Today the power of free speech and the role blogs have in it have been amply demonstrated. A single blog post (NL) yesterday by Arabist Hans Jansen has effectively lead today to the dismissal of the Amsterdam court handling the trial against Geert Wilders.
More details about how this lead to the court’s dismissal today can be read here.
What follows here is a translation of that very explosive blog post by Arabist Hans Jansen:
October 20th, 2010
I was invited for dinner on Monday, May 3rd 2010, by Bertus Hendriks. Bertus is the soul of the Palestina comity (NL). We’re acquainted since 1963. Nobody can talk as beautiful about the suffering of the Palestinians as Bertus can. After a couple of beers Bertus once told me that he does not care so much about the Palestinan problem. It’s all about, he explained to me, because I am ‘a petty-bourgeois product of the past generation’, about unmasking the global structures of exploitation by using the fate of the Palestinians. In short, a good friend who’s dinner invitation I can’t reject.
There would also come ‘some other friends’ of him. Not unusual for dinner parties in civilized circles. Bertus thought it would be nice to talk a bit about Islam, and yes, also about the Wilders Trial. The next Thursday, May 6th, I would be heard in this trial as an expert witness and testify, if I understood correctly, about the contents of the Koran and Sharia, as far as applicable and relevant for the trial.
The testimony as I found out later was needed because the court, to my opinion, could not imagine that the things Geert Wilders claimed to be in the Koran, were actually in the Koran. It’s hard to say ‘no’ to an old friend who you know for already nearly 40 years. Therefore I said ‘yes’. Indoors it is still allowed to think freely and say many things.
I am always a little early, or rather right on time. It’s an old boorish habit of mine born from insecurity. The second guest who arrived was no body less than a man named MR. Tom Schalken. He greets me friendly and starts a conversation about Islam. Where do I know this man from? Suddenly I knew. He was one of the members of the Amsterdam court that ordered the prosecution of Geert Wilders for hate mongering, discrimination and group offence.
I asked him, if I could speak freely in his presence. The man had after all, ordered the prosecution of somebody else who spoke about Islam. This lead to indignation on the part of the legal expert. I told my host I would leave, it just doesn’t make sense to talk to somebody who has the power to lock you up if he does not like the things you say. The atmosphere changed somewhat.
After my insistence LLM Tom Schalken guaranteed me not to sue me or to have me arrested for anything I would say that evening. I was satisfied with that guarantee. The exchange about this guarantee took some twenty minutes. By then the other guests had arrived.
LLM Schalken then asked from me the same guarantee. That I did not give him, supported by the formal argument that I don’t possess the power to have somebody arrested. I can only hope that, that at moment I did hide my angry emotions well. It was a few days before I had to give my testimony in court. The dinner party had lost its appeal.
Ms Hendriks had prepared a nice dinner, but it did not taste. Except for me, all other guest were notables affiliated with PvdA [Socialists Party] and GroenLinks [Greens]. Some worked as justices or prosecutors, Mr Schalken was not the only judge at that dinner table.
Still the evening had some fun moments. Now and then Tom Schalken tried his best to act friendly and jovially started a conversation. Each time, he steered the conversation towards the Wilders trial. Any unemployed actor had done that act of friendly bonhomie better. He tried to convince me of the rightfulness of his decision to put Geert Wilders on trial. Schalken, the Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam, the University of Balkenende, Rouvoet and Bos, let me know this was scientifically an ‘imposingly interesting case’ that needed tremendous study and that gave all kinds of perspectives.
Ah, now I understood. This is not a trial, but more like an academic working group. More something like a studently plea exercise than a serious criminal trial for the grownups. With as guinea pig a heavily threatened politician. ‘Unmasking mondial structures’. Indeed, a nice hobby.
Original blog post: Hoeiboei – Schalken, Raadsheer
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