Free at Last — For Twenty Minutes

I first met Geert Wilders in person back in February 2009 at an event hosted by Sen. John Kyl of Arizona (now retired) at the Lyndon B. Johnson Room in the U.S. Capitol. Two years later I encountered him again in Nashville, Tennessee under the auspices of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition.

Yesterday afternoon it was my privilege to be invited to another Geert Wilders event, this one a speech and reception in the Rayburn Building on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Mr. Wilders had been invited to speak by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and was introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

Before he spoke, Mr. Wilders mingled with the audience and conversed with some of the people who had come to hear him. I was able to talk to him for a couple of minutes, and he told me that he was aware of our work at Gates of Vienna, and was grateful for it. It had been almost four years since I had last seen him, but he looked exactly the same — buoyant, upbeat, and full of optimism, as always.

During his speech he expanded on some of his recent remarks, notably those last week in the Dutch parliament concerning the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and the “Australian model” for sending the immigrants back. However, it was his opening anecdote that made the most impression on me. It was off-the-cuff, heartfelt, and even more buoyant than his usual statements.

Earlier that afternoon Mr. Wilders had attended a joint session of Congress in honor (I think) of the Japanese ambassador Prime Minister. During the course of the event, he was invited by a senator to look in on the Senate chamber (if I remember correctly). In order to do so, his security detail had to stay behind, and he had to surrender his phones.

He chatted with the senator for a while, who then said good-bye and left. Mr. Wilders looked around and realized that he was all by himself, with no idea of where he was. No bodyguards — and no phone!

He wandered down a hallway until he came to an exit, and walked outside into the sunlight, into a beautiful spring day in Washington D.C. As it happened, he was on the opposite side of the building from the door he had entered through, and completely by himself. By himself!

As he said (I paraphrase from memory): “For twenty minutes I was by myself for the first time in ten years. It was wonderful! It was the most enjoyable experience I’ve had in a long time. I was walking around Washington D.C. on this beautiful day with no bodyguards, all alone.”

I hardly need point out that this pleasure would have been denied him had the same thing happened in Amsterdam or The Hague. Geert Wilders’ face is well-known to almost everyone in the Netherlands, and he would have been immediately set upon by passers-by who recognized him and wanted to do him harm. However, in this country he is only recognizable to a few people, most of whom wish him well. As a result he was able to enjoy a few minutes of blissful anonymity until he somehow made his way back to his security detail and resumed his normal existence.

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In my brief conversation with Geert Wilders, I told him that in my opinion (which is shared by many others) he is the leader of the worldwide Counterjihad movement — whether he likes it or not. He has earned that distinction by his outspoken, forthright advocacy in defense of Western Civilization and against the encroachment of Islam. His credentials include his place on the Al Qaeda hit list, and the unfortunate fact that he has been unable to live a normal life for the past ten years.

I also said that Lars Vilks has found himself “second in command” for similar reasons. He, too, has had to give up any hope of living a normal life. He has been forced out of his home and must live with 24/7 police protection.

Both men earned their status as Heroes of the Counterjihad by continuing their prominent “Islamophobic” activities in the face of all the threats and intimidation directed at them. Neither of them has retired from public life. They refuse to apologize, or truckle, or “moderate” their public utterances. Despite the death fatwas, they continue to speak out without trepidation on behalf of free expression.

There is a third candidate for a leadership role, and for similar reasons: Tommy Robinson. Like Mr. Wilders and Mr. Vilks, Mr. Robinson has had to give up his normal life, yet continues to speak out for civil liberties and against Islamization. In contrast to Mr. Wilders and Mr. Vilks, however, he cannot rely on the state to protect him, and must manage his security entirely on his own. As a reward for his “Islamophobic” advocacy, he has done two stretches in prison and experienced severe physical abuse at the hands of Muslims while he was inside.

These three men stand as examples to the rest of us, who continue to live (relatively) comfortable lives and follow our normal routines.

