Geert Wilders’ two cent video, Fitna, is just a little smoke and mirrors

Is The Multiculturalism Project Dead?

Today, I had a chance to see Geert Wilders’ so-called movie, Fitna. Apparently, it came out during my Easter pilgrimage to Bucovina.

If you haven’t seen Fitna, play it below.

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Almost a month ago, I said this about Geert Wilders. That was before Fitna was released. Below is my reflection after the release of Fitna.

Although the short video clip (let’s not call this a movie, shall we!) does not seem as contentious as Wilders’ politically incorrect manner of speaking and writing, Fitna exaggerates problems, misunderstandings and concerns with an oily, underhanded, used-car salesman’s approach – and a very sophisticated mastery of subtle, misleading suggestions.

Background music for your reading pleasure: Radiohead, Creep. Play it below.

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What this video clip (Fitna) provides is a compelling opportunity for plain clothes Europeans (not academics of the ivory towers) to evaluate the tenets of political correctness, multiculturalism, and cultural relativity. Europeans must answer some big questions for themselves. For example, do these ideological constructions (political correctness and multiculturalism) adequately reflect the things needed to further pursue the course of human freedom within the context of European cultural identity and aspirations?

Unlike Americans, Europeans have never been ones to allow their freedom of speech to be regulated by the self-proclaimed, American-imported demagogues of political correctness.

Americans, however, remain bound by a Christian humility and humanism AND a Victorian sense of correctness and virtue. These things derive from our European protestant roots and the English-Victorian influences that came to define the aspirations of the American middle class. In other words, certain forms of social thinking and action are built-in in America and make it difficult for us to succeed in any kind of critical re-examination.

MLK, Jr., for example, would never have moved the European heart. Europeans, in general, would have never have accepted his accusations of complicity to the degree that they would feel personally compelled to overcome their own sense of bigotry and racism. This, however, does not mean that European civilization is somehow inferior to American civilization. What I hope to illustrate by this example is that MLK, Jr. represents a dogma which leads Americans to certain conclusions to which Europeans are not bound.

03 April edit: For the first time in a long time, some big questions may be better decided in Europe and not in the US. In other words, the US has failed to resolve important questions about multiculturalism, politically correct speech and the impact of (non-western or other) immigration on the political will and aspirations of democratic states. Europeans have a unique opportunity to approach these questions with fresh perspective.

The debate over the pros and cons of multiculturalism may be decided best by Europeans, perhaps, because they are also in the midst of a process of defining themselves and their destiny through the European Union.

03 April edit: Myself, I have become optimistic that we can all get something worthwhile out of sincere and open dialogue between the Muslim community and Europeans. In this regard, the Dutch have a unique opportunity to lead such a dialogue by engaging both their European neighbors and the greater Islamic community. Instead of preparing for Muslim reprisals and apologizing for Geert until they are blue in the face, the Dutch people can become involved in a dialogue that defeats stereotypes, misunderstanding, and hatred.

And Geert Wilders?

03 April edit: No one really believes Geert Wilders adequately represents Dutch feeling on the matter. It is merely convenient for some radical Islamicists to point a twitching finger at the Netherlands in the hopes that (1) the Dutch could impose a cowardly will on Wilders in an authoritarian manner, (2) disable Dutch participation in NATO actions, AND (3) prevent any kind of dialogue where common values could be understood.

In the end, Wilders is only an insignificant clown with a two cent, peep show… video clip. I remain unchanged in my opinion that Wilders is nothing more than a foolish pawn. Europeans, collectively, should use Wilders for the benefit of a progressive dialogue and debate between traditional and post modern cultures. On the other hand, Patrick Condell, an outspoken English comedian, playwright, satirist, and atheist, is stirring things up. Go here , here, here or here to see what Pat is saying.

And if the most reasonable perspective on this scandalous affair is coming out of Bucharest, I guess the Dutch should cringe a little. The Netherlands, or rather Dutch culture, is in deep calcat.

Schilling

As Geert Wilders tells in recent interviews, Muslims who immigrate to Europe because of the moral bankruptcy of their economic, political and social cultures should come to Europe after leaving behind those things which made home (the third world) so unbearable. And if he could say it a little bit more like how I just reworded his position, he might be saying something reasonable. But if he was more thoughtful and measured in his word, such diplomacy and polite manner would not help him win constituents.

Instead, Wilders says offensive, anti-muslim things that are likely to provoke knee-jerk reactions from unstable Islamic regions and wild-eyed zealots who are fueled by the inadequacies of their own culture and governments. “Islam and democracy are fully incompatible,” Wilders is quoted saying by The Washington Post. “They will never be compatible — not today, and not in a million years.”

Having watched a number of video interviews of Geert Wilders, I am not convinced that even he believes everything that comes tumbling out of his own mouth. Sometimes, he doesn’t want to be taken as the fool that, ironically, he is making himself out to be. At least, Wilders seems to wince, every now and again, when he says something completely stupid.

