Y’all have probably been wondering where the Baron has been for the past few days. As it happens he wandered off to Europe again, this time for a large gathering in the European Parliament in Brussels, almost five years after the first one back in October 2007.
The occasion was The International Conference for Free Speech and Human Rights. The event was sponsored by the International Civil Liberties Alliance; it also launched the “Brussels Process”.
You'll be hearing the details of this ongoing initiative when the Baron returns. This much I know: the members include numerous organizations and individuals, all of them united in their determination to protect free speech in the West from the danger posed by Islamic sharia.
The culmination of the Conference for Free Speech was the actual signing of this document. It will be made public as The Brussels Declaration. When the Baron returns, the document will be presented here in full.
More than a hundred free speech advocates and opponents of sharia were on hand, hailing from Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA. They were there to listen to talks and engage in Q&A with the following speakers:
- Mark Steyn (Canada), commentator and author of America Alone and After America
- Lars Hedegaard (Denmark), book author and President of the International Free Press Society
- Prof. Hans Jansen (Netherlands), retired Professor of Modern Islamic Thought at the University of Utrecht
- Sabatina James (Germany), apostate from Islam and author of three books
- Alexandre del Valle, author, co-founder of the "Geopolitical observatory of the Mediterranean Sea"
- Tommy Robinson (UK), co-founder of the English Defence League and Vice-Chairman of the British Freedom Party
- Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (Austria), lecturer on Islamic politics and victim of sharia-compliant “hate speech” laws
- Magdi Allam (Italy), MEP, apostate from Islam, convert to Catholicism
- Gavin Boby (UK), Law and Freedom Foundation
The Baron will be flying home shortly. He'll give you his own account of this historic event as soon as he recovers from jet lag. [And yes, I've been having him take small amounts of melatonin so he'll be back in gear soon after he arrives.]
Meanwhile, I'm told that Tommy Robinson has already tweeted about the event from inside the Parliament building. I swan, that man is irrepressible. Anyone who does the dangerous work he has taken on would need that quality just to survive.
I cannot tell a lie.
That sentence “the Baron wandered off” is a whopper of his own devising, written before he left. I mean he knows how long it takes me to get a post up so he had to do a work-around.
Well then, if he didn’t ‘wander off’, what actually transpired?
Simply this: Hundreds of hours of teamwork by dozens of people made the Brussels Process a reality. The Baron was part of that team, though by no means the leader. In fact, there aren’t any leaders. Not only that, but they have always had a refreshing absence of drama queens. Thus, the work is distributed among the members, each according to his talents.
What are the Baron’s “talents” in this undertaking? He’s got a gift for logistics and organization, not to mention sheer endurance. I lost track of the late nights.
Over the years the members of this group have learned to mesh well. Think of it: dedicated people scattered all over who have been working together since well before the first Brussels Counterjihad Conference in 2007.
Yes, that one — the very same event that poor old Chazzer, along with a few people from EXPO and Belgian psy ops tried so hard to smash. The months following were a rough go for everyone, but the team survived. Survived and transcended the attempts to pull them down into the slime with Charles. As Nietzsche said, and the Baron is fond of repeating, “whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger”.
The men and women of that Brussels team, though smeared and slammed repeatedly, are a stalwart crew. Not even Bloody Breivik and his handlers could break them, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.
For me, personally, the period following the first Brussels conference was a dark time. I was held up for ridicule by people I had treasured as friends. Others simply dropped us: our blog was a microscopic blip on the radar before 2007. Afterwards, we simply weren’t on the radar anymore.
Yeah, it’s an old story by now. But the accumulation of silence on the one hand and mean-spirited ridicule on the other, were damaging. Not for the Baron though — he’s amazingly resilient. I wish I could say I was as sanguine as he in the aftermath. The personal attacks and betrayals by people I’d trusted took a heavy toll. My old friend, PTSD, returned with a vengance — seemingly to stay, since its’ been dogging me ever since. The joy I had for writing was badly crippled back then and I’ve never quite recovered. [“Just get over it” is an easy thing to say but when your hippocampus has other plans, good luck with that.]
As far as I know, only ONE American writer did due diligence on the subject of the first Conference in 2007. James Lewis managed to see through the murk well enough to connect the dots and to exonerate Paul Belien, a man who had long suffered at the hands of Belgium’s psy ops. He and Vlaams Belang were their real target; we were simply collateral damage. I will be forever grateful to Mr. Lewis — though he wasn’t thinking about us particularly — for his willingness to state plainly what was plain to see had anyone bothered to do the work he did. What he discerned was the basic innocence and integrity of Paul Belien and the demonizing of Vlaams Belang by bad people.
The Big Bloggers on the Right simply went on their way, not even bothering to respond to the carefully assembled refutations of each of Chazzer’s scurrilous accusations. I doubt they ever opened the document sent to each of them. After all, they’re the Bigs and besides they get so much mail, you know. And it wasn’t their fight...at least it wasn’t theirs until Chaz crumbled enough to begin coming after them, too. Chaz got their attention, indeed he did.
One of the ironies of all the smears against us was that nary a one of them originated in Chazzer’s fevered brain. As Mr. Lewis pointed out in his essay, LGF was merely a useful tool for EXPO in Sweden and government intel in Belgium. Too bad for them - their tool broke and they dumped him.
Whenever I think of that period of our shunning (except for Michelle Malkin’s continued willingness to link to us), I am reminded of Auden’s poem, “Musée des Beaux Arts”:
About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman man may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.
So I await the Baron’s return. I’m sure he’ll have wonderful stories. When I spoke to him briefly on someone else’s phone today, I was touched to hear that Mark Steyn asked after me. What a nice surprise!
While I’m waiting, I’ll go contemplate poor Icarus and notice once again we had those same waxen wings. He and I both know that reliving the moment allows one to let another piece of it go.