Refugee Resettlement Watch

Crowd of conservatives cheers Geert Wilders in Washington

Posted by Judy K. Warner on February 28, 2009

Update March 2nd:   You can watch the whole event yourselves on Youtube, go to Jihad Watch here and then follow links to Atlas Shrugs for more on this historic evening.

 

Ann and I had a great treat last night. We went into Washington along with my husband to hear Geert Wilders speak and joined hundreds of fans of free speech in cheering him for his courage and conviction in standing up for western civilization. The event was at the same site as CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) but not of CPAC, as the organizers of that event show remarkably little interest in jihad and matters of free speech that involve Islam. It was sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center,  Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, and Dr. Andrew Bostom.

We’ve seen Wilders on TV and on the Internet, but we wanted to see him in person. And it was worth the long drive and the parking hassles. He is very elegant and very tall, and imposing in a soft-spoken and genial, even sweet, way.  It is awful to realize that he is under a double threat — death threats from jihadist Muslims, and an upcoming prosecution for hate speech from his own Dutch government.  He lives under constant guard. How he can be so calm under those conditions is a mystery; I noticed the same thing about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Wilders’s main message was that western civilization is better than other ways of life and we need to defend it. But not only are Europeans not defending their own culture, but they define as hate speech attempts to contrast it favorably with, say, Islamic culture. He quoted Ronald Reagan’s speech at the British Parliament in 1982, where he spoke of communism as the evil empire and said it’s important not to avoid threats but to face up to them (I’m writing this from memory; the words are not exact).

I’ve read a number of accounts saying that Wilders wants to ban the Koran, and pointing out the inconsistency of this with his stated support of free speech. Even conservatives fall for this. I knew they were idiots, and of course Wilders made it clear that he is simply pointing out that under the Netherlands’ hate speech laws (or are they EU laws? I’m not sure), if Mein Kampf can be banned then the Koran should be banned too. He is completely opposed to all hate speech laws, and wants for the whole world the kind of protections for speech that we enjoy under our First Amendment. (At least we enjoy them as of today; who knows what is coming down the pike?)

Wilders referred to his exclusion from the U.K. and said he was thankful for our immigration officials. He said he feels at home in the United States.

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs spoke of how Wilders’s cause is also our cause; her account of the event is here, with a picture of the crowd. Also Robert Spencer and Dr. Andrew Bostom had good things to say. And Fitna was shown — Wilders’s short film that got him into all this trouble in the first place. For some reason I had never watched it in its 16-minute entirety; it’s quite stunning and if you haven’t seen it I recommend you click on the link.

The room was jam-packed and apparently many were turned away. Security was supposed to be tight and we saw some people being wanded, but somehow we were just waved in. Maybe it’s obvious how wholesome and innocent Ann and I and my husband are. There were a lot of young people in the audience, CPAC attendees most likely, and they were very responsive to Wilders’s speech, cheering and booing loudly at every appropriate moment. (Jay Nordlinger has noted that hissing is a leftist thing (last item, here,) and I’m glad to say there wasn’t a hiss to be heard, only hearty boos at, for instance, Wilders’s mention of the U.K. government refusing him admittance.) 

Robert Spencer has an account of Wilders’s appearance before the National Press Club earlier yesterday. Our previous posts on Wilders are here. And an interesting article about Wilders’s place in the political world is here. The authors seem to be far to the left and misrepresent him in many respects, especially in calling him tied to the “far right” and misinterpreting his call to ban the Koran, but provide a lot of information so I’m putting in the link. I think they believe it quite damning to associate him with “neo-conservatives.”

Last, here is a link to the Geert Wilders Defense Fund. Wilders’s court case in the Netherland will cost him big bucks. If he loses he will go to prison. I can hardly think of a worthier cause to support. Think of it this way: Every dollar you give is a vote for western civilization.

Update: More accounts at Atlas Shrugs from people who attended.

17 Responses to “Crowd of conservatives cheers Geert Wilders in Washington”

  1. […] and I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Wilders speak in Washington, DC in February of 2009 here.  Type ‘Geert Wilders’ into our search function for our many reports on his warning to […]

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  2. […] most Tea Party people I hadn’t attended a CPAC meeting in the past except for the one in 2009 and I really didn’t attend CPAC but I attended the Geert Wilders (Dutch Parlimentarian under […]

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  3. […] We have written often about Geert Wilders and Judy and I were fortunate to hear him speak in Washington in February 2009, here. […]

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  4. […] courageous campaign for free speech and against radical Islamic ideology and were fortunate to hear him speak at CPAC in 2009 (albeit the event was not sanctioned by the Washington DC insider Republicans that […]

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  5. […] CPAC welcome Geert Wilders as a speaker when Wilders becomes Prime Minister of the Netherlands?  Stay […]

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  6. […] as last year when Judy and I attended the event with Geert Wilders ( here and here are posts on that controversial event), it seems that anything to do with Islamic […]

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  7. […] silence our point of view.  She mentions the New English Review conference which I attended, the CPAC snub of Geert Wilders (a speech Judy and I attended), Grover Norquist’s role in blocking conservatives discussion […]

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  8. […] posted on Geert Wilders here, here, here and here. […]

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  9. […] Mr. Bodissey then goes on to connect the dots and point out that at the country’s largest gathering of conservatives in Washington in recent memory, there was no discussion of Islamic terrorism, save the privately sponsored speech by Geert Wilders which Judy and I attended, here. […]

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  10. Dinah Lord said

    This. Is. So. Awesome.

