NATO's Secretary General warns Wilders about Islam film
The BBC said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffe was worried his troops would be endangered if a Dutch MP released a film criticizing the Koran. Jaap de Hoop Scheffe spoke after of demonstrations protesting the film in Afghanistan. "If the [troops] find themselves in the line of fire because of the film, then I am worried about it and I am expressing that concern," he said in a television interview. The BBC reported that there was pressure in Afghanistan to suppress the film.
On Sunday, hundreds of Afghans took to the streets in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif to protest against the film. Demonstrators burned Dutch flags, and called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from the Nato force. The demonstrators say they will step up their protests unless the Afghan government expels the troops.
In an earlier post I remarked how extraordinary it was that Geert Wilders -- or for that matter any artist with a word processor, chisel or paintbrush -- could now create the equivalent of a functioning physical threat from craft materials. Geert Wilders is actually threatening to write something about Islam, a menace so great that the Secretary General of NATO feels it appropriate to worry about the release of a frickin movie. From now it is no longer necessary to bother acquiring diesel fuel and fertilizer to extort concessions. Just threaten to write a novel about Mohammed unless your demands are met and they will be met.
In the context of today's lunatic culture of political correctness disagreeing with Islamic doctrine is like threatening to set off ton of high explosive buried under the business district of Amsterdam. And what is being held hostage isn't a collection of buildings or individuals but the core political and cultural values of the West itself.
Suppose Wilders relents. What will the next demand of the Muslim demonstrators be? The extradition of Ayaan Hirsi Ali? The suppression of Fleming Rose? The arrest of Mark Steyn? The execution of the long-delayed fatwa upon Salman Rushdie, who, let's not forget, wrote the Satanic Verses. There was a time when all of these suggestions would have bordered on the ridiculous. Are they so ridiculous today?
Yet suppose Wilders goes on to release his film which he claims will show the Koran is "an inspiration for intolerance, murder and terror"? Are fears that Dutch interests will be endangered justified?
Wilders already lives the life of fugitive. He has been living under police protection since director Theo Van Gogh was killed by an Islamists in 2004. He is hiding for his life in the heart of Europe. So what's Wilders got to lose? His freedom?
For decades the nostrum of cultural self-flagellation seemed to work so well it seemed self-evident that more was better. It's easy to think that trends are forever linear; that the moment never comes when you run out of space to run, money to bribe or that the n+1th step behaves in a radically different way from nth. But it happens. The West is at that point.
The old certainties are gone. Whether Wilders is suppressed or goes forward is in some sense immaterial. Events have crossed over into new territory where survival is a function of the speed at which you learn.
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