March 29th, 2008

nam

Dutch politics for outsiders (11)

About two years ago I already wrote to explain a bit about Geert Wilders.

Over the past two years Wilders started a new party (PVV), gained nine seats in parliament (about 6%) and continued to bash the Islam.

His latest idea was to make a movie to prove the world how bad the Islam is. Several times the release date was postponed, there were talks with TV-stations both public and commercial, but none wanted to air the movie. At some point people started doubting the existence of a movie. Wilders announced that the movie would certainly be there before April first. Could it all have been an April fools joke? He would have had a great point. There had been plenty of discussion, in media and in politics, before anybody knew what the movie was about. Then again, he hasn’t shown any sense of humor over the last years, so a joke of these proportions certainly was out of the question.

Then the website made for the movie (http://www.fitnathemovie.com) was canceled before the movie was published. Politicians hoped that the Dutch wouldn’t have to suffer the same problems as Denmark after the famous ‘Mohammed cartoons’. The Dutch world service made an own movie explaining the person Wilders (http://www.rnw.nl/aboutfitna/).

Finally, last Thursday the movie appeared on LiveLeak a British site. Millions watched it worldwide. Over three million in the first three hours apparently. Most reactions were simple: “Is that all there is?” People almost seemed relieved. Sixteen minutes of old fragments, each and every one can be found through YouTube, old newspaper clippings and quotes from the Qur’an. Nothing explosive. Everybody knows that Muslim extremists exist. Everybody knows Wilders’ opinion, so nobody needed a movie to see either.

People in the street mostly gave their opinion: “I can imagine people being offended”, yet nobody was actually offended. Politicians worldwide told Wilders they didn’t like the hatred he tried to raise through this movie.

An underestimated side effect though (imho) is the fact that a lot of potential Wilders voters see their ideas confirmed. I’ve seen 17 years old coming into class the next day telling me that ‘if there were elections now, I would vote for him’. Somehow people don’t see or do not want to see that Wilders is portraying a very selective picture.

Wilders took his time to make the movie, yet still made some mistakes. He used a picture of a Dutch rapper instead of the picture of Mohammed B., who assassinated Theo van Gogh. Next to that he refers to WikiPedia as an official site related to the movie.

After one day the site LiveLeak had to remove the movie, as several of its staff were threatened. Obviously mirrors have appeared elsewhere on the web for those who want to see what all the fuzz is about.



More relevant links about Wilders and Fitna the Movie:

WikiPedia on Fitna the Movie
(on the bottom there are links to download the movie)

Washington Post

A Mirror:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3369102968312745410