    It is great that you gals (and guy) were able to see Geert, RRW. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It sounds a-mazing. I bet it was exciting. Did it feel historic?

    Re: Free Speech – “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. ~Noam Chomsky”

    And the fact that I am quoting Noam Chomsky, a person I despise further makes my point.

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  11. acorcoran said

    I would like to throw in my thoughts here as well. Mr. Simons asks if Neo-Nazis should be allowed to protest and “wave their vicious blood-stained flag”, I say yes, as much as I don’t like their message they should have that right, as long as they aren’t calling for violence.

    I hadn’t given the subject much thought until a couple of years ago when the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) asked for and received permission to rally at Antietam National Battlefield in the town where I live. History buffs will recall that the Battle of Antietam gave Lincoln the fortitude to do the Emancipation Proclamation so this battlefield holds important symbolism for the KKK.

    Well there must have been about six KKK guys (I don’t know the exact number I wasn’t there, but it was tiny)at the rally and hundreds of counter demonstrators. There was an overwhelming law enforcement presence, including the National Park Service’s mounted police, SWAT teams, you name it.

    In the past the NPS and I haven’t seen eye to eye on property issues here, but this time the Park Superintendent’s comments to me on the demonstration were compelling. He said we needed to protect our rights to free speech even if we hated what the KKK said, that that principle was infinitely more important than anything that would be said on either side that day.

    And, I also realized by giving these KKK guys an opportunity to air their grievances, it served as a release of steam. Imagine what would happen if we begin to silence certain groups, like these guys, and they built up their anger secretly. In my opinion they would gain more converts and we would be on our way to anarchy.

    Europe is on its way there now unless they lighten up on free speech. And, we in the US must do everything in our power to preserve our rights as well.

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  12. judyw said

    Ben Simons, your question presumes that neo-Nazis are the greatest threat in Germany, or in Europe generally. Now, I don’t like it that the following is necessary, but I am going to say here that I lost relatives in the Holocaust and the village from which my grandparents emigrated was wiped out. So there is no corner of my heart in which lurks any sympathy for neo-Nazis.

    That out of the way, I point out that the greatest threat in Germany and in Europe generally is radical Islam, not neo-Nazism. Yet radical Muslims are permitted to engage in the wildest, most threatening speech, usually without consequence. Less than a week after Wilders was refused admittance to the U.K., a radical Imam came in without problems and spread his message of hate to Muslim audiences.

    “If you are an Imam or a radical Muslim you can say ‘kill the Jews,’ or ‘wipe Israel off the face of the earth,'” Wilders said. “You can say the most terrible things, and if you say it, you will be protected by law. But if somebody stands up and says ‘hey, that is wrong, we have to fight all the crazy remarks of these Islamists,’ you will be brought to court.” (Interview here.)

    Wilders also says: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

    Muslims demand that insulting Islam be banned. Sharia law forbids criticizing Islam. The hate speech law is submission to Sharia law, and it is based on fear. If western civilization is to survive in Europe, Europeans have to regain their confidence in the culture which produced it.

    The demand for free speech is a good and necessary start, but it is only a start. Western civilization is not based on free speech; rather, that is an outcome of principles developed over the years. It is based on ancient Greece and ancient Rome, on the Enlightenment, and most importantly, on Judaism and Christianity. In my opinion, until Europeans reclaim their Christian heritage they will not regain the confidence they need to fight back against the Islamic threat.

    So focusing on the threat of neo-Nazism and ignoring the threat of radical Islam is like worrying about an annoying boil on your face while leaving the cancer within your body untreated.

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  13. Ben Simons said

    I am very happy that Mr. Wilders was able to talk freely in Washington. I am concerned about one thing, does he want free speech laws in Europe to be totally free – to the extent that Holocaust deniers would be able to publically deny the Holocaust? Would you also want free speech to be made so open that Neo-Nazis in Germany would be allowed to wave their vicious blood-stained flag around? These are very important issues.

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  14. Su Bee said

    We all need to support Wilders and the others that are standing up top the Powers that be.
    We may be next and we have to squash these animals before they devore us.

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  15. FeFe said

    Thank you so much for going and lending your support. A packed house indeed. “I speak not to be heard but to confirm.”

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  16. acorcoran said

    I had to smile when I read the account at Atlas Shrugs from the Virginia man who drove 6 hours to see Wilders.

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/02/wilders-event-observations-from-an-atlas-reader.html

    This is just how we felt (although we didn’t have to drive that far) when we realized that we might be late due to the terrible parking space shortage. We must have gotten in the door a minute before this man.

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  17. Wonderful!

    Now, if only Wilders could get such open support in Europe.

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