Theo van Gogh – Freedom of Speech

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Yesterday, 10 years ago Theo van gogh was brutally murdered in Amsterdam. The Dutch magazine HP/ De tijd published three columns of van Gogh about freedom of speech.

People like van Gogh, Geert Wilders, Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali  alle openly and loudly expressed their disagreement with the islam and fundamentalist radicalism using the scripture to suppress people life’s.

We fought hard for the freedom of speech and the right for freedom of expression.

Every morning I when I cycle to work, I pass along a wall right outside the old Heineken brewery. 12 March 1945 30 resistance fighter were executed right there. The wall now reads in Dutch:

Een volk dat voor tirannen zwicht
zal meer dan lijf en goed verliezen
dan dooft het licht…

which translates to:

A nation that succumbs to tyrants
will lose more than body and property
then the light will be 
extinguished.

800px-Een.volk.dat.voor.tirannen.zwicht

A while ago in 2008, someone modified it to read:

Een volk dat voor korannen zwicht
zal meer dan lijf en goed verliezen
dan dooft het licht…

so it translates to:

A nation that succumbs to korans
will lose more than body and property
then the light will be 
extinguished.

amsterdammonument

I am not anti islam. I am pro freedom of expression and pro freedom of speech. If someone has an opinion about a book, a religion and is not able to express it, gets brutally murdered on a street with a knife in his chest with a note that someone is next – it causes trauma deep inside me. I am also anti violence. Just like 99,9% of all Dutch people.

Amsterdam is build on freedom of religion and expression among others. We will not allow any kind of religious fanatic take that right away from us or the lights will go out again just as in 1940. It will surely not happend again and we will all stand up against it.

Theo van Gogh would have smiled 4 years after his death if he would have seen the above transformation of the sentence put up in the middle of Amsterdam in honor of resistance fighter H.M. van Randwijk, but it gets an ugly meaning in the light of his death and why he died. He died because someone thinks that in Amsterdam you are not allowed to say what you think and openly express your opinion. You are damn wrong. You can think, feel, say whatever you want in this city and this is not going to change any time soon. Go ahead try killing us one after another. We will not let you kill the light. If you do not like it, get the hell out of here and go somewhere where the light is already out. In this city it will shine like the bright sun forever.

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