“And So Therefore I Speak”

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Speech given by Lars Hedegaard to the Danish Free Press Society
February 21, 2013

Lars Hedegaard is the chairman of Trykkefrihedsselskabet (The Danish Free Press Society) and the editor-in-chief of Dispatch International. Earlier this month a would-be assassin disguised as a postman attempted to kill Mr. Hedegaard outside his apartment in Copenhagen.

Yesterday he appeared in public for the first time since the attempted assassination and spoke to a gathering at Trykkefrihedsselskabet in Copenhagen.

Many thanks to The Observer for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Transcript:


00:20   Thank you.
00:23   I have written down my speech and it will be published
00:27   at Trykkefrihedsselskabet website, sappho.dk.
00:33   I’ve done this because there are journalists present here today
00:37   and they don’t always fully understand what I’m saying.
00:49   I would also like to add that I have listened with great interest
00:54   to those politicians and opinion-makers who are here today
00:59   and I thank you sincerely for
01:04   supporting freedom of expression.
01:08   Your efforts help to keep the lights shining in a dark time.
01:14   Having said that, I would like to point out that if you have read what I‘ve written —
01:18   I have written several books and many articles — then you will see that I have never expressed
01:22   hatred towards any specific ethnic groups.
01:25   I do not hate Muslims, I differentiate between Muslims and the ideology of Islam.
01:30   I will not go into further detail, but this can be verified by buying my books,
01:34   or alternatively borrowing them from the library, and by reading my articles.
01:39   When I was informed that Trykkefrihedsselskabet had decided to organize
01:44   this event, there were a few from that organization who advised
01:48   me to show my softer side and exhibit more human emotions,
01:54   which they apparently believe that I possess.
02:00   Please don’t be as hard as you usually are, they said.
02:05   And I’ll be the first to admit that in the past three weeks I have experienced the
02:08   entire spectrum of emotions.
02:12   First, of course, the shock of discovering that the man I thought was a postman
02:16   turned out to be an armed man who wanted to put bullet in my head.
02:20   Then the joy of learning that so many political leaders
02:24   unequivocally condemned the assassination. And that so many newspapers did the same.
02:31   The day after the assassination attempt, I was visibly touched when I read the editorials in Politiken
02:35   and Ekstra Bladet — at least the first few paragraphs
02:41   where emotional words described the inalienable right to freedom of expression
02:45   and how wrong it was to try and kill me.
02:49   But I did not need very many Kleenexes to wipe my eyes.
02:54   It turned out that the newspaper editors used the assassination attempt to reiterate
02:58   to their readers what a miserable and racist creep I am.
03:05   And when I was done reading about my case, I almost came to the conclusion that
03:09   it would probably have been for the best of the country and
03:13   for the future of humanity if the gunman had had better aim.
03:19   So I was both pleased and proud to hear that one police officer said that the
03:23   assassination attempt could possibly be motivated by jealousy.
03:29   One could perhaps imagine that the approximately 25-year-old gunman’s wife
03:33   or one of his wives has a soft spot for me,
03:46   which then prompted the desperate husband to shoot his rival.
03:52   Almost everyone — friends and enemies alike — however, believe that the attack
03:56   was a result of something I’ve said or written,
04:00   and thus an attempt to silence me.
04:05   It is also a theory that I’m inclined to support.
04:08   Since the inception of Trykkefrihedsselskabet in late 2004, we have year in and year out
04:12   been accused of being xenophobic, racist, right-wing extremist
04:16   and certainly not interested in preserving freedom of expression.
04:20   The funny thing is that if one looks at the many guests that we have invited to
04:24   Copenhagen over the years at least half of them have
04:28   what we usually refer to as ‘different ethnic backgrounds’.
04:32   Individuals from Arab countries, Pakistan, India, China
04:36   Russia, etc. — we’ve even also invited Swedes…
04:44   But the media have with very few exceptions not been particularly interested in what has been said
04:48   and discussed at these meetings, which anyone can attend and where anyone can speak.
04:54   No one from Denmark Radio or the fine newspapers have bothered to come
04:58   and report on what our many interesting guests have had to say.
05:05   If someone from TFS on the other hand utters just
05:09   a single thoughtless remark
05:13   then they descend upon us like hawks.
05:17   Can’t you see what monsters we are and that our true intention is
05:21   to establish a fascist tyranny with lynching and gas chambers
05:24   and whatever else comes with it.
05:27   In the newspaper Politiken, I have been referred to as a habitual offender,
05:30   and the newspaper’s current cultural editor
05:33   demanded a couple of years ago on Dutch television that erroneous opinions,
05:36   i.e. opinions that are not shared by Politiken – should be banned
05:40   and that she would like to see me prosecuted, something
05:44   which the Danish state prosecutors have attempted with great zeal.
05:50   In this country one is able to without the slightest risk stand up and pronounce that of course
05:54   Sharia will be introduced with everything that it implies in terms of barbaric punishment and repression.
06:00   One can also, without anyone touching a single hair on one’s head, state that immoral women
06:04   must have stones thrown at their heads until they die, and that Muslims who
06:08   turn their back on Islam of course must be killed.
06:12   But if you say or write that this is what Islam is all about
06:19   then you are guaranteed to be accused of racism,
06:23   risk criminal prosecution, and — as we have just witnessed — attempted murder.
06:29   Those who hurl racism accusations against other people and demands that
06:33   they must be deprived of their freedom of expression and have their opinions banned
06:37   must surely feel very safe and secure.
06:40   They simply cannot imagine that one day it may
06:44   be their opinions that are banned,
06:48   that they are the ones who will be hauled to the court — and God forbid
06:52   that they are the ones who will one day open the door to a postman
06:56   who turns out to be a murderer.
07:00   They have nothing to fear from Trykkefrihedsselskabet, because we will at all times
07:04   defend our opponents’ right to freedom of expression.
07:12   But when we are already faced with a scenario where murder and death threats
07:16   have become part of the political struggle — as is the case with
07:20   Pia Kjærsgaard, Naser Khader, Kurt Westergaard and now me —
07:26   how can one then be so sure that the violence will always go in one particular direction?
07:30   How can we tell for sure that the bells, which today are tolling for the wicked,
07:34   won’t one day toll for those who perceive themselves as the good ones?
07:39   That’s why I’m saying: is it not better to start listening to what people
07:43   are actually trying to say, rather than stigmatizing them as outlaws
07:47   who can be treated accordingly?
07:50   Could it not be the case that those who in recent years have warned against the mass immigration
07:54   of people who cannot and will not integrate into our society
07:58   actually are deeply concerned about what is going to happen to Denmark and to our children?
08:04   Could it not be the case that those who warn against the threat of Islamization
08:08   are actually afraid of Islamization because they have seen what has happened
08:12   in places wherever Islam has become prominent?
08:16   That they are afraid of losing our most precious freedom,
08:20   namely the freedom of expression?
08:24   If it is lost, it will probably never be regained.
08:28   So therefore I ask questions, and I will continue to ask questions.
08:32   And so therefore I speak, and I will continue to speak.
08:35   Thank you.
08:41  

