day.

I will be brought home in the same way. Home is a safe-house. My office is a shielded room. And when I have to stand in court, it is here, in a bunker at Schiphol.

For more than eleven years already, I have been paying a heavy price. And I think that you as well as I know why. I am paying that price for the same reason as why I am standing in the dock for the second time. Because I dare to criticize Islam and mention the Moroccan problem.

“Freedom is the power that we have over ourselves,” said the great Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius. His statue stands at the entrance of the Supreme Court in The Hague. Hugo Grotius is the symbol of Dutch law. But once he was on trial himself. He was sentenced to life because he had fought on the side of Johan van Oldenbarnevelt for Dutch freedoms. But Grotius escaped in a coffin and fled to Antwerp.

Sometimes I wish that I could escape myself. But I know that I cannot. I would have to pay a price which I do not want to pay. I would have to shut up. And I cannot. I do not want that. And I will not do it. Freedom of expression is the only freedom I still have. And, forgive me, I will never give it up.

Geert Wilders, Head of the Freedom Party, The Netherlands
Opening statement to the Schiphol court. He is on trial for hate speech.

You can read the rest of the statement at breitbart. The emphasis is mine. Mr. Wilders delivers one of the finest statements in defense of free speech I’ve seen in quite some time.

Mr. Wilders goes on to say,

Because the problems of which I speak will not go away by keeping silent about them.

Silence is not an option.

Silence is cowardly.

Silence is betrayal.

If I, as the political leader of my party, during an election gathering of my party, am not allowed to say what has been written down in my party platform for a decade, then this is absolute madness and then one has to convict me.

My opinions will not change. And one will not be able to silence me.

Silence is exactly what members of the new Authoritarians will settle for, if they can’t get full compliance. Something to consider during this boisterous election season.

Comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s