The photo above is a stark reminder of the conditions under which Geert Wilders has been forced to live for more than ten years.
Mr. Wilders no longer has the option of living a normal life. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he must be surrounded by a squad of alert, well-trained bodyguards. All because angry Muslims and their allies on the Hard Left are ready to kill him as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
I don’t know whether all six of the men surrounding Mr. Wilders in the photo are his bodyguards, but they certainly appear to be. I recognize some of them from previous events I attended where Mr. Wilders spoke. You can see them standing at strategic locations around the room, looking closely at everyone who enters or moves around. They resemble lighthouses, with the beam of their gaze swiveling methodically in all directions.
And they’re nice guys. When their boss is in a relatively safe location — a meeting room with a single well-guarded entrance, for example — they’re relaxed enough that you can approach them and chat. But they never stop watching, not for a second. While they’re answering you, their eyes are roving around, tracking the movements of people in the crowd.
When the location is less secure — on the open sidewalk, say, or in a more public venue — they form a tight phalanx around the man they’re charged with protecting. Next time you see a crowd photo with Geert Wilders in it, take a look at the people surrounding him. The alert tough-looking guys with their backs to him are probably the bodyguards. They’re always there.
They’ve kept him alive for more than a decade. For that reason they have earned my deepest respect and gratitude.
One additional note: the conditions described above give the lie to the assertion that Geert Wilders is a cynical opportunist, adopting his anti-Islamic stance in order to advance his political career.
No one who wants simply to gain power and enjoy the perks and privileges associated with it would deliberately put himself through ten years of the routine nightmare that Mr. Wilders’ life has become. Cynical opportunists don’t have that kind of grit.
Only someone who is passionately dedicated to a cause higher than himself would voluntarily subject himself to such conditions.