Friday 30 October 2009

The go-go Militia

An old colleague sent me this link to a 360 degree view of the recent 60th Anniversary parade in Peking.  Takes a while to load, but it’s worth it.  How did they do that?
Reminded me to post the vid of the Women’s Militia: marching in pink mini-skirts, white leather go-go boots and AK47s slung to the bosoms….
A few years back, the Mayor of Dalian in Shenyang province decreed that the traffic cop-ettes should all be comely, 5’8”, and clad in leather mini-skirts with leather thigh-high boots.  Oh, lovely un-PC China!

Wednesday 28 October 2009

The Road to Krak

Seems Syria is well worth visiting.  Not only for Palmyra, below, but also for the World Heritage site of the Crusader castle, The Krak des Chevaliers (French for "Fortress of Knights"; Arabic: Qala'at Al-Hosn) near Homs in Syria.  Paul Theroux described it as the dream castle of childhood fantasies.   T.E. Lawrence called it "the finest castle in the world", “perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world”.  And one gets to study the Crusades to boot!  Apparently it has some of the best preserved Crusader art in the world.

The Road to Palmyra

Palmyra's Temple of Bel, SCMP, 28 Oct
On our recent boat trip in the Cyclades, some fellow yachties joined us for drinks.  They were from Syria and our ever-curious boat-mates asked them about tourism there.  They said there were plenty of interesting spots to visit in Syria, mentioning Palmyra as one: "the desert oasis where caravans met in ancient times bringing silk from the mainland and spices from India to Europe."
We had just had a mention of Palmyra, when in our rubber dinghy, ladies worried about it's turning turtle and I assured them that it could not: that had been established in the murder case of Mac and Muff Graham on the pacific island of Palmyra in 1974, a story excitingly told in "And the Sea Will Tell", by Vince Bugliosi (who also prosecuted the Manson family and wrote about it in "Helter Skelter").  Part of the defense relied on the claim that a rubber dinghy had turned over in the lagoon, drowning Mac and Muff.  Bugliosi and the prosecution proved that it would not.  Prosecution was secured.
A short time after assuring our crew-mates of the stability of the dinghy, I proved it wouldn't tip over, but that it was still be possible to fall out of it, as I did when removing the engine, falling into the water and destroying iPhone no. 5....
Then today in the South China Morning Post, as feature about Damascus and Palmyra, whence the quote above and the news that
"Pottering amongst the ruins is American film director Francis Ford Coppola, enchanted by the story of Zenobia, the third century Palmyran queen of legendary beauty, bravery and intelligence.*   Coppola insists  he is in holiday, not scouting for locations.  But it is hard to find a more dramatic setting:  Palmyra boast nine-metre Corinthian stone pillars, multi-sotry funerary towers, sensational sunrises....".  Article in pdf here . (Link to the post here , but needs login)
This proves yet again my old auntie's observation: that you don't hear about something, then all of a sudden you hear about it all over the shop.  I hadn't thought, or spoken of Palmyra since reading Bugliosi's book twenty years ago, then three times in a week.  Our auntie was also right about something else: speaking in the sixties, she said "the climate is changing".  We kids used to say "auntie, the weather's changing maybe, but the climate doesn't change".  How wrong we were.  It's always changing, it turns out, but if warmer or colder, if man-made or not, that's the question.  There, I've said it.

*Note to Mr Coppola: Catherine Zeta-Jones for Queen Zenobia...

Rifqa Bary: on Apostasy and the pusillanimous censors at Loonwatch

Comment on my post below from Eastview (27 Oct):

Meeker, excellent comment you attempted to post over at LoonWatch. Their not publishing it is fully in keeping with what appears to be their policy of censorship of intelligent and rationally argued dissenting opinions. Most of the comments on LoonWatch stories are of the cheerleading kind, almost certainly from fellow Muslims. What dissenting views they do post seem to be ones that are selected according to whether they satisfy a "see how idiotic these guys are?" criterion. Your original response certainly did not fit into that category, and I think they now regret posting it, not fully realizing what they had done. Obviously they are now taking steps to limit the effects of this camel nose so rudely appearing under the tent.
LoonWatch engages in censored advocacy "journalism" and provide an example of what the Fourth Estate would become if these guys are ever allowed to have their way with the First Amendment.
My answer:
Thanks for your comment Eastview. Yes, they do engage in censorship by "having the last word". The did the same in the case of the debate on apostasy between Spencer and prof Bassiouni , in which they posted only the prof's final comments, and not the later response by Spencer, which any fair-minded reader would conclude won the argument...

