Dutch politician Geert Wilders released his film Fitna which draws parallels between Islamic ideology and Nazism a couple of days back. And the events surrounding its release turned out to be more controversial than the film itself.
Distributing the film
Wilders wanted to host the film on a website (fitnathemovie.com) designed specially for that purpose. But his hosting company – Network Solutions (one of the biggest domain registrars in the world) – decided that the site might ‘violate’ its Acceptable Use Policy (euphemism for we are shit scared of being blown up by lunatic islamic terrorists). So Wilders decided to host it on LiveLeak.com and a couple of million people were able to view it before that site too lost its nerve and removed the video leaving the following message in its place – .
The Removal of “Fitna” Official LiveLeak statement.
Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly affect the safety of some staff members, Liveleak has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.
This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.
Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture.
We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high.
LiveLeak pulls “Fitna” after receiving “very serious” threats (Hot Air)
Fitna follow-up: The usual suspects do the usual thing (Michelle Malkin)
So much for freedom of expression. Anyway, the film is now available on torrents, rapidshare, and a multitude of video websites. Googling for Fitna should get you at least one working link to the movie. In any case here is a rapidshare link which is working at the time of my writing this post.
Contents of the film
Given the trouble Wilders had to face from the Dutch government and various other quarters, one would have thought that the film would be hugely controversial. But it is not. I can write about what it contains, but that would be a repetition of what Fitna’s Wikipedia entry (which Wilders says is the ‘official’ website of the film, given that his real website has been censored) already provides in detail.
The 9/11 imagery, beheadings, mutilated bodies etc. no longer trouble me because they have been oft-repeated in news media over the years. Placards that say BE PREPARED FOR THE REAL HOLOCAUST! and GOD BLESS HITLER, I can swallow. But the most disturbing part in the film, according to me, is the scene where a young man stood with a placard in his hand, which said – FREEDOM GO TO HELL.
You can call the film anti-Islamic, hate speech and what not and you would not be too off the mark. Geert Wilders himself is a nationalist politician who wants the Koran to be banned, a strange position to take if you believe in freedom of expression. But that does not give governments worldwide the right to demand that the film be banned. In fact, no book or firm or cartoon or any work of art should be banned as long as it does not involve coercion on the part of the producer regardless of the fact that it is hate speech, or utterly disgusting, or simply unwatchable. Sentiments cannot be used to gun down freedom of expression. As simple as that.
Some Islamic states rightly ask why anti-semitic works are banned or strictly controlled in some western states while those attacking Islam don’t attract such attention. And why is holocaust denial a crime, they ask? Well, it should not be, in my opinion – what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. But such states might want to take a look at what rights they provide to their citizens. When a school teacher can be punished for naming a teddy bear Muhammed, when a rape victim can be punished for being raped, when homosexuals can be hanged for the crime of being different, and when people can be put to death for changing their religion, you really have to question the society you live in. If you don’t, you are committing the vilest of all crimes – murdering freedom.