C'est nous qui brisons les barreaux des prisons, pour nos frères, La haine à nos trousses, et la faim qui nous pousse, la misère. Il y a des pays où les gens aux creux des lits font des rêves, Ici, nous, vois-tu, nous on marche et nous on tue nous on crève.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Action and Reaction/ Reality and Perception

I have little interest in engaging in the pseudo-debate over Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilder's Fitna. As far as I can see, it is the cinematic equivalent of street graffito saying 'Go home, Lebs'.

Nonetheless, certain sections of the media and blogosphere were falling over themselves in Australia and the US in their rush to tell us how necessary this film was to disabuse us of our illusions about Islam. Apparently, Islam is not a secret mission (arm-in-arm with the 'politically correct' crowd, you see) to take over the world, beginning with Europe. As Melbourne's resident cherry-picker, Andrew Bolt put it:

If Geert Wilders was very wrong about Islam, his film would not cause such panic...If Wilders is so wrong, people wouldn’t be so terrified as to try to ban his film, which does virtually nothing but quote the Koran and Muslim leaders, and show without comment the work of some Muslim groups. (source)

It is therefore heartening to see an article in the Israeli press that elaborates on this supposed panic, and the nature of the Islamic menace in Holland:

Dutch Jews are more outspoken than local Muslims in their criticism of the newly released anti-Islam film by rightist legislator Geert Wilders, says Dr. Ronny Naftaniel, head of the pro-Zionist Center for Information and Documentation (CIDI).

"They [the Muslim community] are afraid. They have been told by the Dutch government to keep quiet and be wise about this issue, and that's what they want to do," Naftaniel told Haaretz on Monday in CIDI's four-story headquarters near the American embassy.

"I was surprised by the silence of the local Muslim leaders," Naftaniel added. "If I were a Muslim, I would speak out and I would blame Wilders for this film. I wouldn't stop shouting about it. I don't understand their silence, I really don't. I think they are scared."

"We are never afraid to speak out in the harshest of terms against what we think is wrong, be it against Muslim extremism here in the Netherlands, or the Dutch or Israeli governments," he said. "But this movie portrays all Muslims as The Enemy. And this is just not true."

So much for panic on the streets of Amsterdam.