Geert Wilders sends a strong message. It is a message about the nature of Islam and the effect of Islamic immigration on Europe. Surely we, who live in a free society, have the right to hear his message without fear of violence.


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Has freedom of speech been compromised in Australia?

I went to hear Geert Wilders speak tonight.  I already knew what he was going to talk about.   I didn't go for the information. 

I had already seen him on the telly when he was "interviewed" by Tony Jones.  I didn't go in order to see him.

Had I thought about it consciously, I might have decided I didn't need to travel to Somerton and risk a confrontation with nasty protestors who might disturb my peace of mind with their violent rhetoric. But I didn't think about it.  I just went.

Now that it is over and the unanticipated confrontation is over, I realise why it was important for me to go to hear Geert Wilders speak.  It was important because I live in a free and democratic country, where people are permitted to have opinions and express their ideas.  This is a country where people are allowed to disagree with each other and talk about difficult issues openly and without fear.

I went because I wanted to be comforted that my faith in Australia as a free and open democracy is justified and that the rule of law prevails, that freedom of speech has not been compromised by entities who don't believe in it.

I also went because I wanted to say to those who threaten our civil rights that they will not succeed.  On the other hand, they did make it bloody difficult for everyone, in particular the organisers who had a nightmare job trying to book a venue...and because of the amount of security needed to keep Wilders safe and  the huge police presence required to ensure that we, the peaceful audience, could enter the hall and listen to the speakers without incident.

Geert Wilders sends a strong message.  It is a message about the nature of Islam and the effect of Islamic immigration on Europe.  It is not a comfortable message and one doesn't have to agree with Wilders or listen to what he says. That is the free choice people make in much the same way that people make the choice to listen, to hear and to evaluate for themselves the importance of the message he brings.  And that is a choice Australians need to protect fiercely...because without it we really are not free anymore; which goes to validate and support the very argument that Wilders is making.

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