But for how long? How many more will join Geert Wilders, Lars Vilks, and Tommy Robinson in the ranks of the outcast and the persecuted?

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The Blaze sent a videographer to yesterday’s event in the Rayburn Building, so I assume a video of the speech and the Q&A will eventually be posted online.

Reps. Gohmert and King hosted a press conference with Mr. Wilders on the Capitol steps this morning. Dymphna will be posting about that momentous occasion shortly.

24 thoughts on “Free at Last — For Twenty Minutes

  1. You name Geert Wilder’s, Lars Vilkes and Tommy Robinson as Outcasts and Persecuted and history will show them as such. It was so nice to see Geert actually had time to himself and the Baron was there. Such moments are rare and sweet. I would like to say that the very first victim was Salmon Rushdie who no doubt has been living in hell for more than 20 years. I was once a member of AMnesty International and PEN , when we members made it possible to free Salmon Rushdie and also other writers such as Martha Kumsa back then at no small cost to ordinary writers like me. It took much energy and a lot of courage from ordinary people in Canada. Organization across many borders. That was the original idea of Amnesty and PEN, but then was stolen by celebrities, those celebrities never ever knew the cost to ordinary people like me. It gives me and no doubt all my old friends that Salmon Rushie remembers us now. And what we all went through to save his life, through country after country. Before the internet. He has called out today’s cowards of PEN, who will not even attend PEN Awards and rightly so. I would sit at that head table, having sacrificed any extra money I had back then and given money and clothes and everything to the other writers families so they could live a lovely life in Canada. And they have. But famous writers won’t. Why? Michael Ondajjhi .Too afraid of their heads being cut off? I am disgusted by PEN as is Salmon Rushdie. If PEN and AI won’t stand up, who will.?

  2. If I may, I propose that the term islamorealism replace all usage of the Islamic propaganda terminology used to imply that, even after 9/11 plus thousands of other Islamic terror attacks, all concerns about or criticisms of Islam are somehow irrational.

    As in: “They conducted their islamorealist activities in the face of all the Islamic threats and intimidation directed at them.”

    This is less about controlling language and more about denying the Islamists and leftists the ability to control the language. They’ve already managed to force most journalists to use the prejudicial terminology they want; its way past time to fight back.

    • I prefer quoting Erdogan: “Islam is Islam, and that’s it.” Succinct and and to the point.

      • It is useful to be honest about what the Islamists say, but not always useful to let them shape the debate. After all, Islam is manifestly NOT Islam, when a civilization that reveres justice responds in a principled manner.

        Islam became what it is now for the same reason that every other inane and trivial ideology has metastasized into an apparent determination to end Western Civilization. Because the nations of the West no longer revere justice. Those individuals who do are an ever more despised minority.

        But people didn’t come to revere justice because justice needed or desired such a thing, it was because people needed to survive in a world where the untamed workings of the natural law are utterly inimical to their aspirations for life. Nations which have ceased to revere justice will come to discover that the natural laws were never repealed, they were only channeled and regulated…and when you destroy the embankments holding them in a set course, the law will claim its due.

      • I was specifically suggesting that islamorealism be used instead of the term islamophobia.

        It’s important not to adopt false and prejudicial terminology that’s intended to delegitimize criticism of Islam or anything else.

        It’s also important to promote non-prejudicial alternatives to those terms. Failure to do this is one of the key communications failures of the counter-jihad. Communications will continue to fail as long as the terminology stays the same.

        • I never use the word “Islamophobia” except ironically, or as a joke. That’s why I put it in quote marks.

          Ditto for “moderate Muslim”.

          One of my principal tactics is to relentlessly and mercilessly make fun of the debasers of our language. They generally lack a sense of humor themselves, so ridicule can used effectively against them.

          • I appreciate that. Really all I am doing is suggesting an additional tactic.

  3. The way things are progressing, I am assuming that the way Mr’s Wilders, Vilks & Robinson live,will soon be the norm for all of us. I already expect that more than a few of us may lose our heads. Keep the faith, never give in.

