A gay man, a film maker, a Muslim woman and a politician from a minor political party. Why should these unlikely individuals — who are really from the margins of society — have come to the center of European history in the early 21st century? The reason is that they were caught up in events by being on the edges, by being the first to see, like ordinary people in movies who find themselves the first to discover a danger whose magnitude they only gradually discover. The four of course, are Pim Fortyn, Theo Van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders. Bruce Bawer describes their accidental destiny in the City Journal.
What a different road the Netherlands might have taken if Pim Fortuyn had lived! Back in the early spring of 2002, the sociologist-turned-politician—who didn’t mince words about the threat to democracy represented by his country’s rapidly expanding sharia enclaves—was riding high in the polls and appeared on the verge of becoming the next prime minister.
Fortuyn’s cause was taken up by journalist, director, and TV raconteur Theo van Gogh …
The spotlight then shifted to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brilliant Somali-born member of the Dutch parliament and cowriter of the script for Submission, who, rejecting the Islam of her birth, had become an eloquent advocate for freedom, especially for the rights of Muslim women facing no less oppression in the Netherlands than they had back in their homelands.
Fate? Life in hiding and exile.
And finally there’s Geert Wilders. The Amsterdam Appeals court has decided to prosecute Wilders for Hate Speech.
Fate? It’s up to us. But if recent history is any guide then Wilders is in for a rough ride. Wilders won’t be the last, but maybe he’ll be the last victim from the edge. In the next part of the movie the scene shifts into the center of things. What time is it? When Rick asks Sam in Casablanca what time it is in America he knows the answer already. It is almost too late.
Rick: If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?
Sam: What? My watch stopped.
Rick: I’d bet they’re asleep in New York. I’d bet they’re asleep all over America.
It would be a mistake to think that Fortuyn, Van Gogh, Ali and Wilders suffered their fates because they were involved with the ‘Muslim issue’. Islam was only incidental to the perilous currents swirling around them. No. Things ran deeper than that. What these four found themselves in the midst of was the greatest mass suicide event of the last 100 years: the repeal of the enlightenment; the murder of a culture. The court that issued the ideological fatwah against him wasn’t a clerical court in Southwest Asia, but a secular one in the heart of modern Europe. They’re not coming at us from the outside; they’re here.