A new book by Geert Wilders aimed at the American market is not due to be officially launched until May 1, but details gleaned from advance and review copies are already doing the rounds.
The book is entitled Marked for Death, Islam’s war against the West and me and according to Wilders’ own website ‘tells the story of Geert Wilders’ fight for the right to speak what he believes: namely that Islam is not just a religion but primarily a dangerous ideology which is a threat to Western freedoms.’
The book will be officially presented at an as-yet secret location in the US, and is regarded by some as Wilders’ calling card to America. The Dutch MP has made no secret of his international ambitions and is keen to launch an International Freedom Alliance, he said last year.
Freke Vuijst states in magazine Vrij Nederland that for a book with ‘me’ in the title, there is little about Wilders himself.
‘And that is a pity,’ Vuijst writes: ‘As a reader, no matter what you think about Wilders, you want to know how he feels after almost eight years living under the threat of a violent death. How do you cope with the fear and with the loss of privacy?’
Only once does Wilders show any emotion in the book, when he writes about how he cried when his father died, Vuijst states. Because of the security risk, he could not stay at the family home and had to return to his hide-out. ‘I had to cry and cry,’ Wilders wrote. ‘The bodyguards were uncomfortable and embarrassed.’
Magazine HP/De Tijd looks at one incident in the book in which Wilders writes how he was robbed by ‘three Arab youths’ in the Utrecht district of Kanaleneiland – an area of poor housing and high unemployment.
In fact, the robbery took place in a more upmarket part of town several kilometres away the magazine says, citing references to the incident in a biography of Wilders published several years ago.
Index and sources
Tom Kleijn, Washington correspondent for television show Nieuwsuur says the book is a dry, almost academic account of ‘how Wilders has become what he is’. The book even contains an index and sources, he points out.
‘Wilders has a small, rich and fanatical group of followers in America,’ Kleijn said. But it remains to be seen if this book will boost Wilders’ popularity, he went on.
Current Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is not mentioned once, but Wilders states five times that he and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Dutch-Somali Islam critic who now works for a US think-tank, are off the same opinion, Kleijn points out.
Criticism of Obama
Nos correspondent Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal describes how Wilders emphasises his admiration for former US president Ronald Reagan and states current president Barack Obama is a dhimmi – a submissive non-Muslim in a Muslim state.
But none of this is new, Bosch van Rosenthal says. And the White House is unlikely to be upset, although this attitude is also connected to the Netherlands’ loss of status in recent years.
He also notes how Wilders tells the story of arriving in Turkey after a visit to Iran in 1994. At last he is in a civilised country, Wilders says, and kisses the ground.
It is perhaps an unfortunate statement given Wilders’ current antagonism towards Turkey. In addition, this week’s visit to the Netherlands by the Turkish president led to the collapse of the Zeeland provincial coalition – the only local authority alliance involving the PVV.