Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Europe News: Report From Berlin

Henrik Ræder Clausen was one of those invited to the Freiheit rally in Berlin on Saturday. Below is his comprehensive account of the day’s events.

This article was originally published at Europe News. See the original for more photographs, including one showing the Antifa demonstrators outside the event.

Berlin, Sept 3 2011: René  Stadtkewitz

Geert Wilders supports Freedom in Berlin
By Henrik R. Clausen

On September 3rd 2011, Geert Wilders was back in Berlin, backing his friend René Stadtkewitz and his new party DIE FREIHEIT (FREEDOM) in the September 18th elections to the local parliament.

Also present was Oskar Freysinger of the Swiss Peoples’ Party, Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats, Marc Doll and other prominent FREIHEIT members, as well as many prominent critics of political Islam. The event was hosted in Stauffenbergstrasse, in memory of Graf von Stauffenberg, the most prominent opponent of the German National Socialist regime during World War II. Due to acute threats from violent anti-democratic forces, which remain powerful in Berlin, the exact location was kept secret until a day before it took place.

Indeed, when approaching the conference place, one couldn’t help noticing a noisy crowd of perhaps 40 people shouting about ‘Racism’, ‘Fascism’ and ‘National Socialism’, as well as a stop to ‘Right-wing populism’.

The threat from political extremists

They threatened the press and others deemed against their cause, (whatever it is), and shouted thinly veiled death threats against named individuals. The Antifa flag was the signature of the left-wing extremist movement in Germany. Fortunately, the police had no problems keeping the rowdy crowd under control, and there were no real problems getting to the conference place.

Berlin, Sept 3 2011: Kent EkerothInside the Maritime Hotel, things were proceeding in a relaxed atmosphere. In contrast with last year, security was slightly more relaxed, in that no uniformed police were inside the hall. The pub was open, and friends were meeting over a coffee. Quite a bit of press, from Germany and Netherlands in particular, was covering the conference. Kent Ekeroth of the Sweden Democrats gave a speech about the situation in Sweden, and in particular how his party gaining 20 seats in the parliament was helping to break the ice for a honest political debate. On the downside, Sweden continues to accept immigrants from Third World countries at a suicidal rate.

The star of the show was Geert Wilders. His entry caused all journalists to jump to their feet, and his widely known blond-haired figure was a signature profile for the conference. Having had quite a few challenges in his political life, he was quiet and relaxed throughout the conference.

The first speaker was René Stadtkewitz, chairman of the German party DIE FREIHEIT (“Freedom”). He dedicated much of his speech round the recent best-seller “Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab” by the national bank board member Thilo Sarrazin. Although 1.5 million copies had been sold, and extensive public debate and polls show that 60-80 percent of Germans are in general agreement with Sarrazin, actual political change has not taken place. For example, under-education and unemployment of second- and third-generation immigrants remain an unsolved problem and a great challenge to the German society and the welfare state.

Another issue Stadtkewitz took up was that German President Wolff has stated that Islam has always belonged to Germany, which is a rather obvious falsehood. As a side note, the fact of the matter is that Islam got a permanent presence in Germany as recent as during the National Socialist regime in the 1930’s, due in great part to the famous Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. René stated straight out that Islam and democracy are not compatible, and that religion should remain a strictly personal matter, not a political one.

Wilders: Progress in the Netherlands

Berlin, Sept 3 2011: Geert WildersWilders in his speech was able to strike a more positive note. With his party (PVV, “Party for Freedom”) in a supporting role in the Dutch parliament, he has been able to pass a burqa ban and other initiatives against forcing Islam on the Dutch society.

On one issue, though, his party cannot support the government, namely the extensive bailout packages that are deemed necessary to save Greece, Portugal and other countries from the consequence of their own fiscal follies. The Dutch government thus needs to rely on left-wing parties in order to pass the bailout packages. Even if it were to bring down the government, the PVV will never support these packages, where the thrifty are forced to pay for the fraudulent.

The Norwegian madman Anders Breivik got some words from Wilders, who pointed out that Breivik openly stated that he did not respect the democratic system, and thus was in no way part of the Islam-critical movement in Europe. His murderous acts are his own responsibilities, condemned wide and far, including by everyone Breivik quoted in his ‘Manifesto’. More democracy, not more violence, is the way forward. That includes more direct democracy, like in Switzerland.

His acquittal after two years of trials suspected of “hate speech” was a landmark event. The Dutch court had clearly declared that freedom of speech trumps considerations for “religious sensitivities”, and had acquitted him on all accounts, That had caused the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to protest, a protest that the Dutch government had flat out refused to take ad notam, stating that the OIC had no standing to restrict what a politician in the Netherlands had the right to say.

