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No taboo on anti-Wilders poster

13 July 2008 - The VVD has accepted to display an anti-Wilders poster and an image of Anne Frank wearing a keffiyeh in its 'Freethinkers' Room'. Geert Wilders' own PVV only wants to display anti-Islam art.

After the arrest of cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot, VVD and PVV decided to open an exhibition of opinion makers who are curtailed as a result of the current government's lax defence of the freedom of expression. The exhibition is located in the parliament building.

In a response, Tofik Dibi (GroenLinks) said that the VVD and the PVV only defend free speech when it is 'critical of Islam or Islamophobic'. He challenged the parties to display an anti-Wilders poster Dibi was arrested for in Amsterdam earlier this year, as well as a banned postcard of Anne Frank wearing a keffiyeh.

Fleur Agema (PVV) told newspaper de Pers that this was out of the question: "this exhibition contains art that has been removed at the urging of Muslims. That's the theme of the exhibition, and Dibi's poster does not fit in. But I'm not speaking on behalf of the VVD. They have also put a Quran in their room - which for us is of course unthinkable. So maybe the VVD has a different opinion".

Indeed, the VVD said that it would be happy to display Dibi's material. Dibi thought they were bluffing, but calling their bluff proved a bit complicated, for it was difficult to get hold of the material and subsequently Dibi departed on a trip to Morocco.

After a week of hassle - reported on a daily basis by de Pers - Dibi's colleague Naïma Azough presented the material to the VVD last Friday.

In January, a few members of the International Socialists were arrested in Amsterdam because they were carrying signs saying 'Wilders Extremist'. To make a statement for free speech, Dibi joined them in a follow-up protest, and was arrested as well. The activists were not prosecuted.

In the same month, the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) accused the Boomerang company of 'tasteless falsification of history' for distributing postcards with an image of Anne Frank wearing a keffiyeh. Boomerang responded that the artist was not making any historic claims but expressed an idealistic view of the future.

However, Boomerang did stop distributing the card. The card has been designed by the anonymous artist 'T', also said to be responsible for stencils of the same image on walls in Amsterdam.

De Pers. Image: Radical Anne, photo by Shira Golding. See also discussion (in Dutch)


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