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Merda taurorum animas conturbit (*)

Some correspondence at Loonwatch ended with them not posting a reply of mine to a very long article (twenty pages printed out, 10,000 plus words) of a blogger by the name of Danios on the Fathima Rifqa Bary apostasy case.  

The original article is here.  Virtually all the comments were in praise of Danios’ take on the issue, which in essence is that Ms Bary (a Muslim convert to Christianity) should be returned to her pious Muslim parents for there is no danger of her being killed for apostasy, since there is no case for that punishment under Islam, at least on the reading of “reform-minded Muslims”.  My first post was published October 23rd 12:16pm: it’s towards the bottom of the link above.  Danios commented on my post, and I in turn addressed his points in the post below, which Danios did not publish:

My response to Danios’ comments, NOT published:
Thanks for your reply and advice.  I thought I had read your article carefully, but you’re right, I did miss the bit about the 1958 fatwa of al-Azhar university opposing the death penalty for apostates.  So I printed out your article (20 pages!) and had a more thorough look at it.  The link to the fatwa you mentioned doesn’t go to that reference, so I found it separately.  (BTW, one could argue that a 1958 fatwa is abrogated by a 1991 certification of the “Reliance of the Traveller” [the Classic Manual of Islamic jurisprudence, which is certified by al-Azhar university] in which death for apostasy is mandated, but let’s not worry about that).  The reference I found was this:
“To Shaykh Tantawi [Grand Imam of al-Azhar], a Muslim who renounced his faith or turned apostate should be left alone as long as he does not pose a threat or belittle Islam” [my emphasis].
The first bit of the qualification “as long as he does not pose a threat…” goes to the point you made repeatedly, that the call for death to apostates in the Hadith needs to be “contextualized” to include sedition/treason (that is also an arguable proposition, but let’s not worry about that either, for now).  But what about that bit I bolded “belittle Islam”?  There’s a loophole one could drive a truck through.  Let’s say you leave Islam and state that you have done so because you found it misogynist or homophobic or…whatever,  that could land you in pretty deep water, I would have thought.  And there's always going to be a reason one left Islam, which if expressed would amount to "belittling", at least in the minds of many Muslims.  [*]

And therein lies the problem with the thesis you have set out above [linked article]: loopholes galore, for “loonies” and for dhimmis alike.  It may be that there are “reform-minded Muslims” who “contextualize” the Koran and reliable hadith to eliminate capital punishment for apostasy.  But equally there are many – indeed many more – on the conservative side of this question who do not “contextualize” death for apostasy and who support it robustly.  That’s not me saying that:  that’s the many Muslim scholars respected in Islam who say that.  To name just a few:  Sayyid Baul Ala Maudidi, Afzal ur-Rahman, Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi,  Al-Razi.   These are all respected, mainstream, credible, Islamic voices who say apostasy is punishable by death.  So when you say “Islamophobes insist that apostates must be killed” [emphasis in the original] are you saying these worthy Islamic scholars are “Islamophobic”?

All that’s “theory”.  Then there’s reality.  Today the following countries have the death penalty for apostasy: Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Mauritania.  Iran joined this list as recently as 2008.  That’s eight countries with a population of over 200 million where people can be killed for changing their belief; killed, in short, for thinking freely.

If you were Ms Bary, would you feel sure that your parents, their co-religionists and their Mosque had “contextualized” the teachings on apostasy such that you were in no danger?  Would you be sure when you knew that other young girls had been killed by their families, in the US and in Europe?  No, you could not be sure.  Neither can professor Valerie Hoffman, nor can professor Sherman Jackson, nor can professor Brett Wilson, nor can reporter Michael Kruse.  The best that Kruse can say in his article is that Bary’s parents “don’t have to” kill her [sic], or that we can’t know “absolutely” that she will be killed [sic].  Is that really good enough??  That we don’t know for sure that she’ll be killed for her beliefs, therefore she can go back home?  (and aren't those shockingly irresponsible statements by Kruse?)

