Gregorius Nekschot is no more.
According to the cartoonist arriving at the decision to stop was a gradual process. His web shop is losing money and he receives too little commissions to keep the website going. On top of that his publisher didn’t see any profitability in publishing a new book.
Gregorius Nekschot is, of course, known world-wide for the quite scandalous decision by then-minister of Justice, Ernst Hirsch-Ballin, to arrest the cartoonist over eight ‘illegal’ cartoons (the ‘Nekschot Eight’ can be viewed here in a report by Ferdy of the arrest).
In the Volkskrant interview Nekschot describes himself as ‘change’ in the Fitna affair.
Nekschot calls Hirsch-Ballin a religious nut, who views his faith as the measure of all things. Combating Wilders was an obsession to the CDA politician, in the wake of which he aimed for Gregorius Nekschot, who ridiculed religion. Nekschot sees himself as change in the Fitna affair; Should the government be unsuccessful to stop Fitna, they could always fall back on Nekschot and his cartoons.
And that is what happened. His arrest was shelved, as it were, in case of need. that is why it took three years before they lifted him of his bed.
You should always be conscious of the fact that you may be a pawn in a larger game, he says softly.
It isn’t all sadness, according to Nekschot. All in all he says he’s thankful he escaped unharmed. Something which cannot be said about his Danish colleague Kurt Westergaard. He can be himself again, without the need for secrecy in his personal life. He will not have to be afraid for his identity coming out and being targeted any more. It is the end of fear.
But therein does lie the tragedy of the Netherlands in this, the 21st century: Theo van Gogh was murdered, Geert Wilders was prosecuted, Nekschot arrested, interrogated for thirty hours (for 8 cartoons, FFS!) and now he’s quit. It is safe to say that ridiculing islam and its band of backward, loud-mouth followers is about over in the Netherlands.