At that point, some members of the audience, presumably left-wing extremists, stood up and shouted some words about ‘Racism’, ‘Fascism’ and the like, trying to make the systematic chanting of slogans interrupt the meeting. It would seem that they have an unhealthy obsession with totalitarian ideologies and a lack of understanding of political dialogue, since they so systematically resort to name-calling, intimidation and chanting of slogans. They were obviously in breach of security and were quickly taken outside the conference hall. Wilders quietly pointed out that they were on the left wing, again, and that they apparently didn’t like that he had been acquitted in his trial.

On a related note, the Netherlands have decided to not take part in the Durban III conference, due to the openly anti-Semitic agenda of the organizing countries, as well as similar racist outcomes of the previous conference. Wilders and the PVV strongly support Israel and will not accept any attempts to de-legitimize the state of Israel nor other attempts to prevent the Jewish state to defend the rights of the Jews. As in Israel, the nation-state remains the best framework for defending the rights of the citizens, be it in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden or elsewhere.

Finally, he spoke words of encouragement to Stadtkewitz and to DIE FREIHEIT in general. That it takes time and work to get in a position like the PVV is in now, and that his own long journey to that end had been well worth it. Achieving a change of debate and a change of politics is doable, and it is urgent.

Standing in for Robert Spencer

Since Robert Spencer had cancelled with a two day notice, Warren from Australia took up the difficult task of replacing him, having tried to translate as much as possible from the address Spencer would have given, also commenting on what he saw as the most urgent issues at hand, not least the ongoing challenges of our right to speak the truth.

For while Geert Wilders had been acquitted, others have been convicted. Lars Hedegaard in Denmark for mentioning the deplorable situation for Muslim women, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria for calling sex with minors ‘paedophilia’.

In the case in Austria, the judge determined that since Muhammad (according to Islamic scripture) had sex with Aisha from she was nine until she was 18, using the label ‘paedophilia’ was, from a professional point of view, an incorrect application of the label, and an affront to religious teachings. The verdict is pending appeal.

Warren had also been present in Stuttgart, where left-wing extremists by the hundred had assaulted an event for persecuted Christians, effectively barring the Aramaic and Coptic Christians from explaining about the plight in their countries and performing their songs. Instead, Warren and other strong men had stood the ground on the stage under bombardment of bottles, eggs and horse manure, and told the violent extremists that their assault on freedom of assembly and freedom of expression was a disgrace for Germany and the West.

Robert Spencer had in his original speech explained in detail about the notorious Imam Rauf and the Ground Zero Mosque project. Spencer had detailed how the imam deceptively was trying to present himself as ‘moderate’, the project as benign, but in reality had an agenda to eventually implement Sharia law in the United States of America. At the moment, the project seems stalled. The upcoming rally on September 11th 2011 will be interesting to follow.

Freysinger and the European bull

Berlin, Sept 3 2011: Oskar FreysingerGetting Oskar Freysinger on stage was a radical change from soft-spoken Wilders and Warren. Freysinger is loud, agitated, routinely uses poetry and metaphors to explain his views. The lead theme of this speech was a poem based on the legend of Europa riding the bull, with Freysinger ridiculing the aggressive, power-hungry bull of Brussels who still isn’t able to get little Switzerland to go along for the ride. Worse, Switzerland is currently the only country qualified to adopt the Euro — but flat out refuses to do so.

Direct democracy is a key wish of DIE FREIHEIT, and Freysinger took some time explaining how it is used in Switzerland. Not only can any law be taken to referendum quite easily, citizens are also able to create a “Citizens initiative”, where any issue can be put to the vote on request. Not only does that enable citizens to keep the politicians in check and raise issues that the political elite would rather avoid, the direct democracy also gives the actual decisions greater legitimacy. No one in their right mind would challenge a decision backed by 60 or 70 percent of the Swiss citizens.

Further, Freysinger ridiculed the fact that we let a totalitarian political ideology take roots with only symbolic resistance, like the 2009 ban on erecting minarets in Switzerland. The reality on the ground is that Islamists are permitted to organize themselves according to their anti-democratic ideology, just as in Turkey where the secular heritage of Kemal Atatürk is now effectively dismantled, without any objections from the West, not even a cancellation of the Turkish EU membership negotiations. One may wonder if our leaders have become mad or blind.

Press conference

There was no question and answer session in the conference itself, but it was followed by a press conference for the journalists present. In the first question, Wilders elaborated what he means by ‘patriotism’, the good nationalism where one is proud of ones’ country, rejects cultural relativism and the European Union Superstate. And underlined again that this has nothing to do with fascism.

On a question about the EU bailout packages, Marc Doll said that the system had been misused to purchase popularity, by politicians who no longer think in terms of ‘generations’, but by ‘election period’. The bailouts are also part of this short-sighted and dysfunctional policy.

What is really needed is for the people and the politicians in the debt-ridden countries to ponder what went wrong and what is needed to set it right, in a process that would also benefit democracy and sovereignty of the peoples. René Stadtkewitz added that Greece would never have gotten this cheap credit without the euro and the ECB, that the system is fundamentally broken and cannot be saved.