On the question of “The Reliance of the Traveller” vs. the “Summa Theologica”, with respect, the comparison is not valid.  The provisions on apostasy are routinely referred to by Muslims in all countries of the world, today.    No Christian, today, in any country, refers to the “Summa Theologica” to justify death for apostasy.  In Judeo-Christian discourse, death for apostasy is just not on the agenda and hasn’t been for centuries.  In Islam death for apostasy is very much an alive issue.  Even your own article recognizes this, in the quote from Sherman Jackson: the issue of apostasy is “the heart of a burning debate among modern Muslims” [emphasis in the original].  Why the “burning issue”, Danios, if you have had “…the Final Word on Islam and Apostasy” [the part-title of Danios' essay]?

If there are many “reform-minded Muslims” who want to do away with a barbaric penalty for thinking for oneself, that’s encouraging.  But they do have a rather long row to hoe, the ground is hard and the hoe blade is bent.  To mix the metaphor, they are playing from a rather poor hand (not their fault!).  After all, if one has to spend so much time “contextualizing” , then one’s job is rather tough.  Those  “ultra-conservatives” and other “classical scholars”, by contrast, need only refer to the words of the “Traveller” or reliable hadith, plain and simple.
Still,  I do wish them well these “reform-minded Muslims”.  They may have a long row to hoe, so they will really have to bend to their work and I wish them luck in that endeavour.  We, the world, needs it.

[*] Postscript (not in the post):
Re Tantawi and the 1958 fatwa allegedly opposing the death penalty for apostasy: “Sayyid Tantawi, Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Cairo since 17 March 1996, is seen as the highest spiritual authority by  most Sunnis worldwide…. his statements are often contradictory and vacillating on issues ranging from female genital mutilation and the wearing of the hijab (the Islamic headscarf for women) to jihad and suicide bombings.”  Tantawi is shown to say sharply different things to Muslim and to non-Muslim audiences.  (Global Jihad, by Patrick Sookhdeo, p 206 et seq, chapter on Taqiyya.).  So the obvious question is: can we trust even that very conditional “opposition” to the death penalty quoted above, which was in a website aimed at non-Muslim audiences?

Danios answers my query on why the above not published; October 27th 3:01 am

Because it was too long and I do not have time to respond to huge posts by people who refuse to read my article in the first place. Keep your post short, raise only one point instead of a series of points, and most importantly please make sure that I haven’t already dealt with your point in my article.
In your last post, there were once again points I had already addressed but which you seem to have missed. I do not have the time to repeat myself, as that will only hamper my ability to post new articles aimed at Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, and Pam Geller.
As I have said in other threads on this site, I have a more rigid policy of moderation than other mods here. The Jihad Watch type crew has a lot of foot-soldiers who can force me to waste my time responding to them, but I don’t care to do that. I want to debate Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, and Pam Geller directly. So if any of them post rebuttals to my articles, then I will reply in great detail. Quite frankly, I don’t have the time to waste on you.

Couple of points:
(i)  Danios could have just published my post without comment and let the readers decide if what I had to say was too long, too tedious, missed the point, or was simply a tendentious farrago of falsehoods.
(ii)   I don’t see where there are “points I [Danios] had already addressed but which you seem to have missed”.  It would clearly be trespassing on readers’ patience to ask for these to be pointed out to me, but if there are any that jump out at one, I’d be happy to see them…
(iii)  On the site Loonwatch loves to hate,, they allow comments to be published immediately and without editing.  They are only removed if they are against the terms of the site, eg abusive or racist.  Even then, that happens rarely. There are therefore often commentors on the site who argue against Spencer  I wonder why the folks at loonwatch don’t do that; what do they fear?
(iv)  A kind of BTW: my post above is 820 words; Danios original is 10,720.  OK, so Danios is one of the “motley group of hate-allergic bloggers” who run the site, but still, not to give a respondent 8% of the space to answer?  It’s unlimited space Danios, let the readers decide what they read!
(v)  There are many other errors in the Danios piece, including the false equivalence between the Bible (Deuteronomy) and the Koran -- the old "cherry picking" argument -- and the downplaying of the importance of the Hadith either out of ignorance or disingenuousness.
(vi)  Good luck with your Islamophobe-hunting, Loonwatch!  I am proud of a would-be pejorative when it’s flung by the likes of a site that is scared of publishing opposing views!