  4. I am quite hard on the Venusian species, and for good reasons. But as I always say, even if the mean and majority characteristics must be noted, the outliers must too. And so I’d like to put in this lineup, if not at the same level as Wilders, Oriana Falacci, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, Wafa Sultan and two or three other Muslim-born women who speak out against Islam at a great risk to their own lives, and even Brigitte Bardot who has suffered repeated persecutions at the hands of the French government on behalf of its ten million Muslim clients.

  5. Pamela Geller is a leader, courageous and very bold woman. I wonder what it must be like for her and if she has protection.

    • You are right. But from where I sit — and that’s not on the inside — she seems to have an outsized ago and behaves as though Resistance to Islam were a cause hitched to the glamorous Pamela Geller, rather than vice versa. There are other highly courageous women with somewhat similar dysfunctional character flaws, e.g. Debbie Schlussel. This limits their effectiveness.

      • This seems to be true of a lot of people with “causes”, men and women. The Clintons are a case in point, though I will admit they’re a different category – i.e., their cause is the Clintons.

        I read Debbie Schlussel a few times but the vitriol is overwhleming.

        One I do know personally who does not have an outsized ego is Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. What a genuinely nice human being. She must be a tactful one, too, given all the bigwigs she has translated for, acted as go-between, etc. She’s truly admirable.

        Pamela Geller doesn’t like us much, but that’s okay. At the end of the day name-calling washes out. The work she is doing with the bus ads is most commendable. Her main problem appears to be high stress – I can sympathize with that.

  6. Michael Stuerzenberger of Politicially Incorrect is a very good speaker and very opposed to jihad.

  7. Geert Wilders is a giant. He would have fit well with our Founders. The impulse is the same: to champion liberty. It must be terrible to be such a man and live in a time when the tide is running against liberty. And yet he is buoyant. Well, there is that largeness in him.

    • Dittos to all. Wilders is a man of immense moral courage and integrity, of genuine decency and, it seems, a pleasant demeanor. I would be awestruck in his presence — and then he would probably make me feel completely at ease.

  8. Let us not forget Jay Smith. He has been tirelessly doing our homework for us for the past thirty years. Dymphna, the book you recommended, “Christmas in the Qur’an,” Jay has a copy and has been studying it. He is there at Speaker’s Corner on a regular basis. As a staunch defender of the (Christian) Faith, Jay rightly deserves a seat at the table with Geert.

  9. Even standing with the two US Representatives, Geert said something (in the press conference video) that I have not heard any other American “leader” (or rather, person in the public eye with easy access to a camera or a news outlet coverage): he unapologetically championed Western Christendom.
    That’s right, folks: we would not have Western CHRISTENdom without [drumroll….]… the Christians! It amazes me how most everyone has forgotten that.
    I shake my head, say a prayer, and try to re-focus on my teensy sphere of influence… most of which will change no-one’s mind…

    • In this instance, I’ll out-Christian you. Wilders never refers to Christianity alone but to our “Judeo-Christian” heritage. But that is PC-speak, a thumbprint of liberal Holland. If one wants to iterate the main elements of our civilization, even of our religion, citing just the “Judeo” next to Christian is tendentious. It ought to be at least: Judeo-Greek-Roman-Christian.

      • No.

        Judaism is the source of certain foundational moral principles which were truly exceptional, while Greco-Roman civilization mostly contributed a sphere of political stability and philosophical inquiry which are not exceptional in world historical terms.

        There is no Christianity without Judaism, it is intrinsic to everything Christ was and taught. Judaism is treated as having gone astray and needing reform, Rome (and the philosophical tradition of the Greeks) are simply cardboard cutout bad guys for Christianity to overcome. Christ could, without any difficulty other than how to move millions of Jews to somewhere else in the ancient world, have easily implemented His ministry in the context of any other oppressive but temporally stable empire with a developed secular philosophical tradition.

        Yes, the Greek and Roman contributions to Western Civilization are significant and should not be ignored. But they are not essential. Judeo-Christianity is.

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