Ten years ago today the Danish Mohammed cartoons were published by Jyllands-Posten. This morning's edition of the newspaper marks the anniversary by reprinting their original page from September 30th 2005 (see right) - identical in every respect ...but without the illustrations. As Katrine Winkel Holm of the Danish Free Press Society says:
Violence works. A sad day.
Red State comments on my speech in the Danish Parliament on Saturday:
One of the primary points Steyn made Saturday seems provocative at first blush but absolutely true on sober reflection. The September 11th attacks on America's power centers did nowhere near the damage to Western democracy than did its craven response to threats made against further publication of depictions of Mohammed. The events of 9/11 were predictably met with great force and culminated with the death of bin Laden. The cartoon riots and the threats made afterwards basically were appeased, and as such the terrorists have won major victories against free speech and other civil liberties both in Europe and in North America. Steyn's full speech can be heard here.
The Free Press Society is posting speeches from Saturday's conference in what seems to be reverse order. In my remarks, posted on Monday, I referred back to what Douglas Murray had said earlier - about the police as art critics and much else. So, in case you were befuddled by all the back-referencing, here's Douglas' excellent speech in full, with those points as he originally made them:
If memory serves, Douglas and I first appeared together at one of these events a decade ago, in New York. We are both a little more pessimistic than we were then, but I'm always glad to find that he remains of at least somewhat good cheer. He noted the strange phenomenon whereby western leaders expend far more energy trying to nail those who respond to Islam's provocations than to the provocations themselves: for example, Angela Merkel's fierce denunciations of Pegida rather than of Islamic totalitarians, and the British Government's determination to get the English Defence League's Tommy Robinson banged up on whatever they could find on him (mortgage fraud, in the end) while utterly indifferent to getting any firebreathing imam banged up on whatever they could find on him (welfare fraud for starters). The US exemplar of this dismal trend is the jailed videomaker whom Hillary Clinton made the designated scapegoat for Benghazi, and to whose house more firepower was dispatched than ever was to protect Ambassador Stevens that night.
In his own report on the event, Douglas notes en passant:
Mark Steyn pointed out that on the day the British Foreign Office was recommending British tourists stay away from the environs of the Danish parliament because of fears that there would be a terrorist attack on our event. Needless to say the UK Foreign Office didn't deign to pass this advice on to either Mark (a Commonwealth citizen) or me, but it's good to know that they alerted British tourists to keep away from us.
So, in case anything happens, it's our fault. Greg, one of the attendees in Copenhagen, writes:
I was the big American in the Patriots tee-shirt that stood in the circle talking to you during the break before you went on.
I had meant to tell you at that time that it wasn't just the UK warning its citizens to steer clear of any event redolent of free speech.
Indeed. Courtesy of John Kerry's State Department:
The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen informs U.S. citizens that Saturday, September 26, is the 10th anniversary of the publication of the cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad in Denmark, which triggered violent protests in 2005...
An organization called "The Danish Free Press" is holding a Danish Muhammed Cartoon Crisis conference on Saturday, September 26, from 13:00 to 16:00 in the vicinity of Christiansborg Castle (the site of Danish Parliament and the Prime Minister's office)...
Based on past related events, the Embassy urges U.S. citizens to avoid any areas in downtown Copenhagen on Saturday where crowds are gathered and/or where you see a heavy police presence.
As Greg, "the big American in the Patriots tee-shirt", comments:
It's sort of obscene, really, that my own government is warning me away from peaceful demonstrations because they are likely to be targeted for attack -- so it's the peaceful demonstrations that get tarred by the brush of associative violence, while none dare say the name of the actual source of the threat...
Also, apologizing for the hindsight, but I think a great marketing opportunity was missed -- maybe it's something you could repurpose for sale on you website, though:
'I attended a free speech conference in Europe without getting shot at, and all I got was this lousy tee-shirt.'
Plus your name on a State Department watch list - just in case Hillary needs someone to blame.
~Finally, here's what I wrote a decade ago when it became clear that, aside from a few peripheral publications in Norway, Canada, New Zealand and elsewhere, the world's bigfoot media had chosen to abandon our Danish comrades:
The ramifications of that will echo through our culture for years. As I said last time round, one can have different opinions on the merits of the original cartoons. After I posted them at my website, Rosie Witty of Christchurch, New Zealand - by the way, isn't it a little culturally insensitive to call a city "Christchurch"? - anyway, Ms Witty wrote to say that she found the cartoons "rude, crude and lewd... The freedom of the press sometimes is wise; sometimes it is not."
That's a valid argument if you're writing to Jyllands-Posten, the originating newspaper in Denmark. Had this or that imam done as Ms Witty did, many a dispassionate observer might have agreed. But, instead of writing to the newspapers, the imams embarked on a campaign that led to embassies being burned, Turkish priests being murdered, and over a hundred others dying in associated riots. Once that happened, the issue was not the appalling nature of the cartoons but the appalling nature of the reaction to them. The 12 cartoonists are now in hiding. According to the chairman of the Danish Liberal Party, a group of Muslim men showed up at a local school looking for the daughter of one of the artists.
When that racket starts, no cartoonist or publisher or editor should have to stand alone. The minute there were multimillion-dollar bounties on those cartoonists' heads, The Times of London and Le Monde and The Washington Post and all the rest should have said "this Thursday we're all publishing all the cartoons. If you want to put bounties on all our heads, you better have a great credit line at the Bank of Jihad. If you want to kill us, you'll have to kill us all..."
But it didn't happen. There was a photograph from one of the early Muslim demonstrations in London that I cut out and kept: a masked protester promising to behead the enemies of Islam, and standing shoulder to shoulder with him two Metropolitan Police officers, dispatched by the state to protect him and enable him to incite the murder of others. When those Muslim men return to that Danish school, I only hope that little girl is as well protected by the forces of authority...
The free world is shuffling into a psychological bondage whose chains are mostly of our own making.
~My book on the subject is called Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West. The lights have continued to go out.