We’ve been following the case of Gregorius Nekschot for two and a half years. Mr. Nekschot — not his real name — is a Dutch cartoonist who inflamed the multicultural sensibilities of the state. Back in 2008 he was rousted out of bed in the middle of the night and hauled off to the slammer for a few hours of bright lights and intense questioning.
And all because of his “racist” political cartoons. When he was released by the police with a charge hanging over his head, he was warned to watch his step. Otherwise his pseudonymity might just happen to disappear, and everyone would know who he was and where he lived, including the Moroccan thugs who wanted to kill him.
Now, more than two years later, the charges against him have been dropped. He is free and clear — until, that is, he draws another “racist” cartoon.
According to Dutch News:
Discrimination Case Dropped Against Cartoonist
The public prosecution department announced on Tuesday it is dropping its case against a cartoonist arrested in 2008 on discrimination charges.
The cartoonist, who operates under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, published the controversial cartoons on his website. He was arrested in 2008 following a complaint made in 2005.
Although the department considers the cartoons discriminate against Muslims and ‘people with dark skins’, it made the decision to drop the case because the cartoons have not appeared on the website since shortly after Nekschot’s arrest. In addition, the cartoonist spent 24 hours in jail following his arrest, reports the Volkskrant.
The fact that the complaint was made as far back as 2005 and there have been no further complaints also played a role, the paper says.
The Nekschot case demonstrates that the Netherlands possesses a legal culture of absolutely arbitrary prosecution. Whether you are charged or not hinges on the whim of the prosecutor. With so many laws and regulations and so much flexibility given to the prosecution, it is completely at the discretion of public officials whether anyone ever gets prosecuted at all. No citizen can ever know for certain what constitutes a prosecutable offense, nor when he might be hauled off without notice to help the police with their enquiries.
As Fjordman pointed out earlier today, the entire process is even worse than arbitrary: it is deliberately calculated to intimidate the natives — the “persons of Dutch background” — and only them.
This technique well-known to totalitarian states. It induces more fear and apathy than straightforward draconian laws, because citizens are compelled to live in a state of continuous anxiety. It’s a very effective tool of control.
El Ingles, however, notes that this sort of practice is evidence that the EU’s soft totalitarian regime is inherently weak. Without a gulag and an armed secret police to whom unlimited powers are granted, European pseudo-democracies are reduced to three basic techniques for controlling their citizens:
Financial. Virtually all citizens depend on the state for some or all of their livelihood and well-being. The threat of withdrawal of state benefits is a powerful incentive to keep a restive populace in line.
Shunning. This technique has reached a baroque extreme in Sweden, but it is used in all Western European countries. If you express any doubleplus ungood thoughts, you can expect to be ostracized and avoided. Your career may be harmed. Your neighbors may report you to the police on any pretext.
Keeping quiet about your unorthodox opinions is the best option under the circumstances.
Nuisance prosecution. Lionheart in the UK and Nekschot in the Netherlands are two notable examples of this technique. Citizens are picked up for the most nebulous of thought crimes — “hate speech”, “incitement to ethnic hatred”, “hets mot folkgrupp”, etc. — held for a while, interrogated, and then released with a possible charge pending. They are forced to retain counsel, endure repeated questioning, and undergo stressful official bureaucratic procedures while their case drags on for years.
Then suddenly all the charges are dropped: “You’re free to go, mate, but I’d watch my step if I was you.”
Or not — some prosecutions actually proceed to trial and conviction, as with Tomashot and Jussi Halla-aho in Finland and Dahn Pettersson in Sweden. The cases of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff and Geert Wilders have yet to be resolved.
When you think about it, this is a pretty flimsy framework on which to erect a totalitarian state. Without a full apparatus of armed suppression and mass internment, the state is quite vulnerable.
This is especially true with regards to technique #1. A fiscal implosion will remove most of the coercive power of the modern welfare state. Severe reductions in state payouts will consign more and more citizens to the class of “those with nothing to lose”. This is the raw material out of which revolutions are built.
Given the current global financial crisis, it’s a sobering thought. By the time all these “hate speech” prosecutions run their course, the game may have changed entirely.
The page, Steyn in Scandinavia, has a number of entertaining stories about his evening at the Free Speech Awards in Copenhagen. It sounds like a most enjoyable time.
[The original was in Danish, here]
The last story, different in tone and texture, concerned Nekshot’s appearance for his award.
The burka-man from Holland
The tone was more subdued when the Dutch cartoonist who goes under the pseudonym of Gregorius Nekschot entered the podium. His irreverent drawings poking fun at everything from Christianity and Islam to various secular ideologies have made him a man under threat. For that reason Nekschot appeared in a burka so as not to reveal his identity. As he made clear, he has ample reason to fear Muslim rage and reprisals if he were to show his face.
Muslims are not the only ones who in recent years have tried to make his life miserable. Almost three years ago he was arrested by Dutch police on suspicion of having offended against the country’s anti-discrimination laws. After a while he was released but it is yet to be determined whether his cartoons are offensive enough to warrant a trial.
License to kill
“A trial may be long and exhausting,” said Nekschot. “And if I am forced to appear in court without a veil, that will give every religious fanatic a ‘license to kill’“. As Nekschot explained, free speech in Holland has been changed into a sort of Russian roulette, whose outcome it is impossible to predict.
“In Holland freedom of speech has been subjugated to freedom of religion. With the support of the multicultural establishment religious people have the right to do whatever they think their religion demands of them. Critics of a multicultural utopia on the other hand have no rights. But as an artist I cannot accept these limitations. For me self-censorship is not an option,” said Gregorius Nekschot, who had brought his own bodyguard to the meeting and who hurriedly left the hall after his speech.
Molly Norris needs to take a look at a genuinely suppressed cartoonist. This is what I meant by having gravitas and why she has none.
Dex Quire points out that Norris’ home town (Seattle) is so far out of the reality loop they don’t care. Maybe being wrapped in all that blue Progressive fuzz, where nothing matters but porn stars and puffery, is what makes the denizens of Seattle so indifferent to her fate or to her dramas. Just don’t get in the way of their latte, though.
Nekschot is a real victim because he hasn’t the luxury of governmental indifference. He has been truly silenced by the grim strictures of modern Holland.
Previous posts about Gregorius Nekschot:
Hat tip: DF.