Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stop the Islamization of Europe! And Clowns.

The "Stop the Islamization of Europe" movement got a permit to hold a demonstration on the Dam on Saturday, and journalists outnumbered the demonstrators by a factor of about 5-1.

You see, international media smell a "Danish Cartoon" controversy in the making if right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders' film about the Quran is as explosive as he hopes _ and the Dutch government fears _ it is.

Of course, intrepid pudgy American reporters were on the scene.

On one side of the Dam, the "Stop Islamization"-ists attracted quite a crowd of reporters and police. Here's me trying to understand their point of view:

(looking across police lines)

On the other side, behind a row of horse-mounted police officers, were the people protesting the protesters. This young man's message was clear:

("All Racists Out Of The Country")

Got that straight? Now, the third party in the mix was a bunch of clowns.

To try to give an idea of the layout, I climbed a light post. Unfortunately the clowns had changed location, but I think this still gives a fair overview. I label the participants "Fascists, Leftists and Clowns," just as a kind of shorthand:

More pictures, including hot clown action, after the "More"

This guy was convinced Geert Wilders should go to jail for hate speech. He had kind of a Malcolm X vibe.

Some other objects of interest:

Here's a young woman (I think it was a woman!) wearing a burka. The number of women who actually wear burkas normally in the Netherlands has been estimated at less than 100, so you would be tempted to say, either her presence was an incredible coincidence, or she may have intentionally put it on today to make a point. I remark without further judgment that she was wearing jeans underneath.

Nice photo, no?

Here are some undercover cops. See how seamlessly they blend in?

Here is Ehsan Jami. He said he just happened to be walking by...

He also had a subtle security guard (far left), who looked capable of kicking some fairly major ass if the need arose.

I'd post a clip of Jami talking, but he was speaking Dutch. Also noteworthy: I believe the woman who was interviewing him is Metje Blaak, head of the prostitute's labor union. I have no idea what she was doing with a cameraman and microphone, but I'm curious to find out. She asked Jami a sneaky "one last question" _ namely, whether he had a girlfriend or not. Jami gave a roundabout 'no.'

There were a few heated discussions, but no fights. Except among clowns...


has been deleted said...

hey, with a little time you could stick all your clips together with a bit of narration and make a nice little - possibly hilarious - piece of multimedia

Anonymous said...

Hey, not nice to be labeled a fascist, just because we want to limit the spread of islam in Europe.
I thought that in the little conversation we had you heard a rather more subtle view.
I would even be oke with islam spreading through Europe if christianity, buddhism and atheism spread to the same extent through the muslim world.
How about the label anti-islamofascism, because we are against the radical stream in islam that would, just like Hitler, who for that reason used to be venerated by less publicity aware muslims, like to exterminate jews, or anyway do away with their homeland.
Anyway, nice to have met, though perhaps you feel slightly uneasy having met the terrible "Hitler" himself? Perhaps visit Al Tawheed mosque or contact HUT and ask what they think about democracy and the Dutch. Think of
One final remark: perhaps the comparison to fascism is facile but incorrect in both cases and should be seen as a form of mudslinging.
But we were not the ones who started this, but our leftwing opponents (that i voted for all my life till the murder of Van Gogh and the growing sense of not feeling at home in your own country, not because of any influx, but specifically of the muslims parading their differences in a very obvious way).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous:

What do you think Wilders has accomplished by telling Muslims that their prophet is a pedophile? By comparing the Koran to Mein Kampf? By telling Muslims to tear out half the pages of their Holy Book? By declaring that he didn't like the fact thst two Muslims, Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak, would be sitting in the upper house after the last federal elections? Do you seriously think these actions will make Muslims think critically about their religion or even give it up all together? Would you?

Dikkie Dik

Toby Sterling said...

@anonymous: I can live with the label "anti-islamofascist" for accuracy, but it doesn't work well as a joke. I understand your argument is more sophisticated. The "leftists" might object to being labeled as such, too.
Clowns, of course, are clowns.

Anonymous said...

@Dikkie Dik
(never thought i would be talking to the cat that featured in some stories i read to my kids)
No, I don't think so, but the fierce resistance to islamisation may have made some people take their religion slightly less for granted.
How would you go about criticising the unpleasant aspects of this religion (stoning, beheading, deathsentence for perceived insult, throwing acid in a woman's face, honourkillings and other ways that women are targeted)?

Anonymous said...

No problem, but most people don't regard the label "fascist" as much of a joke. I don't label left wing people as such anyway, I feel too much as one myself apart from our view of islam.

Toby Sterling said...


Raising the bar! You're right, I should probably try to teach myself how to put together multimedia pieces. It's the wave of the future.
I have plans to purchase a video camera so I can take better clips (need to consider how to store them _ film takes up a lot of space).

Toby Sterling said...

Isn't the right to insult a vital part of freedom of speech?

Spelling it out for you, calling SIOE 'fascists' for shorthand was just a j-o-k-e for this personal blog, which is intended to reveal some of my inner dialogue. In the case of the demonstration, I'm trying to give people a flavor of what it was like to be there without discussing the content of what was said _ a "meta" commentary, if you understand what I'm saying.
For my serious professional work you have to look on news websites. I promise you, SIOE wasn't misrepresented on the AP wire.

For further discussion, feel free to contact me by email. Assuming I'm guessing correctly who you are (not the gentleman in the film clip), I did enjoy our chat at the demo.