Now Geert Wilders’ propaganda exercise Fitna has been put on the internet, you have to wonder what all the fuss was about.
Some 16 minutes of often poor-quality archive footage (some of it rather gruesome but none of it new) cut together with Dutch newspaper headlines, some quotes from the Koran and a bit of Grieg and Tchaikovsky as background music.
Anybody with a simple editing programme could do the same. It certainly can’t have taken months to produce.
Nevertheless, Wilders has had plenty of time to hype it up. Meanwhile the film’s message is clear: fundamentalists do and say terrible things.
But if Wilders actually wanted to convince people – and Muslims in particular – that the Koran is a fascist book and Islam wants to take over the world, then he has failed. Hitting people repeatedly over the head with the same message is brainwashing, not argument, and ultimately gets you nowhere.
The mood in the Netherlands now is one of relief. Fitna was not as bad as it could have been – there was no Koran being torn up – a rumour which Wilders was happy not to dispel during the great PR run-up.
Perhaps the most controversial thing about the film is the use of the Danish cartoon featuring Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. The artist is furious. If reactions to Fitna remain on that level, we can all sleep easy.
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