Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2008.03.28 : Fitna
Dissent (And Free Speech) In Real Time
Plus Bonus Ayaan Hirsi Ali Smackdown
And Some Cartoons For You
"For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it."
- Thomas Jefferson
UPDATE: Following threats to their staff, LiveLeak – the main platform hosting the Fitna video – have taken it down. Happily, you can still view it here, below – or, better yet, download the video file yourself and put it back up all over.

I actually have no idea how much coverage in the U.S. has been given to Dutch politician Geert Wilders – and his new short film, Fitna ("Strife" in Arabic). Wilders is a self-proclaimed defender of free speech and harsh critic of Islam, who has sought to restrict immigration into the Netherlands from non-Western countries. (Where, it must be noted, they have had some significant problems with immigration and assimilation.) Particularly since the assassination of filmmaker Theo van Gough, Wilders (like then fellow MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali) has been under 24-hour protection due to threats on his life.

Fitna is a 16-minute film that can basically be classed as a propaganda video. It is based on real passages from the Qur'ân and features media clips of what we might call "strong images". I am hosting this video on my server and making it available to view on this page (below). By doing this, I don't (necessarily) endorse the viewpoint of this film.

What I do strongly endorse is Wilders' right to put forth this viewpoint. And I condemn the numerous, credible, vile threats of dire physical violence that have been intended to silence him. I condemn the replacement of free speech and dialogue with religious intolerance and intimidation, which represents a terrible threat to liberalism, and free society, and the hard-won gains of the Enlightenment and centuries of civilisation.

I question the reaction of the Dutch government and Prime Minister who have publicly fretted that Wilders is endangering Dutch citizens and soldiers and interests around the world. (Obviously, it would be violent extremists who would be doing the endangering.) I question the Dutch television stations who declined to air it unedited; and the Dutch venue which declined to host a premier absent crippling security costs.

I condemn Iran and Syria, who have made threats should the film be shown. I condemn Pakistan and Google, who have colluded to ban the material within Pakistan. I particularly condemn the hosting provider of the website, Network Solutions, who on March 22 replaced the page with a message stating that the company "is investigating whether the site's content is in violation of the Network Solutions Acceptable Use Policy." Notoriously, they did this at the same time they were hosting the domain of the terrorist organisation Hizbollah. (I'll be considering parking all of my domains somewhere other than good ole NetSol.)

And I'm providing the video here so you can judge for yourself. While I'm at it, I think I'll also (belatedly) publish those Danish cartoons. A case can certainly be made that if any system of thought could stand an Englightenment-style critique (and Voltaire-style skewering) it's Islam. But whether that's true or not, as long as there are free societies these critiques can be made. And if the Islamic world doesn't like it, then – as the saying goes – they can lump it. But the point is this: all those Western news organisations who declined to publish this material have made a serious error – they have not only submitted to a veto of violence over free speech in the heart of the West, but they have made us all less safe. If, on the other hand, everyone mocks Muhammed (PBUMN), then they can't kill everyone. Dissenting opinions welcome.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

As long as I'm at it: If you'd like a much more reasoned, much less imflammatory critique of Islam – not to mention a brilliant and seemingly effortless smack-down on some classic, brain-dead, liberal, anti-Americanism – here's Ayaan Hirsi Ali on a Canadian program from last year. God love her.


And some cartoons for you (which you're free to find funny or not funny – though probably funnier if you speak Dutch – and I'm free to publish).


  freedom     iran     islam     terrorism     video  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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