One of the things that I have noticed about the Modoggie Crisis is that Lars Vilks — despite the rudimentary nature of his scrawled drawings and the manifest unseriousness of the artist’s statements — did not undertake his blasphemous task lightly or at random. There is a method in his madness.
And now he has made that fact clear. According to The Local:
Lars Vilks took part on Tuesday evening in a seminar in Stockholm organized by the Council of Ex-Muslims of Sweden and the Swedish Humanist Association.
Vilks reminded his audience that the drawing had been meant as a provocation. The art and culture communities in Sweden repeatedly criticize the United States and Israel, he said, whereas Muslim countries are rarely even questioned. The caricature of Muhammad as a ‘roundabout dog’ was his way of “testing the limits” of art.
“I suppose one could say that from that perspective I have been entirely successful,” said Vilks. [emphasis added]
Well, kudos to Lars Vilks!
The intentionality of his effort should give pause to the politicians who are now sweating bullets, hoping and praying that further escalation can be avoided, at least until the other party is in power.
It’s also evidence that he’s not going to quit provoking people with his drawings. He began this with full knowledge of what he what he was getting into, and a few piddling death threats are evidently not enough to deter him.
Finnish MTV3 reports that Lars Vilks refuses to hide. Last night in Stockholm, and under heavy police protection, Lars Vilks, the artist that pictured Islam’s prophet Mohamed as a round-a-bout dog, showed his art work to about a hundred people gathered at the event.
MTV3 reports that “Muslim extremists have called for the boycott of over a hundred Swedish businesses, including SAS, Arla, Volvo and Ikea… Vilks showed the Mohamed characterised as a dog pictures to former Muslims and the Stockholm Humanist Society who arranged the event.”
When asked how he felt about the threats against his life, Vilks mentioned in the televised news footage that he was serious about the threats, and that it has made his life more difficult. The text in Finnish reads: “But otherwise I feel safe. The police know their work.”
Lars Vilks has been forthright in his statements, but not so the leaders of Sweden’s government. Here’s the latest from Prime Minister Reinfeldt, from Sveriges Television, as translated by CG:
“I always take threats seriously. Those who agitate for the use of violence will often realize their wishes in a way they did not expect,” Fredrik Reinfeldt says.
“I think I should take my part of the responsibility and try to oppose and deal with those who agitate for violence — or those who surround them — to try to ease it, to release the pressure so that we don’t get into an escalating development of which there is now a great risk,” he says.
Actually, given the Swedish tendency to indirection and conciliation, these are pretty strong words coming from Mr. Reinfeldt. He didn’t say, “There is an absolute right to freedom of expression in this country, and I will defend to the death Mr. Vilks’ right to draw Modoggies.” On the other hand, that’s not the way Swedes do things. This is stronger than previous statements, so the next step in the progression will be an interesting one.
The Local also talks about the boycott of Swedish businesses:
Islamists push for boycott of Swedish firms
Websites run by militant Islamists have listed the names of over 100 Swedish companies as possible targets in the ongoing row surrounding the publication in Swedish newspapers of a caricature of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
Detailing the addresses, maps and logos of Swedish businesses, the websites called for their readers to boycott these firms and “take revenge” on Sweden for the publication of a controversial cartoon by artist Las Vilks.
SAS, H&M, Alfa Laval, TV 4 and Arla were among the companies listed, according to SVT news programme Rapport, which based its report on a study carried out by the Washington-based SITE Institute (the Search for International Terror Entities).
Lars Vilks, as has been noted previously, is no right-winger. His milieu is the trendy world of avant-garde modernist art, and his politics — as far as they can be detected by a non-Swede — have been straightforward left/socialist.
But he takes his leftist principles seriously. The freedom to shock the bourgeoisie at will has been unquestioned; now it’s time to claim the freedom to shock the Umma as well.
He’s an unlikely champion of Western Civilization, but we live in interesting times.
Hat tip for The Local: CG.
For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.