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Apr 4

Written by: Diana West
Friday, April 04, 2008 10:40 AM 


Klein Verzet, a Dutch blog I like to read, has translated a "secret speech" by  Dutch prime minister Jan Balkenende as it appears in a conservative Dutch weekly called Opinio.

What did he say, according to Opinio? Well, it sounds very much like an April Fool's joke (although I don't  know if the Dutch partake of the holiday), but who knows? UPDATE:  WELL, I STILL DON'T KNOW IF THE DUTCH CELEBRATE APRIL FOOLS, BUT THE SPEECH WAS INDEED A FICTION. SEE END OF POST FOR DETAILS.)

Here goes Klein Verzet's (verbatim, if a little rough) translation of the Opinio report:

“We need to change course”, says the Prime Minister. “Last months we have been held hostage by Geert Wilders. We have maneuvered ourselves in a position from which we could not escape”. And describes how Obahama his Philadelphia speech inspired him. Just like Obahama, he wants to become honest and name problems:

“what’s the big problem? I will say it head on: the big problem is Islam. That’s right, I don’t say: radical Islam or Islamic terrorism or fundamentalism in general. No, I say: the big problem is Islam”

He wants the group and the party’s research center to work on coherent vision on Islam and present the results next month. A lack of vision about Islam made them vulnerable for Geert Wilders. Thus the Prime Minister now rejects the mantra’s of dialog, freedom of religion, the difference between radical Islam and Islam:

“We can not and should no longer say it’s all the same. Bible and Koran, all the same. No it’s not! We should reject that cowardly comparison.”

And demonstrates to the audience the difference between the Koranic and Biblical story of Job. After that the Prime Minister concludes that the Koran is shallow and just demands submission.

Balkenende also describes his political scenario for the coming months. The first scenario is a war plan to attack Geert Wilders, to be executed together with Justice minister Hirsh Ballin. The second scenario is to roll out their new vision. Neither the liberal party nor the socialist can develop a vision on religion he thinks. But:

“We can. We can say there is a big difference between Jesus and Mohammed. Both prophets. But Mohammed was also a general and conqueror. Someone who raised hell in Mekka. Also a person with a love life – if all stories are correct – that’s not very respectable.
You know I don’t like to emphasize differences. I rather look for the common ground. But we constantly looked for common ground in the dialog with Muslims. But tell me: has a Muslims ever asked you about the trinity? Or about the holy spirit? I think it’s very much a one-way street. Why are we so shy? Why do we lack self-confidence?
I tell you: now is the time to demonstrate we are Christians. I say this from the bottom of my hart. It’s needed. It’s more than needed. Why can’t we be proud on Christianity?”

“I say: we need to be proud on Christianity”.

Prime Minister Balkenende denies the speech and has threatened to go to court about it. But rumor has it, that the speech has been recorded.


THE HAGUE, 05/04/08 - Premier Jan Peter Balkenende on Friday lost a lawsuit against weekly Opinio. The magazine printed a fictitious speech on Thursday in which the premier warned against Islam.

Opinio only admitted during Friday's summary injunction that the speech was fake. The court however ruled that it was "clearly fictitious". Therefore, "there is no question of an incorrect or false representation of facts". Opinio does not have to make a correction of the publication, as Balkenende was demanding.

Initially, Opinio had not at all wanted to suggest the speech was fake. Chief editor Jaffe Vink had said on Thursday evening the text was passed on to him by a reliable source. "Now Balkenende is denying that he has written such a speech, but the text that we have in our possession looks extremely convincing." On Friday, the weekly's lawyer however said the satirical nature of the speech was evident.

Balkenende says in the speech: "What is the big problem? I will say it without circumlocution: the big problem is Islam. You listen carefully, I do not say: radical Islam or Islamic terrorism or fundamentalism in general - no, I say: the big problem is Islam."

Opinio claimed Balkenende gave his secret speech Sunday at a select company of 30 prominent Christian democrats (CDA). The Government Information Service (RVD) said the speech could not be true because Balkenende was at home with his family when he gave it according to Opinio.

Balkenende actually constantly warns in public against views that say that Islam is a problem. His CDA has in a year's time changed rather radically from a centre-right party to a centre-left or leftwing course.

Balkenende considered Opinio was guilty of a "great lack of understanding of responsibility and journalistic decency." The state's lawyer stated Opinio was "acting like someone throwing a lit cigarette into a fireworks store".

Gosh. For once, I tend to agree with Balkenende!


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