Supporting the Danes

So, I know this cartoon stuff has gotten just bizarre, and that rioting and violence seem to be all the rage among the extremist population, but what about supporting Denmark? Slate Columnist Christopher Hitchens is putting together a Denmark Support Event at the embassy on Mass Ave this Friday at noon. If you have the inclination, check it out:

Please be outside the Embassy of Denmark, 3200 Whitehaven Street (off Massachusetts Avenue) between noon and 1 p.m. this Friday, Feb. 24. Quietness and calm are the necessities, plus cheerful conversation. Danish flags are good, or posters reading “Stand By Denmark” and any variation on this theme (such as “Buy Carlsberg/ Havarti/ Lego”) The response has been astonishing and I know that the Danes are appreciative. But they are an embassy and thus do not of course endorse or comment on any demonstration. Let us hope, however, to set a precedent for other cities and countries. Please pass on this message to friends and colleagues.

Because, well, if we’re not going to stand with them for speaking their mind, who is?

8 Comments so far

  1. Don (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 6:07 pm

    I’ll support their right to be jackholes but I’m not sure I’m interested in lining up to rah-rah-rah. This to me looks like yet another situation with no good guys and even fewer smart guys. Those were printed with the deliberate intent to be inflammatory and nothing else (their claims about chilling effects and taking a stand don’t add up well when considering their past behavior). THEN the clowns who said “these are rude! Now I shall print off many copies and show them to people everywhere so MANY people can be offended!” managed to turn some local turds into national infamous turds.

    I’m going to pass on standing shoulder to shoulder with them. I’ll stand up for their right to do it just as I’ll stand up for the rights of the UAE papers that regularly run anti-semitic cartoons (and apparently lack the ability to detect the hypocrisy) but I’m not going to join hands with bigots and jerks.

  2. darpino (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

    Yeah I won’t be rushing right out to this either. While I support the freedom of expression issue involved here, I do not agree with the anti-Islam right-wing elements that are being elected to office in Denmark nor the increasing anti-Muslim sentiment towards Denmark’s minority Muslim population.

  3. darpino (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 6:39 pm

    Added to which, the Danes themselves are strongly divided over the relationship with their Muslim minority so I don’t know who exactly this demonstration is supposed to be supporting.

  4. In_tears (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 6:54 pm

    I’m with you guys – why would I want to encourage this conflict even further? It was so stupid to incite a group of extremists, in a world already on edge, with this kind of crap, regardless of the fact that this may be their opinion and they have every right to say but to what consequence?

    If your goal was to create more unrest and hate, congrats! You did it!

    What happened to responsible editorialism? You’d think that being a journalist, you’d be the first to realize that there are people out there who are not rational nor reasonable. Please don’t tell me that you are surprised by the reaction. Thanks for starting WWIII.

  5. Concerned (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 7:03 pm

    By *not* standing up for free speech you embolden those who have rioted in response to the cartoons. What will they learn from the experience if the response to their protests, burnings, and disgusting slogans is, well, nothing?

  6. darpino (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 7:19 pm

    Yes Concerned, but this cartoon does not exist in a vaccuum. By singling this cartoon out as a simple defense of free speech issue people are ignoring the internal problems of Denmark that this cartoon was meant to inflame. By ignoring the Danish political climate to defend the cartoon, people appear to be supporting the growing Danish right-wing by default.

    I agree that there should be a response to the violence around the world, but I think it should be well thought out and made with the clear statement that we are supporting free speech and not the Danish extreme right-wing’s politics of exclusion.

    Standing in front of the Danish Embassy with a Danish flag does not fill that requirment. It simply states that we are silly Americans who are uniformed about a complicated situation in Denmark and are simplifying it into a free speech issue only.

  7. WFY (unregistered) on February 22nd, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

    Here is what the editor of the Danish newspaper had to say:

  8. darpino (unregistered) on February 23rd, 2006 @ 2:55 am

    Also here is a transcript of 60 Minutes’ visit to Denmark from this weekend’s broadcast that covers all the perspectives quite well.

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