Sunday, February 05, 2006

DANISH CARTOON

(Response to) Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Address- 3rd Feb, 2006

Ambassadors, Your Excellencies,

Thank you for coming at such short notice, (a full five months after the initial incident happened). As you are well aware Denmark has been faced with protests from the Muslim world concerning the publication of drawings of the Prophet in the independent newspaper Jyllands-Posten (a right wing liberal newspaper, which just shows you how bloody confused this rag really is). The Minister for Foreign Affairs and I have invited you today to inform you on the facts of the matter as well as the position of the Government of Denmark (only now, because we didn't have a clue as to how seriously the drawings would offend Muslims around the world, because apparently we are all living on another planet with the Danish Cartoon, Kurt Westergaard).

The drawings were brought in the newspaper Jyllands-Posten (Danish for Bigoted Tabloid) in late September 2005. In October I received from 11 ambassadors representing Muslim countries a letter in which they referred to the drawings and to other public statements. They requested a meeting and called on me to take action in the matter. (Being a secret sycophant of the xenophobes within my own government, I actually didn't do much other than issue an asinine statement that the government could not interfere with the media because I don't want any bad press myself.)

As you are well aware the cartoons (and I am not talking about the Danish government) caused a widespread public debate during the autumn. Therefore, I devoted a large part of my New Year’s Speech (which I didn't actually write) to the very issue of ensuring a respectful dialogue and the principle of freedom of expression. (Oh, c'mon don't laugh – I'm serious!)

In the speech, I made it clear that I condemn any expression, action or indication that attempts to demonise groups of people on the basis of their religion or ethnic background. (Which I have to admit is massive whopper of lie, as the Danish government passed a law, in September of 2004, limiting the ability of Muslims to enter into Denmark. In addition, several politicians within our country have made rather idiotic and racist statements against Muslims in their concentrated effort to convince all Danes to be either scared of Muslims or hate them or both. Thanks to the queen of Denmark for assisting in this effort.)

As you, Ambassadors, have witnessed during your stay in Denmark, the freedom of expression has a wide scope here. (We have the freedom to demonise, demean, ridicule and insult any religion or faith or sentiment that a considerably large population of the world holds sacred BUT what we do not have is the courage to express the same freedom when it comes to questioning the official [Holey] version of 9-11 OR exhibit the tenacity to attempt a cartoon of the Holocaust [God forbid] because that will admittedly be in bad taste and we will be hung by our genitals from the walls of Rosenborg Slot.)

But freedom of expression should always be combined with freedom of religion and respect between religions and cultures. (Absolutely) Those are fundamental values in the Danish society (Evidently not so.)
---
Point of Interest - From the Guardian (Feb 6, 06):

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that have caused a storm of protest throughout the Islamic world, refused to run drawings lampooning Jesus Christ, it has emerged today.

The Danish daily turned down the cartoons of Christ three years ago, on the grounds that they could be offensive to readers and were not funny.

In April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Jens said...

"Which I have to admit is massive whopper of lie, as the Danish government passed a law, in September of 2004, limiting the ability of Muslims to enter into Denmark. "

Well, that's not really the case. They've passed a law, which is limiting foreigners to enter the country. That goes for all non-danes, and has really no thing to do, with religion.

4:27 PM  
Blogger the olive ream said...

Thanks for your comment. Your feedback is appreciated.

Although the law might apply to all non-Danes and may seem generic, (but those who care to investigate a little further will realise), that the reality is that it is being exploited for a more precise purpose of targeting muslims. The justification given is that these are precautionary measures against radical islamists. It would be justified and appropriate if that were the case, but let us stop being diplomatic and cut the crap for a second. These laws end up hurting 'moderate' muslims who are asylum seekers and/or those who wish to settle down with their immediate family members in Denmark.

Let's not be so naive and pretend that Danish immigration laws are politically correct and unbiased.
The reality is there is a 'whitening' of Denmark that is progressively happening (as mixed race couples are even being discouraged to immigrate but that is a story for another time and the subject of another article.)

I only suggest readers to search the net on articles relating to Danish immigration laws (past and present) and also source Al Jazeerah and the Guardian newspaper to get a complete picture of things...

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Jens said...

I'm all for cutting the crap and getting down to business, but I still don't agree with you:-)

The prominent danish muslim leader, Abu-Laban, for instance, is banned from Egypt - they regard him as a terrorist. But I don't think anybody here, is about to kick him out of the country.

Anyway, kind of harsh emmigrationlaws is not a strictly Danish phenomenon - it is happening all over Europe at the moment.

8:23 PM  
Blogger the olive ream said...

Jens,
I appreciate your response, and you are entitled to your opinion, as I am to mine. We will just have to agree to disagree ;-)

I am for governments (including my own) dealing appropriately (not meaning torture or murder) with any person presenting a danger to society or inciting others to commit unlawful acts.

