Regnery Publishing, Inc., (U.S. $27.95; CAN $30.50). 286 pages
Review by Elaine F. Miller
Geert Wilders, member of the Dutch parliament, leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) has written a book. It is titled Marked For Death.It sounds more like the name of a segment of the television program Unsolved Crimes. But, if Mr. Wilders and his 24/7 security have anything to say about it, it is a story will never be broadcast on cable.
Why has a European politician been forced to endure round-the-clock security for over eight years? Mr. Wilders answers the question. He criticized multiculturalism, jihad, the Dutch welfare system and its immigration laws. As a result, he has been forced to surrender his personal freedom while those opposing him walk free. He has received death threats, been labeled an Islamaphobe. He has watched one colleague massacred in the streets of Amsterdam (Theo Van Gogh) and another be forced to emigrate and go into hiding in the United Sates (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). He been tried. Both figuratively and literally. He has been banned.
In 2009, the then British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, ordered that Mr. Wilder be stopped at Heathrow Airport and deported in order to prevent him from the speaking at the House Lords at the invitation of Lord Malcolm Pearson and Baroness Caroline Cox. Her act awakened an outcry. Later that year, Mr. Wilders returned to London and in March, 2010, he spoke at Westminster.
Further, the peer who first objected to Mr. Wilder’s invitation and warned that his presence would “lead to the incitement of religious and racial hatred, which constitutes a public order offense” (p. 194) is currently in the news (too late to be included in Marked For Death). Lord Nazir Ahmed, the first Moslem life peer is under investigation for offering ten million pounds bounty for the capture of President Barack Obama and former President, George W. Bush.
Mr. Wilder’s political party, Party for Freedom (PVV) won 15.5 percent of the vote in the Dutch general election of June, 2010. It then joined in a coalition with two other parties. They have been instrumental in the creation and passage of laws that have changed the Dutch immigration and social welfare system.
Despite the dour recent history of the West’s response to terrorist attacks on its hard-won values of representational democracy, Mr. Wilders is optimistic. He sees changes. He sees women in totalitarian Middle Eastern countries asserting their human rights and rejecting their second class citizen status. He cites the Saudi Arabian women who were arrested for attempting to drive. A small step, some might say. But then, there is the story of the boy with his finger in the dike. (Apparently an American myth, but one that is apropos.)
Marked For Death implies that the terrorism practiced against the West will abate, based, in part on increasing global awareness of jihad; that the Islamist’s mask of innocence has fallen and the presumption of innocence has been overcome. The honeymoon, so to speak, is over.
Mr. Wilders’ book is a moving personal story, a scholarly and thoroughly annotated political treatise. It is written with humor, frustration, passion, outrage, and a sense of injustice. Mr. Wilders’ efforts have come at a great personal toll. The attempts against his life, the efforts to silence him, have likewise chilled those that might support him.
In his Foreword to Marked for Death, Mark Steyn writes that at first, he hesitated to write an essay in support of Mr. Wilders and the book. After all, he asked, “Who needs it?” But then he took a walk in the woods.