Obviously, Geert Wilders likes to grand stand – even if it puts him in the cross hairs. Wilder’s bad blonde dye-job makes him more representative of cheap Italian hookers than a distinguished representative of the Dutch nation. Obviously, he’ll do anything for a little attention. Wilders admits that he needs the media coverage to build his political constituency (of fear and loathing). In a recent Washington Post article, the caption of the photograph reads:

“Dutch politician Geert Wilders watches the latest Internet video clip calling for his beheading.”

Sounds like schilling to me.

Death Threats and Evil Psycho Babble

Regardless of Geert Wilders’ grand-stand schilling, it does not seem to us in the West that a death threat is ever appropriate when a life or death belongs to God (or the tax authorities). In fact, death threats, assassination and other such evil psycho babble are widely considered inappropriate modalities of protest in the post modern human society.

These dark Sith ways are inappropriate anywhere on this planet.

Because we (reasonable persons of every culture) say so.

More background music for your reading pleasure: Pink Floyd, Another Brick in the Wall. Play it below.

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It is hard to argue that Geert Wilders is wrong when he describes Islamic death threats as nothing less than anti-social, emotionally immature, sociopathic attempts to win an argument for lack of reasonable considerations and objections. How else can we describe death threats, assassination attempts, and Islamic pleas for the assassination of artists, politicians, and clowns?

Nor is Wilders out there and alone in left field when he suggests that the impotence of Islamic leaders to maintain some modicum of decency, maturity, and sociability suggests a certain dysfunction and historical backwardness in Islamic culture. Again, it’s too bad that Wilders’ poor grasp of expression and language gets in the way of important questions and concerns that should be openly discussed.

But who are we to make such judgments about Islamic culture?

Those who have eyes to see, ears to hear and minds by which intellectual judgments and decisions are made about good, evil, and happiness.

Great shame falls upon the Islamic states and leaders from which so many Muslims are desperate to flee.

Nor does anyone in the West need to apologize for pointing out something so obvious and clearly demonstrated. We, in the West, are the greatest example of peoples that encourage critical self-criticism and open debate of our dirty laundry. And the unending blessings that we have enjoyed seem to reflect on the value of such.

Almost a hundred years ago, T. E. Lawrence, a hero in the Arab Revolt during the first World War wrote about his frustration with Arab leaders who could not put personal interests and pride behind them to come together to build independent Arab nations.

Counterpoint

Many years ago and during a time when I studied the Koran among other sacred texts of the major religions of the world, it occurred to me as a musing about my Syrian friend (and roommate in my second year of college) that it could be possible that Islam may be the only thing that’s really good about the Arab soul.

And I asked my Syrian friend with all my dark sarcasm in the intonation, how much worse would the Arab be without the Koran?

His sincere reply with a genuine sparkle in his eye- that is something I wouldn’t even want to begin to imagine.

I took his word on it.

Or, maybe, I was just glad that he didn’t suggest that I was a racist for lack of a better reply. I guess they could have kicked me out of college – if he had told someone.

In fact, I was merely guilty of being contentious. Anyway, we all know how Europeans feel about other historically nomadic cultures, the Gypsies and Romanians. Recent reports are that the Italians are now burning them alive.

Regardless of the faults of my youth, I had at one time read much of the Koran in English translation during the same flawed youth. And I have no problem saying that I enjoyed many of the interesting stories and moral lessons that I found in the Koran. Some of the lessons remain with me. I especially cherish the moral lesson on the nature of divine wisdom which the Koran has the Green Prophet teaching to Moses.

Honestly, I do not remember the kind of Koran that Geert Wilders tries to convince his fellow Dutch to be a text that is as dangerous as Hitler’s Mein Kampf– which, by the way, I have also read. In fact, the Koran consists of 114 suras (suar). Obviously, Wilders glossing over the 112 other suar (suras) in the Koran is cause for serious question about his authority and insight regarding the Koran.

Fitna Is Smoke and Mirrors

Geert Wilders’ video clip, Fitna, merely features fragments of verses (ayat) from two or three Suras. Yes, there are a lot of terrible images of violence and human tragedy in Fitna. But more than the actual number of references to the Koran are the exploitative titles of Dutch newspaper articles about extreme Islamic fundamentalists, their call to arms, and various terrorist events. In conclusion, Fitna is not much more than smoke and mirrors.

Geert Wilders and his Masad (Israeli intelligence) buddies were counting on the supposition that no one in the West has ever seen a Koran.

This does not mean that the moment has passed for a European discourse where Western and Islamic concerns are critically evaluated.

A dialogue is just getting started. Obviously, the death threats need to stop and we must hold the Islamic world responsible for such rude and uncivilized manners of discourse. Even in the free-speech loving West, we do not include death threats, public calls to assassination, and posted rewards for assassination among what we consider protected free speech. We call such actions criminal and, generally speaking, we lock people up for it because such behavior is generally unacceptable within the context of Freedom, Democracy, Law and Order and the greater solidarity of the species.

Below is a thoughtful Islamic response to the controversial Danish cartoons that previously upset the Muslim world:

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I would like to imagine that the European conversation about multiculturalism and a new European identity will increase friendship, insight and understanding on both sides.

Amen.

A happy tune to make your day go well: Monty Python, Always Look on the bright side of life. Play it below.

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Stan Faryna
March 30th, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

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About Stan Faryna

He is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

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