Friday, March 21, 2008

BPN 1044 Sorry!

This posting is not an apology for whatever I have written so far. However it is going to be an explanation for the 300+ movie postings on YouTube bearing a backdrop saying Sorry.

The public debate in The Netherlands is being held hostage now for more than three months by a politician who has produced or still is producing a movie critical of the Islam. Newspapers and news broadcast keep referring to it in the frameworks of the debate on the integration of people from abroad and of terrorism.

The politician is Gert Wilders. He used to belong to the right wing of the Dutch liberal party (VVD). But his extreme opinions were even too much for his party colleagues; so they kicked him out of the party. But convinced of his opinions, he started a new political party PVV (Party for Freedom) and claimed 9 seats in the Second Chamber of the House of Parliament in the first election after the separation with the VVD. One of his hobby horses is the Islam. And now he claims to have produced or is still producing a movie critical of the Islam, called Fitna, in Arabic a word to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial" (Wikipedia).

In the Netherlands politicians have started a trend so far in using a movie for political comment. In 2004 a 10 minute movie, named Submission, was shown on Dutch television. The theme was on “Muslim women who have been abused in various ways. The film contains monologues of these women and dramatically highlights three verses of the Quran,(4:34 2:222 and 24:2) that authorize mistreatment of women”(Wikipedia). The movie was written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (now a former Member of Parliament for the Dutch VVD). The movie was produced by Theo van Gogh, who was murdered later on in the year.

In the three months fear has been building up for an outburst of rage by certain Muslim groups. The Dutch government fears attacks, terrorist bombings and damage to its export. The Dutch premier has sought comfort and assistance from European counterparts, while the terrorism indicator has been raised. Protests abroad, amongst others in Afghanistan, have been broadcasted, but are (rightly) not taken seriously by the Dutch as they believe in the principle of freedom of speech with a proper judicial check afterwards, if needed.

Despite all excessive attention from the media, the politician has a problem in finding his audience to show his movie Fitna, whenever it is finished. Public television stations have been offered the showing of the movie, but have declined the offer, as it was conditional. Also a first showing in the press room of the Parliament was negotiated, but not agreed as the politician, who is being protected by the government, would have to pay the extra guards. Now the movie is said to have its first showing on internet, but there are technical problems with the forecasted amount of viewers and the potential attacks and hacks. The movie has been loaded with an ISP in the USA, who has become scared now.

In order to escape the hold of the movie that still not is, a campaign of desinformation has been started up by the social media company Mediamatic. The company has proposed to produce home-grown movies and put them on YouTube. Whenever the real Fitna will be published on YouTube it will be hard to find the movie by using disinformation tactics. The call for movies, saying Sorry, is also to make clear to the world that this is an opinion of one politician and his party in The Netherlands, but not of the rest of the Dutch population.

Blog Posting Number: 1044


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