Loquendi Libertatum Custodiamus! [let's guard free speech]

(*) Merda taurorum animas conturbit: Bullshit baffles brains

The Nine of Diamonds

Guardian Photo

If you have a spare 95 minutes [sic!], the video below makes interesting viewing. The 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley aka Christopher Monckton gave a speech at St Paul Minnesota (where he was introduced as the “viz-count” Monckton...)
Monckton tears into the paranoia about global warming.  The Guardian calls him their “very favourite climate change sceptic” and if the Grauniad are against him, then ipso facto I’m for him, for they are very unsound on the Islamic threat issue….  Monbiot at the Guardian has a "Royal Flush" of climate change deniers (actually, it's a straight, neither royal, nor a flush, so that rather busts Monbiot, wot?), and Monckton's the Nine of Diamonds, and rather cutely nicknamed Viscount Monckhausen by "some environmentalists".  Yuck, yuck, those environmentalists, they crack me up!

Thursday 22 October 2009

The deplorable cormorant

Richard Dawkins “…remembers that his grandparents had an old book about birds in which the entry on the cormorant began: ‘There is nothing to be said for this deplorable bird.’”

No such biological bigotry from Richard Dawkins, author of just-released “The Greatest Show on Earth”.  For 13 years Professor Dawkins was the Charles Simonyi professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford University, a position created for him.  He left the post last year when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 67.  He is curiosity personified, interested in
“…giant butterflies and tiny moths, worms disguised as snakes, why goats are related to whales and whether beetles have two sets of wings…”. (ref).
Yesterday I heard a program on BBC Radio international in which a creationist teacher takes kids around the Museum of Natural History in New York and explains to them that “it’s not really a museum but a church”, because it expresses nothing but a faith, not science; and because it solicits donations, just like a church.  This creationist –  a slick songster it must be said, but with rather less scepticism than the dog above –  tells the kids repeatedly that “there is no proof of evolution”, since there have been no repeatable experiments to prove it.  Quite wrong, as you learn if you read “The Greatest Show”.  There are at least two that I recall: one with guppy populations in Trinidad by Dr John Endler (p 133 et seq) and one with bacteria, by bacteriologist Richard Lenksi 117 et seq).  
Another interesting fact from the “The Greatest Show”: that fossils are only an extra bit of cream on top of all the other evidence for evolution.  There is plenty of evidence for evolution even without any fossils.  But the creationists emote and obsess over the “gaps”, so-called, in the fossil record.  As Dawkins points out, there’s always a “gap” – if you have two fossils separated in evolutionary time, there’s a gap between the two; if you then find an intermediary fossil between the two, you now have two “gaps” between these three, and if you fill those, you now have four “gaps” between these five fossils, and so on.
I took Dawkins’ “Show” on holiday, having promised my wife I’d read something not related to my favourite subject (begins with “I” and ends with “slam”).  But I was no further in than page 5 when I read:
“When [science teachers] attempt to expound the central and guiding principle of biology…t they are harried and stymied, hassled and bullied, even threatened with loss of their jobs.  At the very least, their time is wasted at every turn.  They are likely to receive menacing letters from parents, and have to endure the sarcastic smirks and close –folded arms of brainwashed children…. Once, we were tempted to laugh this kind of thing off as a peculiarly American phenomenon.  Teachers in Britain and Europe now face the same problems, partly because of American influence, but more significantly because of the growing Islamic presence in the classroom – abetted by the official commitment to ‘multiculturalism’ and the terror of being thought racist” 
Yikes!  Can’t escape the big “I”.   Can it be that the good professor, FRS, FRSL, ethnologist, zoologist, neo-Darwinian evolutionary biologist and theorist, is a horrid bigot and “Islamophobe”?