These tinted immigration laws end up hearting ordinary people. Religious extremists cannot be filtered out by these laws. Case in point being, Abu Laban sitting comfortably in Denmark while genuine (ordinary) asylum seekers probably get left out.

I agree with you that these 'kind of harsh' immigration laws are reflective of the mindset of the whole of Europe and not just Denmark.

The point remains, to generalize and equate all muslims to 'extremists' (as Islamists is the wrong word) is wrong. Any person who justifies violence against innocent people by exploiting Islam is not a muslim. (period) That is what Islam teaches and anyone claiming otherwise is seriously misled.

In the end it is the average muslim who suffers from this discrimination by society (and governments) by lumping them with a group who have a skewed perception of religion.

The current anger on the streets by ordinary muslims is due to the fact they are already suffering from the post 9-11 bias of being called extremists (who they themselves detest), and suffering from a radical and abhorent US foreign policy and then to add fuel to the fire, some genius decides to ridicule their faith which they hold most sacred.

Freedom of expression should not be used as an excuse to insult a belief system. That is what the Neo-nazis, KKK, and the like do routinely.

The world is being polarised, a religion is being demonized, extremists are being incited to come out of the wood works and we are caught right in the middle. But guess who is gaining from all this chaos? I think we all know the answer to that one.

It is up to us to keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs.

Thanks for the exchange Jen. Peace.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Fahd Mirza said...

Olive, I loved your post and I loved your comments. Very rational and spot-on.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Teeth Maestro said...

A perfect interpretation of 'reading between the lines' of the Prime Minster's speech

Awesome work

1:00 AM  
Anonymous Jens said...

Hi again!

Erhm, first of all:
"But guess who is gaining from all this chaos? I think we all know the answer to that one."

That depends, doesen't it? There are numerous conflicts not involving religion, let alone the Syrian-Libanese relationship, Iran's nuclear facilities and the impacts of the US foreign policy

Basically I choose (I felt I had to choose) to believe, that we can make the better out of this situation.

I has definately taught the press a lesson, woulden't you agree? Let's not rant on about freedom of speech and the questions which forces all of us take a fundamental stand - I think it's the pragmatics, that counts. The "behaviour", if you will, not only of editors and journalists, but all off us.

I actually do think that here in Denmark, at least, it has brought us all a bit closer. Lots of muslims in Denmark have commented on the debate, and - more than before - their views and perspective have been valued and appreciated. That's got to be a good thing?

A lot of things in the ongoing debate about Islam have been clarified, more balanced and definately less biased here with us. For instance most of us have begun to realise, that a lot of the traditions we've slowly adapted ourselves during the past 30 years, has a direct connection with the Danish muslims. This means that a lot of the native danes, who normally woulden't poke their noses in to anything in public, all of a sudden have spoken up.

Denmark is a small country, but there are regional differences like there is in any other country, and it is very relieving to hear so many moderate and positive voices, for a change. Anything from old farmers and middleaged factoryworkers to young executives and small children.

I know that this doesen't solve this conflict, but we've all got to start somewhere. At least now people know the difference between islam and terror. That, definately, is a good thing!

9:47 PM  
Blogger the olive ream said...

Jens,
Once again, thank you for your comments. I have rather enjoyed our exchange thus far.

First off, in case you are interested, you can read my latest post on Global Voices Online, which happens to be a much clearer opinion piece regarding this whole cartoon controversy. It is not a satire and more of a straight forward viewpoint. You will also find links to blog articles presenting other perspectives on this issue.

Here is the link to that post:

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/globalvoices/2006/02/06/pakistan-blog-o-reaction/

Jen, if this cartoon fiasco and the resulting protests have led to a healthy exchange of viewpoints (including ours) and encouraged a debate between disparate groups within Denmark and in other countries, I totally agree with you that that is positive thing. If it has led to better understanding of each other then I guess we can qualify this as a 'silver lining'.

When I asked the question, "who gains from this chaos?", what I was actually referring to were things at a macro level. This incident and resulting protests (which have taken a ridiculously voilent and extreme turn lately) are going to be exploited for political advantage. Religious extremists will use it to garner more support for their radical ways, while they remain continuously oblivious to the fact that is exactly what the global-elitists (fascists) want. The more the world is polarized the easier it gets to contol it.

Incidents like this have to be seen in the current political environment. It serves the purpose (or at least aids) the globalist agenda. It would be extremely naive to think that this cartoon publication is a one-off incident and that the resulting violent protests are not going to be exploited for political gain.

Jen, in case you are interested in continuing our exchange, you can email me at:
over (underscore) email at yahoo dot com. I think it deserves to be promoted to an email exchange.. :)

peace.

8:34 AM  

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