Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Theo Van Gogh commemorative vigil

PLEASE NOTE - THIS IS STILL SUBJECT TO APPROVAL BY THE LONDON POLICE SO WATCH THIS SITE FOR UPDATES! Until it is confirmed please do not assume it will happen in London

On the 2nd November there will be a gathering at the Dutch embassies and consulates in remembrance of the Dutch filmmaker and journalist Theo Van Gogh, who was murdered by an Islamist.

At 19:00 (CET) (18.00 London time) a ceremony will be held at the appointed places, and people who advocate democracy and free speech are urged to attend. Speeches are welcome, torches and/or candles (feel free to bring your own lanterns) will be brought to the location together with collections of flowers, and whatever people wish to show personal affection. This is a day of great grief, for a man who fought for what we all take for granted…

On a Tuesday in November he was bicycling by a park in the middle of Amsterdam, Holland. He was not just any man; he was a provocateur, a film director and a profound promoter of free speech. Nothing was too sacred for this man to put on trial, or to question. Not even Islam…

But the world as we know it today doesn’t care for the safety of the open minded and free. The tragedy that followed on that Tuesday in November was a gruesome reminder of this fact. Shot down in broad daylight and butchered with a knife in the open street, for opening his mouth and shouting out against Islamic bigotry. Theo died for the basic human right to express freedom of speech and the right to criticise. A right that we all think we posses, but a right we all seem to have been robbed of.

How can we as people promote democracy in the world beyond our cultural boundaries, even when we cannot secure this right for our own citizens?

Let this day remind us that we no longer live in a free society, and that we have people in power that deny us that basic right our democracies are built upon. Let this day remind us of Theo and of the people who today stand defiant and brave against theocratic suppression. Let this day remind us about the people around the world that live in constant fear of the religious police, which patrols the streets, the councils, lobbies and boards.

Let this day remind us of a man who personified the spirit of free speech.
Let this day remind us of Theo.
Proposed schedule

Assemble in front of the Dutch Embassy
Candlelight vigil
Hymn "I vow to thee my country" sung
One minutes silence
Flowers handed to embassy staff or laid in front of the building
Words of commemoration to Theo Van Gogh
For those wishing to sing 'I vow to thee my country' here are the lyrics

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

And here is a rendition of I vow to the my country

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