Translated from Danish:
Make use of the freedom of expression and insist on living as free people. That was the rallying cry as the Free Speech Society gathered around four free speech activists on the occasion of the Muhammad drawings' 10th anniversary.
On the list of speakers were Henryk Broder, Vebjørn Selbekk, Douglas Murray, and Mark Steyn.
The hall had been booked by Marie Krarup [MP of the Danish People's Party], and the speeches were all conducted in English. The sun was high in the sky, and the Landstings Hall was full.
”Record the state of affairs, so we can remember them”Henryk Broder, the German journalist and author Hurra, wir kapitulieren! [Hooray, We're Surrendering!] was first to speak. Broder is pessimistic about progress in Europe since the cartoon crisis.
In the EU system, he sees parallels to the Soviet Union's last days and urges that we witness to what happens in those years, so people in the future will have a record. In conclusion, he called for avoiding complacency in the face of anti-democratic forces.
”Is freedom defended by political arguments, or religious arguments?”Vebjørn Selbekk is editor of the Norwegian newspaper Dagen [The Day]. In the name of free speech, he reprinted the 12 cartoons from Jyllands-Posten in 2006.
Selbekk had already noticed the trends, but he refused to give terrorists a veto over editorial content. Shortly there after, he was under police protection, living at a secret address.
The Labour Party (Arbeiderpartiet, or AP) stabbed him in the back, and he was made a scapegoat. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere spoke of "extremists on both sides," as if the opposing parties were on an equal footing. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg went a step further, suggesting there was even a "joint responsibility" for the embassy attacks.
What drives Selbekk is indignation that people should be afraid to express their opinions. Extremists hate our values and our freedoms, and all will have to deal with this threat.
This is done by not putting restraints on one's utterances — using as much free speech as you like. If people do not do that, assessed Vebjørn Selbekk, then the extremists win. Lately Selbekk has received an award for his efforts. On August 31, 2015, he received the Fritt Ord Honors Prize for his principled defense of free speech.
”When the history of this era will be written, the name of Denmark will be talked about with enormous pride!”The next speaker was Douglas Murray. He is an English author, journalist, and commentator. He led the think tank Centre for Social Cohesion from 2007-2011 and is now director of the Henry Jackson Society.
His opening remarks with a topical example. The police had approached a London gallery and removed one of the works. The work represented a potential risk, according to the police, and there was uncertainty whether the bill for extra police manpower would possibly be forwarded to the artist or to the gallery owner. Murray was furious at this and refuses to place trust in a police force that acts as art critics.
Murray believes that the ruling class has internalized the fatwa against the Muhammad cartoons. This must be the lesson of the past decade. A majority of the press and a majority of artists, in his opinion, are cowards.
He accused European politicians to only deal with secondary issues, i.e., with the symptoms of the real problem: whether Islam is a religion of peace or not.
Freedom of speech is not only a right, thinks Murray, it is a necessity. We need to hear dissident voices and opposing views, because only if we can hear them, can we take well-informed decisions and avoid mistakes.
Douglas Murray finished by paying tribute to Denmark's example.
“'If it is not the crusades, it is the cartoons'”The final speaker was the Canadian-American writer and commentator Mark Steyn.
Steyn began with a variation on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Emperor's New Clothes. In Steyn's version, the "multi culti emperor" turned out not to be wearing clothes either. what differed from the original is that no one would listen to the boy, and nor was he thanked. We have perverted Hans Christian Andersen, said Steyn, and in the 22st century the boy is punished.
Back then, Mark Steyn paid a visit to the White House, where he asked George W. Bush about his assessment of the Muslim reaction to the Danish cartoons. The president slightly shook his head:
If it is not the crusades, it is the cartoons. They are always angry about something.This anecdote was rewarded in the Landsting Hall with applause.
Steyn excoriated the international press for bending to the Islamists' wishes regarding the prohibition of images. Instead of a rational response to violence and threats, one that Steyn felt would lead to the reprinting of the cartoons on all the world's newspapers' front pages, we stand in a situation where CNN pixielates the Muhammad cartoons.
This is particularly shameful in view of the fact of how the media is otherwise loving to go around presenting one award for journalistic courage after another.
Steyn argued that the problem is Western society's lack of confidence. We no longer believe in ourselves and our fundamental values. We are willing to sacrifice them. The aim of terrorism is to hijack the debate and to terrorize us into refraining from certain subjects. And to great success.
Steyn's conclusion was a call to continue to live as free people. Use the freedom of expression and share the risk, so no matter how many people the terrorists kill, they can not succeed in their enterprise.
Fight the hate speech fairies, and their islamic Enforcers. We are free!
• More on Steyn's oration: Bush Remarks Lead to Applause During Steyn's Copenhagen Speech on the 10th Anniversary of the Danish Mohammed Cartoons
• UPDATE: The MSM is "an industry that gives itself awards back and forth for courage and bravery—far more than soldiers and firemen do!": Mark Steyn's Speech in Copenhagen (Video)
• More on Mark Steyn from the files of No Pasarán