I used to think of the Netherlands as a land of tulips, windmills, Anne Frank, and a little boy with his finger in the dike. Increasingly, I think of it as the place where Theo van Gogh was murdered in broad daylight, Aayan Hirsi Ali was betrayed, and free speech is on trial.
Pretty much all you need to know about the prosecution of the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders was summed up in a single (if run-on) sentence attributed to the "Openbaar Ministerie," which is not, as the name might suggest, a place that serves free whiskey to pastors. It is the prosecution service of the Dutch Ministry of Justice.
In response to Wilders's request to bring in witnesses to establish the veracity of the opinions that got him in trouble with the law, that body issued this statement on January 17: "It is irrelevant whether Wilders's witnesses might prove Wilders's observations to be correct, what's relevant is that his observations are illegal."
In other words, the prosecutors believe that the truth is not a defense in the Netherlands, nor perhaps elsewhere in Europe — a continent that appears no longer to have the will to defend its values, culture, and civilization. Very sad.