Western Europe has become a once-unlikely testing case for how to combine politically-motivated court decisions with their quest to ban dissenting speech. Worse yet, the crime with which Le Pen has been charged – “distribution of violent images” – was nothing more than a reality-referencing critique of ISIS. The fact that she has been charged by the French government for, essentially, openly criticizing the most notorious terror organization of our time speaks to the backwards view that France and much of Western Europe has taken in defending Islamic extremism, even when that means prosecuting its own.
The blatant reality that a leader, and notably a female, who would dare speak out against ISIS via social media can face imprisonment for doing so is alarming, no doubt. But unfortunately, the prosecution of Le Pen for posting actual images of ISIS’ heinous forms of murder accompanied by the caption “This is Daesh” is not surprising given the progressive climate of dangerous political correctness that has taken hold in most of Western Europe.
Le Pen is, after all, a critic of the EU and the leaders – including French president Emmanuel Macron – who have willingly carried the torch of EU policies. And, no policy enforced by the all-powerful European Commission has been more destructive or divisive than forced migrant quotas, which have wreaked havoc on nations which have refused to simply say no to the Islamification of their respective cultures. Le Pen dared to say what France’s elected leaders would and will not – “no more” – and now she is being prosecuted for doing so. But she is not the first, and most certainly will not be the last, political opponent who has come under legal scrutiny for stating the obvious: the indiscriminate influx of Islamic migrants has eroded European culture, sovereignty and safety like no force before it.
In June 2011, Dutch politician Geert Wilders was acquitted of charges that he had engaged in hate speech. Wilders, who is commonly referred to as “far-right” – code for “critic of EU policy” – was prosecuted as the result of comments critical of the Netherlands’ kowtowing to EU-mandated migrant quotas. Like Le Pen in France, Wilders and his Freedom Party had seen rising popularity in Dutch Parliament, primarily as the result of his unabashed criticism of the Netherlands’ adoption of EU immigration policy. It was not so much Wilders’ words alone, but his public profile, political clout, and significant following that made him the target of Dutch prosecutors, who can be seen as nothing short of proxies for EU leadership in Brussels.
But, though Wilders was once vindicated for doing nothing more than exercising his essential right to free speech in a critical manner, his followers would learn that the ire of the EU knows no bounds. In 2016, Wilders was again tried – and this time convicted – on charges of discrimination, though he would face no formal sentence. His alleged crime: asking his followers whether they would prefer more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands. They chanted “Fewer!”, and Dutch prosecutors saw this as reason to put him back on trial.
After the ruling was handed down, Wilders responded on social media.
"Three PVV (Freedom Party)-hating judges declare Moroccans a race and convict me and half of the Netherlands. Insane," he Tweeted.
Wilders’ case is most similar to Le Pen’s – two anti-EU politicians with significant followings indicted on trumped-up charges – but we have seen entire nations threatened and/or persecuted for taking dissident stances on immigration. The nations which collectively make up the Visegrad Group – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia – have stood strong in their resistance to EU-sanctioned immigration quotas, despite being verbally threatened with massive fines for doing so.
Such politically-motivated attempts at silencing dissent don’t only involve the issue of immigration, as the case of Catalonian independence has shown. The Spanish government resorted to violent, police-led disruption of the Catalan independence vote, and when that didn’t work, they resorted to imprisoning the leaders who had responded to cries for independence and precipitated a vote that reflected Catalonia’s desire to break away from Spain. Even still, with the weight of the Spanish government alleging that Catalonia was a state led astray by rogue leadership, the Catalonian people pine for the re-election of leader Carles Puigdemont, who had fled to Belgium in light of the highly-publicized arrests of his peers.
These examples show the many ways in which the European Commission and its proxy leaders have attempted to silence its critics in order to continue installing its many agendas, from immigration to the suppression of free speech and expression. Marine Le Pen is only the latest example, but her global profile means that, hopefully – but not likely – this case will get the attention it deserves, shining a light on a disturbing trend of silencing dissent.
Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, is now a “convicted racist”, a term which should send chills down the spine of anybody who understands the implications of such a term. Racism and anti-Semitism are despicable, but should be resigned to the court of public opinion, not the legal courts.
As the cases of Geert Wilders, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and now Marine Le Pen illustrate, the European Commission has made the court of public opinion and the legally-binding courts one in the same through policies regarding hate speech and several other laws which truncate the freedoms that so many have taken for granted in the past as unassailable.
When anybody, especially somebody in the public arena, posts images of ISIS’ crimes, the outrage should be directed solely at ISIS. Instead, Western European nations have shown time and again that they hesitate to condemn the perpetrator of the crime – murder – being cited in those images, instead making the allusion to such heinous acts a crime in and of itself.
It’s a highly concerning, consistent trend that has much to do with the fact that such images constitute a statement which falls on the opposite political spectrum of those doing the prosecuting. And, if the case of Marine Le Pen doesn’t spark a major shift in what is inarguably political overreach justified by unjust laws, EU-aligned Europe can be considered past the point of civil liberty.