A fond farewell – Defend Geert Wilders is shutting down

22 03 2011

I’ve been working my way up to this post for almost two years.

You see, ever since Defend Geert Wilders got started way back in January of 2009, I meant for it to be a place where anybody interested in the Geert Wilders prosecution could go to find the information they needed to find. That’s why we have an archive of coverage with many, many links saved and ready for browsing. Meanwhile, we put up pages where those who wished to do so could sign a petition against Geert Wilders’ prosecution, or even donate to his legal fund.

In short, this site was meant to be a one-stop-shop for news and views on the Geert Wilders prosecution. Round-ups of coverage, highlighting bits of opinion here and there. Bits of original opinion and coverage thrown in. I like to think I was at least partially successful, and that this site will serve well as a jumping-off point for those who wish to know more about Holland’s never-ending Wilders scandal.

This was not a non-partisan website. While I have, and maintain no, affiliation with Geert Wilders himself, this site supports his right to freedom of speech in Holland. As I explained in our ‘About‘ page:

The last time that I checked, a religion, be it Islam, or Christianity, or Hinduism, or whathaveyou, was not able to set the tone for what discourse is and is not acceptable. If religion is setting the pace now, in Holland, then that is not acceptable.

At this point, I am not even sure if this is merely about the conflict between religion, speech, and politics in Holland’s court system. I think it is about that very court system itself, the chaos that it is currently throwing itself into, and the direction that it will choose to take in the future. I suspect that in time, Geert Wilders will be merely a footnote in Dutch history. The direction that Holland’s court system will take in the years to come will have much more impact than simply one man and one party ( the PVV ).

I am not particularly supportive of Geert Wilders himself. I don’t like his stances on all issues – indeed, even most of them. I don’t like his style of rhetoric. I don’t like the way that he ignores the distinction between Islam and Islamism, between the politics and the religion. He is helping to bring Holland into a much-needed debate, but that does not make him right in everything that he says. We should not be too quick to make a hero out of Geert Wilders just yet.

I’ve come to these conclusions over the two-year ( or so ) period during which I ran Defend Geert Wilders. I caught a lot of heat for my support for his freedom of speech, which is fine, and I spent countless hours updating this site, which is also fine. It was a tiring, troublesome venture at times, but I like to think it was ultimately worthwhile.

However, every so often I would renew a promise to myself: that I would shut down this blog whenever the Wilders case came to a close. I was determined to follow this thing through. But the case never ended. It went on…and on. Then the trial collapsed in upon itself completely and a new trial sprang from its ashes…and is now itself dragging on. Perhaps this trial will collapse as well.

Meanwhile, I get busier and busier, I have less and less time to keep this site up-to-date, and my mind gets occupied with other projects. And I cannot help but feel that now is as good a time as any to put this particular project to an end. It’s been great. We had some fun, far too few laughs, and contributed to an important debate. But now it’s time to go.

I have no intention of pulling down the site. Defend Geert Wilders will stay up, its content archived for posterity. I’ll let the comments run for the rest of the week, and then those will be shut down so as to make things neat and tidy.

You’ve all been great – even the haters. Be sure to turn the lights out after you leave.



Update: And with that, I think now is as good a time as any to close down the comments. It’s been real. Take care of yourselves out there, dear readers.