For previous posts on the assassination attempt, see the Lars Hedegaard page.

15 thoughts on ““And So Therefore I Speak”

  1. Pingback: Lars Hedegaard Speaks to the Danish Free Press Society

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  4. I have deeply appreciated your courage and boldness on behalf of all freedom loving people. I praise God that your life was spared and that you have not been cowed into dhimmitude. Please keep speaking.

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  6. Even Lars Hedegaard thinks somehow that Islam is the problem. It isn’t. It is just an evil idea, like Nazi-ism. Islam is only a problem when believers act out its evil doctrine. Those actors are Muslims. We hated Nazis! We hate rapists and murderers. Or do we just hate rape and murder?

    • I disagree, sir, that Islam is only an “idea”. Are you saying that sharia law, which is the foundation of Islam, is not a a driver of behavior??

      A Jew follows the Ten Commandments because that is his or her foundational law.

      A Christian follows Jesus’ two -fold commandment to love God with one’s whole being and to love one’s neighbor equally as one loves himself.

      A Buddhist follows the Eight Fold Path.

      And so on…(whether one follows any of these paths or considers them best relegated to a mythy past is not germane to either your assertion or my response).

      The average person judges the average believer on the extent to which his behavior aligns with his proclaimed beliefs. Which is one reason Westerners find Islam alarming.

      “Reliance of the Traveler” is considered the definitive summation of what Islam requires of its adherents. Anyone desiring an understanding of this totalitarian world view would do well to at least peruse its pages.

      This perusal allows one to grasp how truly ‘foreign’ is this nomadic, tribal world view with its thousand and one laws covering everything in daily life. One lives in the shadow of a juridicial ‘system’ of total submission to the whims of Allah. Islam finds slavery so attractive because that is its foundation. Submission is simply slavery by another name.

      The “traveler” must rely on the rules in order to stay safe, and since whatever happens was already Allah’s design anyway, human initiative atrophies in the face of omnipotence against which there is no appeal.

      V.S. Naipaul wrote about the phenomenon of Islam back in the ’80s, before anyone was listening…

      http://is.gd/jyO1EZ

      That’s a link to one of Amazon’s versions of “Among the Believers”. Naipaul is a careful observer.

  7. This assassination attempt should have been front-page news around the world. One must wonder about the self-censorship being practiced by the media when one considers that it was not. Are the antics of Kanye and Kim more newsworthy than attempts to muffle free speech in Europe?

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