Gwynne Dyer: Geert Wilders, Muhammad cartoons, and human waste

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Would it be all right if I called Geert Wilders a piece of human waste? No? Damn. Well, then, can I call him a deeply cynical politician who is willing to get people killed to advance his political career? Okay, thanks.

      Geert Wilders is a deeply cynical Dutch politician who is willing to get people killed to advance his political career. Sometimes they are Muslims, sometimes they are people of Christian heritage—that doesn’t really matter, so long as he reaps the publicity. And now he has come up with a clever new way to outrage foolish young Muslims and get them to murder people for him.

      Wilders realized that a little-known Dutch law obliges the television networks to show anything that a politician wishes to include in a party political broadcast. No censorship is allowed on grounds of truth, of taste, or even of safety. So the far-right politician, whose whole political career has been based on attacking Islam, decided to air some truly nasty cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad.

      One shows a man labelled “Muhammad” with snakes in his beard. Another shows a rather loony-looking young man who is clearly labelled “The Prophet Muhammad”. A third shows somebody who is probably meant to be Muhammad on a unicycle, juggling five chopped-off heads with letters attached that spell Islam. Not funny, not clever, not really even topical. Just nasty.

      Most Muslims are uncomfortable with images of Muhammad, and many believe that they are blasphemous. That doesn’t mean that democratic, pluralist societies like those of the West should ban such images. Freedom of speech means that any group, including any religious group, should accept that it may be criticized, even mocked in public. You cannot demand special treatment just because your feelings will be hurt.

      But you can and should expect not to be singled out for hatred simply because of your particular religious beliefs. You have the right to be protected from rhetoric that deliberately confounds innocent believers with terrorists (as Wilders regularly does). And you certainly have right to be protected from incitements to violence.

      There is a world of difference between Geert Wilders and the dozen people who were murdered by Islamist extremists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last January. They were equal-opportunity cartoonists who targeted everybody with equal irreverence and a fine absence of discrimination; Wilders is a monomaniac who wants to ban the Koran in the Netherlands because it is “like [Adolf Hitler’s] Mein Kampf”.

      But he is a devious monomaniac, because the people he is really trying to incite to violence are Muslims. If he can trick ignorant Muslims into killing people by portraying the Prophet Muhammad in ugly and insulting cartoons, he wins.

      The cartoons Wilders has insisted be broadcast on Dutch television were originally shown at an event in Texas last month which awarded a $10,000 prize for the best (i.e. worst) cartoon about Muhammad. The organizers were trying to provoke a reaction, so they invited Wilders to give the event a higher profile. It worked wonderfully: two simplistic young fanatics tried to attack the conference, and were shot dead in the car park.

      So Wilders brought copies of the cartoons home with him, and announced that he would broadcast them on Dutch television as a defence of free speech. The broadcast was supposed to go out in the Netherlands on Saturday, but somebody at the NPO1 television network managed to mislay the tape Wilders had given them.

      He was furiously indignant about that, of course, and insisted that his right as a party leader to put anything he wants on the party political broadcasts must be respected. He says he has now been promised that it will go out on Wednesday evening. If the promise is kept, the rioting and killing will probably have started by the time you read this.

      Wilders knows perfectly well that this will happen, and is content that it should. He and his anti-Muslim allies on the far right of Dutch politics are what Marxists used to call the “objective allies” of the bearded Muslim extremists screaming for blood in the streets and the more calculating Muslim leaders who urge those fanatics to go out and commit violence in the name of “defending” Islam.

      Both parties, however much they hate each other, have a common interest in keeping the outrage level among their followers high, and they tacitly cooperate to keep the pot boiling. The poor old media know they are being manipulated and exploited by people with truly reprehensible agendas, but they cannot simply refuse to report the news, even if it is manufactured news (as is so often the case).

      And so, in a world where most people of any religion or none simply want to get on with their neighbours and lead a quiet life, we are fed a constant diet of lies that shows us a world full of blood-thirsty, hate-filled extremists.

      Oh, and by the way: Geert Wilders is a piece of human waste.



      Peter Gair

      Jun 24, 2015 at 4:16pm

      Mr Dyer,
      I admire your clarity along with your points of view; read your articles all the time.
      Please never stop.
      Peter Gair

      Derek Kyle

      Jun 24, 2015 at 5:44pm

      Geert is willing to die for your right to write what you like, you traitor.


