I can’t call it “Big Brother”, because that would be sexist and patriarchal. And Google is just one of the three Big Siblings of our time, the others being Facebook and Twitter.
The old blogspot version of Gates of Vienna has been dormant for a long time — we moved here to our very own domain more than five and a half years ago. Nevertheless, it seems the old blog continues to offend the sensitive, because we just received this entertaining email from Google:
Google has been notified that content in your blog contains allegedly infringing content that may violate the rights of others and the laws of their country. The infringing content that has been made unavailable can be found at the end of this message. For more information about this removal and how it affects your blog, please visit https://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?l=en&answer=2402711.
The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Lumen at https://www.lumendatabase.org. You can search for the notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Lumen page, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should consult your legal advisor.
The Google Team
I don’t really understand what action Google has taken, or is planning to take. Will they delete the offending posts entirely? Or just block them on gatesofvienna.blogspot.pk?
In any case, copies of the same content will continue to exist on the current site. Presumably those Pakistani luminaries know that, but don’t (yet) have the clout to force the removal of the material from gatesofvienna.net.
In case they’ve been removed by the time you read this, here are the three posts in question at their new URLs:
Those should remain live, at least until Hillary gets elected in 2020 and cracks down on the independent service providers, forcing them to close the accounts of customers who publish “hate content”.
The notice from Google prompted me to take a walk down memory lane and revisit our material on Lars Vilks and the Modoggies. We began following the uproar over Mr. Vilks’ rondellhundar within a few days after they first appeared in public. He didn’t start earning death fatwas until the first one was published in the newspaper Nerikes Allehanda (the image to the right). That was enough to trigger Islamic outrage all over the world.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Not all of our readers were following the Modoggie saga back in 2007, so I’d best start at the beginning.
Lars Vilks is a Swedish artist (NOT a “cartoonist”, as the media often describe him). Like most Scandinavians, he paid close attention to events in early 2006 when the Muslim world started burning and pillaging and raping and killing over the drawings of Mohammed that had appeared the previous fall in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. He thought about the limits that were being placed on artistic expression in order not to offend Muslims. Most of it was (and is) self-censorship by artists and editors — they don’t want to get killed, so they stay away from topics involving Islam.
Mr. Vilks decided to test the limits. He drew a sketch of a “Prophet as a Roundabout Dog” — a rondellhund* in Swedish — and included it in an art exhibition in July, 2007. When the organizers of the show realized what they had on their hands, the artist was forced to remove it. But not before word got out. And then the image was printed in the paper, and the rest is history.
Mr. Vilks became a hunted man. “Jihad Jane” is in prison for plotting to kill him. Two young culture-enrichers were arrested for attempting to firebomb his house. Several mujahideen tried to attack him when he was giving a talk at a university.
Eventually the police told him that they could no longer protect him in his house, and he had to move. Since then he has been living in undisclosed locations, and he may be changing his digs frequently, the same way Geert Wilders does.
On St. Valentine’s Day in 2015 Mr. Vilks was one of the speakers at an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression” at the Krudttønden cultural center in Copenhagen. His presence was presumably the main reason why a lone mujahid shot up the venue, killing one person. The same attacker went on to kill another person at a nearby synagogue before he was shot dead by police in the wee hours of the following morning.
I bring all this up because the three offending posts on blogspot all concern Lars Vilks. They’re almost eleven years old, and have never received very much traffic. So why the sudden interest in them? Surely there are more prominent and notorious targets to arouse the ire of the Pakistani censors.
Furthermore, the Modoggies in question are far from the most “offensive” material by Lars Vilks that we have posted.
For example, consider the drawing of “Mohammed at a gay bar” (right). I don’t know which post it went with, but it must be far more apoplexy-inducing than all those little rondellhundar. Maybe they’ll get to it eventually…
It’s not widely understood that the artist didn’t specify Mohammed in his earliest drawing of the roundabout dog. He put a turban and a beard on it and labeled it “Prophet as a Roundabout Dog”. In an interview he said that it wasn’t any particular prophet, just a generic one.
He knew what he was doing, however. He was testing the limits of free expression, and watching to see whether the Religion of Peace would take offense. He presumed that it would, and it did, possibly exceeding his expectations in the magnitude of its reaction.
In a later interview, someone asked him why he did what he did. He said it was important to defend freedom of expression. The interviewer asked him, “But is that worth dying for?”
His answer was simply: “Yes.”
Lars Vilks is a hero of the Counterjihad, right up there with Geert Wilders and Tommy Robinson. He didn’t earn his death fatwa accidentally by being stupid, like Molly Norris did. He understood the likely consequence of his actions, but he went ahead and drew the pictures anyway, because it needed to be done.
He’s a hero.
One final image: a full-color rendering of Mohammed the Roundabout Dog with Jan III Sobieski at the Gates of Vienna. Mr. Vilks kindly drew it for us back in 2011:
That’s for all our fans in Pakistan.