MPs from across the political spectrum have urged justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin to explain the arrest of a cartoonist on discrimination charges. The cartoonist, who operates under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of publishing work which discriminates against Muslims and ‘people with dark skins’. The arrest follows a complaint made against Nekschot in 2005.
Nekschot, an established cartoonist whose work features in magazine HP/De Tijd amongst others, was released after spending Tuesday night in custody. His house was searched and a quantity of work taken away.
In a statement, the public prosecution department said cartoonists are by nature satirical and often insulting to others. However, Nekschot’s work broke the boundaries of freedom of expression and artistic licence, the department said.
We are raising this affair at the highest level,’ Labour MP Ton Heerts told news agency ANP. ‘Taking legal action against a cartoonist goes too far.‘
While I myself might find some of his pictures to be offensive, it in no way justifies the authorities to be dragging him into jail, and acting as society’s “morality police”. Their actions are more offensive than any picture Gregorius Nekschot could ever draw. It also happens to be that the “offending” cartoonist, who works under the alias of “Gregorius Nekschot”, was a cohort of the slain Dutch film maker, Theo Van Gogh.
Theo was murdered by an Islamist thug, and now a cartoonist for whom he published his cartoons on his website, is hauled into the dock for “offensive speech”. Looks like Anna S. was right:
After the murder of Theo van Gogh and during the Danish cartoon crisis, freedom of speech was still generally defended, and the murder as well as murderous threats were condemned – but now it was done with a certain reservation, in a “yes, but”-mode: yes, we do have the freedom of speech, but you should not use it to offend someone’s faith; yes we do condemn the murder (or threats), but he (they) did everything to provoke the murderers. In Scandinavia and especially in the left leaning academic environments, there was a strongly articulated assumption that van Gogh “got what he begged for”. But at the same time, people still remembered to add that murder, in any case, is wrong.
In contrast, the Fitna controversy proved that we now have reached a stage in which the defense of free speech and the condemnation of death threats and other threats of violence is no longer forthcoming when offended Muslim feelings are at stake, not even with a “but” added to it. The overwhelming majority of politicians, media and other representatives of the elites in the West and the world just condemned Wilders and his film, with no reference whatsoever to death threats, threats of violence or the hate speech by the Muslim preachers depicted in the film.
Wilders alone was the villain now, and Muslims the victims of unjustified and intentionally evil hate speech. Ironically, there was an awareness of the threats and potential of violence involved, but somehow, the makers of those threats have been, by now, released from all responsibility for their words and deeds. The only thing about them that still matters is their offended feelings.
H/T Baron Bodissey
NOTE: here is a video of an interview of the cartoonist in Dutch.