Knute, who blogs from Skåne at Every Kinda People, has weighed in on the Modoggie affair and Al Qaeda’s threats against Lars Vilks. Here’s what he had to say last weekend (his own translation, with the help of Conservative Swede):
The Swedish Prime Minister should condemn al-Qaeda’s threats, opines the Swedish editor-in-chief, whom al-Qaeda wishes to kill resulting from the “blasphemous” depiction of Mohammed.
Like cowards, neither Prime Minister Reinfeldt nor Foreign Minister Bildt wishes to condemn the death threats and the hired thugs of al-Qaeda. How different from Reinfeldt’s fawning on Moslem ambassadors by regretting the publication of the images of Mohammed as a dog. The kowtowing then and the silence now, result in Moslems all over the world cheering and putting forth more demands and threats.
When the word ‘regret’ was translated into ‘apologize’ in Arabic, the Islamists believed themselves justified in punishing the artist Vilks and the publisher Johansson on behalf of the Swedes. Because the Swedes have through their Prime Minister apologized for freedom of speech!
Reinfeldt and Bildt have plunged themselves into the conflict. How will they cope? Additionally, how will Vilks and Johansson deal with being stalked by bounty-hunting assassins? Will they be forced into hiding as has Rushdie?
Knute was prescient, because here’s today’s story from The Local:
Cartoonist forced to leave home
Police have told Swedish artist Lars Vilks that it is not safe for him to remain at his home in southern Sweden following threats on his life from an al-Qaeda front organization in Iraq.
The artist behind a controversial caricature of the Muslim prophet Muhammad was only allowed access to his home outside Nyhamnsläge after police had conducted a thorough search on Monday morning.
Police allowed the artist to pick up a few belongings but told him that they did not want him staying there in the foreseeable future.
“I’m prepared to move somewhere else,” Vilks told news agency TT.
The artist has had to cancel a number of planned lectures but says that he is able to do most of his work sitting in front of his computer.
Asked whether the sketch of Muhammad as a roundabout dog was worth all the trouble, Vilks remained defiant.
“Yes, I still think so. I think the artwork has developed well so far and is on its way towards becoming superb,” he said. [emphasis added]
Mr. Vilks is recapitulating here his basic idea on what constitutes art. His Modoggie scrawls were just the beginning of the current work — according to him, you and I and the Muslims and all the other people who view and react to the work of art are part of the work of art.
– – – – – – – – –
And the piece is not complete yet.
Vilks described the events and the debate surrounding his drawings as a repeat of the Danish caricature row, except on a smaller scale and so far without bloodshed.
“I still hold out strong hopes of a happy ending in that this too may end up as a farce,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Swedish prime minister is hopping from foot to foot, doing the ol’ PC Multicultural Two-Step. He’s dancing around that way because he wants to avoid having to take a stand and deal with the fact that foreigners have put a price on the head of two Swedish nationals for drawing and publishing a picture.
Obviously, he’s hoping that if he engages in some mealy-mouthed waffling for long enough, the whole problem will simply go away — or at least be put off until the Social Democrats are back in power.
Here’s CG’s translation of an article from Sveriges Television:
Reinfeldt: We reject threats
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt stated today that Sweden rejects threats in all forms.
It was the first time that Reinfeldt made a statement after the death threats against the artist Lars Vilks and the editor of Nerikes Allehanda.
Reinfeldt urged calm, thoughtfulness and dialog.
Reinfeldt stressed that he takes the threats very seriously. He will continue his dialog with Muslim leaders in Sweden and he will follow the development continuously.
“I think in precisely the same manner as the Muslim leaders that I have listened to today: We shall reject any attempt of use of violence and try to avoid extremists and their attempts to make the situation worse,” Reinfeldt said.
He pointed out that he has talked about the need to support freedom of speech, but also the need for dialog and respect for people of different faith and background.
He was happy, though, that Muslim leaders and organizations in Sweden rejected the death-threats.
To a direct question Reinfeldt answered that he didn’t see the death threat from the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq as an attack on the Swedish constitution.
“I would not use that kind of expression.”
No, you wouldn’t, would you?
No way would you engage in a muscular assertion of the unalienable rights that all Swedes are born with. Much better to pile weasel words upon weasel words until the whole steaming heap is big enough for you to hide behind.
Hat tip: Steen.
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.