      Jun 24, 2015 at 6:00pm

      It discusting what kind of waste politicians there are in EU.Do not provoke ,respect motherfucker people's religion,nationality and do not touch their families.Because then a human being is ready to do anything.
      I do not care about your PEACE OF SHIT I care about innocent people.
      What if happens something like last year in Charlie Hebdo?
      If something goes wrong and if there will be victims are you going to be responsible?
      you Waste of Politician...
      P.S.Peaceful World better place for living for all the human being no matter what skin color he is which nation,religion etc.The Muslim


      Jun 24, 2015 at 6:54pm

      Why does the Georgia Straight even bother running articles like this one if they are too chickenshit to print the comments afterwards? Stick to civic stuff and leave the contentions world issues to those news outlets that can handle them.

      B. Sure

      Jun 24, 2015 at 7:56pm

      Mr. Dyre, reading your article about Geert Wilders has made me think you have never heard Mr. Wilders give a speech nor have your read his book, “Marked for Death.” It is ironic that you label him a “piece of human waste” while claiming that his behavior is inflammatory. Furthermore, you unwittingly illustrate his point that free speech is threatened in Western societies by people from another culture who, in your words, will “murder people,” be tricked “into killing people,” and who will be “rioting and killing” in response to expression that they find offensive. There is nothing you or anyone else could ever say to me that would “trick” me into killing people. It is contrary to my cultural upbringing. It’s an unthinkable and absurd idea. Yet, a quick glance at the headlines on any given day clearly indicates that it is not so absurd an idea in Islamic communities.

      It is the documentable non-assimilating European Muslim immigrant’s proclivity for violence and hatred for people different from themselves which Mr. Wilder has highlighted. It is the threat posed by this antagonistic subculture that threatens traditional Western freedoms such as freedom of speech that he articulates.

      Incidentally, the “deeply cynical” quest to “advance his political career” which you have ascribed to Mr. Wilders has been rewarded with a very real and permanent threat to his life. If the assassins ever reach Mr. Wilder, he won’t be the first Dutch public figure who has been murdered in the name of Islam.

      There are multiple videos on YouTube where you can hear Mr. Wilders speak for himself. You can see him warmly received by such “far right” groups as The Swedish Free Press Society, The Danish Free Press Society, and Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors among others. If you listen to him at length, your apparent politically correct sensibilities may be offended. But, then again, maybe your eyes will be opened. Hopefully, we can collectively take the blinders off and recognize the problem so that we can better deal with it.

      Jan Sobieski

      Jun 24, 2015 at 9:17pm

      Oh yes, I recall that long rant you wrote about Piss Christ and how it was just going to cause fanatical Christians to rise up and murder willy nilly. oops, scratch that.

      Srinivas Duvvuri

      Jun 24, 2015 at 10:16pm

      You were comparing Charlie Hebdo people to Wilders & said that the French cartoonists were like equal opportunity offenders & that wilders singles out Muslims.

      Fair enough! Now answer this, while Charlie Hebdo was non-discriminatory in its offensiveness, how many other groups went with guns blazing & killed them? :) So there IS a reason for singling out!

      It's like saying "why are you biased against the poor snake?? You don't do this with the dog or the cow?!!"


      Jun 24, 2015 at 11:54pm

      I usually agree with Mr. Dyer. But I think he has it wrong here. Wilder is stating the obvious, that Islam is violent and a threat. Just look at the vulgar and aggressive tone of 'the Muslim" commentator above. Islam is a threat to freedom, liberty, and development and should be exposed for what it is, an ignorant cult!

      The Obvious

      Jun 25, 2015 at 5:32am

      The obvious is that Christianity has been responsible and still is responsible for more death and destruction worldwide than any other religion in the world's history.

      I Chandler

      Jun 25, 2015 at 7:36am

      Dyer: "There is a world of difference between Geert Wilders and the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last January. "

      Yes - a world of difference as they were given an award by PEN:

      Dyer: "in a world where most people simply want to get on with their neighbours , we are fed a constant diet of lies that shows us a world full of blood-thirsty, hate-filled extremists."

      Fed a constant diet of lies? This sounds very much like Noam or Adam Curtis:

      Adam Curtis describes how weekend encounter workshops were not successful in treating racism - but might cure this: