Regular readers of Counterjihad blogs and websites will notice some familiar names and URLs in this Dutch article from 925.nl about Geert Wilders’ trip to the USA. It was kindly translated for Gates of Vienna by our Flemish correspondent VH:
Wilders in Washington: Mission Accomplished
By Mark Maathuis
Geert Wilders spoke in Washington DC, at a symposium for 400 enthusiastic Americans. The visit provided a lot of attention, but presumably little money. His “welcome home” present, however, will help alleviate the pain.
As soon an Pamela Geller heard that Wilders was coming to America, she invited him to the meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. At this annual symposium, conservative Americans meet to listen to speeches about the threat to the free possession of weapons, the degradation of family values and the dangers of socialism. Wilders’ story about the curtailment of freedom of expression should not be left out, according to Geller, who through her blog Atlas Shrugs warns against the advancing Islamic danger. “We are headed the wrong way and if nobody does anything we will all one day wake up in a concentration camp.” And Wilders — “the brave defender of Western values” — offers a good example, according to her.
The meeting, which Geller organized together with the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the website Jihad Watch, was Wilders’ third performance in Washington DC. Earlier he gave a speech in the National Press Club and in Capitol Hill, where he was invited by the Republican senator Jon Kyl to present his film. Coincidence or not, that performance happened to be on the same day of Senator John Kerry’s meeting on improving the relationship between America and the Muslim World.
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Wilders went on stage while being loudly cheered at with yells like “Wilders for President” and “we love freedom”. He began his speech by thanking the U.S. immigration service — a reference to the British refusal to let him enter the UK. The room responded by booing. When he further talked about a speech that President Reagan gave in 1982 in the British House of Commons, it caused a wave of enthusiasm. To most visitors at the conservative CPAC conference, the 40th President is still the best.. Also when Wilders quoted the Wall Street Journal the audience responded with audible approval — that is a newspaper that at least they have confidence in, they seemed to be saying. “Freedom of expression in the Netherlands is according to ‘the Journal’ as large as in Saudi Arabia,” Wilders said, “and my lawsuit is called by the newspaper ‘no small victory for Islamic regimes that wish to export their censorship.’“
After the final standing ovation, organizer Pamela Geller called on those present to donate for Wilders’ lawsuit. “All amounts are welcome because it is ‘bloody expensive’.” How much they collected was not revealed, but it was probably not much. “But that was not the purpose for me. I have paid the rent for the room and all facilities myself. And anything we collect is wonderful.” Her website Atlas Shrugs, which attracts thousands of visitors daily, has now a link to Wilders’ fund.
Personally, the PVV leader also did not comment on the costs or benefits of the evening. But even without a major check, the visit to America, where Wilders says he feels at home, is a success. It earned him the necessary attention in the media where, as expected, opinions were divided. On the FOX talk shows of Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly, they were largely with him. The Washington Post compared Fitna in Congress with the screening of the pro-Ku Klux Klan film “Birth of a Nation” in the White House in 1915. The New York Times described Wilders as a fierce critic of Islam with controversial positions such as the plan to pay Muslims to leave the country.
Despite the “heartwarming reception” and “the American love of freedom of expression”, Wilders said he does not to want to come and live in the country. And why should he? The day he came home, a poll by Maurice de Hond showed that the PVV is now the largest party in the Netherlands. “Mission accomplished.”
Mark Maathuis writes from Washington, D.C.
Hat tip: Flyboy.