"An(other) inconvenient truth"

History News Network carries a story  reporting on a recent "National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America" which includes a breakdown of terrorist organisations worldwide.
The U.S. State Department has a list of 45 “Foreign Terrorist Organizations.” Of those, 25 are Islamic-based organizations; 11 are secular nationalist; 7 are Marxist or Maoist; and only two are religious-based but not Muslim: the Jewish extremist Kahane Chai, and the pseudo-Shinto Aum Shinrikyo of Japan.
Now this is curious.  My own quick and dirty estimate of terrorist organisations comes up with 138 of which 112 are still active.  Of these 79% are Islamic.  Of those that are purely religiously-based only (ie not including Nationalist, Communist, Anarchist, Tamil or Other), Islamic terrorist organisations are 89 out of 90, or 99%.  That is, of those terrorist organisations around the world which are religiously-based, all but one is Islamic.  (if we add in the "extremist Kahane Chai" mentioned above that's 89/91 or 98%).

Sure, my estimates are just based on on-line sources, with none of the resources available to the Director of National Intelligence, but still...  I get 67 more terrorist organisations than the US State Department.  What's going on??

You can see my figures here .  (I did this around August this year, on an arvo with nothing else to do...)

Wednesday 21 October 2009

"Balancing security with compassion"

Says the editor of the The Australian on 18th October in its editorial "Balancing security with compassion"
We have a proud tradition of welcoming refugees who have in turn strengthened the civic and economic fabric of the nation. Tens of thousands fled here from the Great Irish Famine in the late 1840s, including thousands of orphans. The 35,000 Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution who arrived from the 1930s onwards, and their children, have made vast contributions to Australian business and intellectual life. So have many others, including more than 100,000 Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians who arrived in the 1970s and 80s
Indeed (though what of the Chinese who were 20% of arrivals to 2002?  Oh well, let’s not quibble, the judgment’s about right, overall).   As the Australian government says:
Since 1945, around 6.9 million people have come to Australia as new settlers. Their contribution to Australian society, culture and prosperity has been an important factor in shaping our nation.
Sure.  But what’s the catch here?  The catch is the belief that the past will be replicated in the future.  There’s a trust -- or perhaps it's a desperate hope -- that it will.  But will it? 
In Europe and the UK, the large number of Muslim immigrants in recent years has got to the stage where it’s past the euphemism of a “challenge” and is openly talked of as a “problem”.  Rather than assimilating or even just integrating into society, they have been dis-assimilating in recent years (Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Christopher Caldwell, Doubleday, 2009, p 133).  Rather than marrying more into the local population, Muslim populations in Europe are increasingly marrying in their home countries.  For example, the Turkish population in Germany has been there for 50 years, yet fully 90% of Germans of Turkish descent marry back in Turkey (ibid p 225).  This is a mark of a group that has no intent to become part of its host country.  This trend is accompanied by an increase in the Islamic piety of succeeding generations, and hence of hewing to classic Islam, promoting Sharia law and pressing for the spread of Islam throughout the world.  All these trends are inimical to the values of the west.  They are inimical to tolerance, free speech, equal rights for women, minorities, gays, and we “infidelds”.
What is happening in Australia in recent years has been a massive increase in the proportion of Muslim arrivals.  Monash figures: 12% from 2000 to 2002.  Immigration department figures: 12.5% for the same period then… 80% from Iraq and 92% of all arrivals were Muslims from June ’08 to June ’09.  That’s right: 92% of our immigrants in the year to June were Muslims.   This is happening without even a word, not a word, let alone a discussion, in the Aussie media.
So, I wrote a letter to The Australian, in response to their editorialBalancing security with compassion”.  No chance they’ll carry it, as it’s too politically incorrect.  I wonder when we will wake up and admit we’re making a problem, not just a “challenge”, for ourselves and our kids:
Why should we be non-discriminatory in our immigration policy?  (“Balancing security with compassion”, 17-18/10)  Surely we don’t allow immigration by those hewing to racist, intolerant or supremacist ideologies. Would we allow into Australia members of neo-Nazi parties, the Ku Klux clan or the White Aryan Resistance?  
Why then do we allow unchecked immigration for those hewing to the Islamic ideology?   In the UK and Europe, majorities or large minorities of Muslims, in poll after poll, express support for the supremacy of Islam over the west and for the implementation of Sharia law with its draconian punishments of women, homosexuals and social drinkers.   (Not to mention preferential killing of  we “infidels”) What is there to suggest Muslim attitudes in Australia would be any different, apart from wishful thinking and a misguided sense of our “compassion”?  Our children will not thank us, when Sharia becomes law of the land.

