The British blogger Aeneas received an email yesterday from a reader in the Netherlands with this appeal:
I saw you support the Geert Wilders petition, so I hope you don’t mind me contacting you.
There is something very disturbing going on right now in Holland concerning Geert Wilders and Fitna. A journalist has suggested lifting Geert Wilders’ security so Muslims can kill him. I am asking as many people to please spread the word. My government is such a coward bunch who are very capable of doing just such a thing.
These awful statements of non-Muslims are very dangerous and have to be exposed, I am absolutely outraged and disgusted.
I hope you will help me and expose this bastard journalist, his name is Henk Hofland.
Aeneas passed the message on to me because he knew I had several Dutch contacts. It turns out that the incident was a real one, but — like most “forward this to everyone you know” stories — was not quite as egregious as the emailer indicated.
Michiel Mans was the first to reply to my email, and he had this to say:
H.J.A Hofland, Henk, (1927), is an ex-communist, journalist, active columnist who writes, among others, for the NRC, a very politically correct newspaper.
He made his statement on a TV talk show on 29 February (well before the release of Fitna). The statement had a somewhat sarcastic undertone. It was made in a “what shall we do with Geert Wilders” discussion (without Wilders or his adherents) in a Pauw & Witteman infotainment episode.
He did indeed say “drop Wilders’ protection.” In his vision the movie would jeopardize many people’s lives, and by canceling Wilders’ own security he would feel what it is to be threatened. He did not say “so Muslims can kill him”. I saw this episode and just checked the tape again.
Like all Dutch Public TV news, background and infotainment , P&W is full of politically correct guests and opinions. The same episode had a priest who thought a shrink ought to take a look at Wilders, and a politician who talked a lot of PC bollocks.
Only once in a while will one of the guests have a non-PC opinions. In these cases at least two well-spoken PC people sit at the other side. The two presenters themselves are not, how shall I put it, the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman (Johnny Carson?).
Here is a re-broadcast of the program (in Dutch).
Below the jump is an embedded Dutch-language video of the incident.
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Our expatriate Dutch correspondent H. Numan had this to add:
Several attempts to get rid of Wilders’ security have been made, and none remotely successful. Rutger van Santen, a purebred left-wing journalist, working for Radio Nederland Wereldomroep (a government station, and extremely left-wing at that), got punished for less.
When I wrote back I told him, “Geert really seems to be at the center of the hurricane right now. I don’t reckon much for his life expectancy, even with the bodyguards.”
But H. Numan does not entirely agree:
I’m not to sure about that. It took a lot of effort to prevent a spontaneous Reichs Kristallnacht when Van Gogh was murdered. Most mosques got 24/7 police protection, and they really needed it. Many attempts were made to torch Muslim schools and mosques, but this was — of course — not mainstream news.
If some jihadist fundy pops Wilders, rest assured the response would be fierce (to say the least). I expect this might be the trigger incident for a civil war or the beginning of serious ethnic cleansing. It might very well lead to a massive uprising, not from Muslims, but from the Dutch.
This must be known in Muslim circles as well, so I expect serious organizations (political Muslims in the Netherlands, or Al Qaeda) would not be so stupid as to go that far. The result would be counterproductive.
Of course, some lone loony like Mohammed Bouyeri might do it. Or something like the Hofstad group. One of their plans was to drive a minivan to the Binnenhof, loaded with explosives and blow up the place, after gunning down Wilders.
Be aware that the government is in very serious problems right now. their rating popularity is far less than Bush. It is actually negative… GeenStijl published yesterday a sarcastic piece to compliment PM Balkenende, as he has been proposed as first Euro president.
Why? If we keep telling the truth about this not-so-popular PM, they might select somebody else… anything to get rid of him! 😀
Constant scandals keep popping up. I reported about Eveline Herfkens, who got a huge housing subsidy. The latest here is she refuses to pay back a single cent. Two PvdA ministers need spin doctors to boost their image. These two (Vogelaar and Cramer) are considered the worst in the cabinet, and they badly need it. The scandal here is that the spin doctor is (what else) a PvdA marketing guru, the fee gigantic (€30,000/month) and charged to the public purse.
The finance minister (Wouter Bos) sued a magazine (Weekend) for publishing photos of his family without permission, and charged it to the ministry.
Minister Guusje ter Horst survived a scandal for drunk driving and swept it under the carpet when she was mayor of Nijmegen, but now Nijmegen will pay €65,000 in taxes for using her official limo privately. Which doesn’t sit well with the public. If you are me, try it, we’ll have to pay everything.
And more, and more, and much, much more…
In other words: the government is in really serious trouble. The last they want or need is Wilders being popped.
Wilders (PVV) + Verdonk (ToN), the SGP (Calvinist fundies, just one or 2 seats) + VVD are polled at 51 seats and rising. The VVD would be the third partner, as the PVV is polled at +15, ToN on +20 and the VVD at fifteen seats or less.
See what I mean?