Australian press considers issue of Islamic immigration

Monash University:  People and Place, Katherine Betts, MUP, 2002
Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  Key Facts in immigration.

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Loquendi Libertatum Custodiamus: why is Geert Wilders the one demonised?

There are heaps of things I don’t get.  Here’s one: why does the person reporting violence cop the heat, while those doing the violence get away scot free?
This is the case of Geert Wilders vs. a group of ranting murder-enticers, a few days ago in London.
If you’ve even heard of Wilders you may have been told that he’s a “dangerous extremist”, with “inflammatory anti-Islamic views” (Newsweek), or a “far right MP” (Guardian) or an “Islamophobe” (BBC), or “offensively anti-Islamic” (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General).  In short, he sounds like a pretty rum sort of fish. 
Wilders is a Dutch MP, leader of the Freedom Party, which he says stands for freedom (the clue is in the name).   He is in the UK now, after having been denied entry to the UK earlier in the year because the government feared that his views could lead to violence.  This time he has been let in, but the authorities say they will “monitor his activities closely” in case they stir up violence.
Wilders’ primary focus is on the Islamification of Europe, which he says is eroding freedoms he cares about; eroding freedoms, that is, for non-Muslims and Muslims alike.  Islamification, he says endangers women, homosexuals and non-believers. 
A few of his speeches are here and here, and here.   
He also made short film, “Fitna” about the link between Islam and violence, which has been all over the Internet, and you can see a review here.   Wilders says he did not make the film; it was made by the Islamists he shows in the film, for they are the ones mandating violence by reference to Islamic texts, not he.
Now, here’s the thing: all of what he states as fact can be checked; every fact I have checked is has proved to be correct. He says he is not a racist or xenophobe; nothing I read in his speeches suggests he is.
Meantime, there is that group of ranting murder enticers.  They are at the video below.  They call for the murder of Wilders -- they want his coiffed head on a stick.  Not, note, for any violence Wilders has called for, but for his "insult to Islam".  Is this not breathtaking?  Surely incitement to murder is a crime, is it not?  But aren't they just a bunch of nutters?  No: as the holocaust survivor said when asked what she thought the lesson from the holocaust was: “when they say they’re going to kill you, you’d better believe it”.  These guys really do want to bring into the UK the Sharia law which would mandate capital punishment for the “sin” of blasphemy, or for “insulting” Muhammad.
So here is what I don’t get.  The authorities – and the mainstream media, it would seem -- are more worried about the views of Wilders than they are about the truly horrid, open, brazen calls for a man’s murder, for his peacefully expressed views.  To the authorities and the MSM, Wilders is the one who is “extreme” and needs to be “monitored”, not the would-be murderers.  How can this be?  What’s going on in the body politic that open, nasty, murderous threats are ignored and the open, factual, non-violent talks by Wilders are vilified and “monitored”?  (BTW: is it too obvious to note that the murderous mob proves Wilders' thesis about the violence inherent in Islam?).
BBC carried a video report of Wilders’ visit and his press conference and their video is here.  The Beebs cut both Wilders’ comments and those of the murderous group.  None of the direct threats of murder appear in the BBC video, though they are in the one I post below.   BBC ends with an interview of Ed Husein, who is a favourite “moderate” Muslim of the government’s as he can be counted on to say the comforting words they want to hear.  In this case, says Ed, it’s just a case of some fringe extremists on either side, neither of which represents many people.  It’s OK then, we can go back to sleep. But Wilders won over 21% of the Dutch electorate, hardly a "fringe" vote and if there were an election now, he would be Prime Minister of Holland; many more people in Europe  support his views – see for example “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe” by Christopher Caldwell.  And the murderous loons also represent many more than dear Ed would have us believe, for in the UK, some 51% of Muslims are in favour of Sharia law for the UK, and 30% support or condone terrorism.

For a non-MSM view of Wilders, see Man of the Year: Geert Wilders.  A snippet:
The truth is that Wilders is a liberal in a uniquely European sense. What he champions are quintessentially Western values: separation of church and state; equality of the sexes; free expression; the right to provoke and even, yes, to offend.

Loquendi Libertatum Custodiamus: "Let us guard free speech"

Geert Wilders press conference:

The lynch mob: