Photo: Lars Hedegaard interviewed by Swedish Radio
As Western obeisance to Islam deepens, dhimmitude--or, as Islam now begins to exert control over the rap world, I should say, DimE-2d--increasingly seems to be our lot.
But there is resistance.
There are stalwarts clanging bells and ringing alarms in a yeoman effort to preserve liberty in the West--an effort, it should be understood, that is complicated and obstructed at least as much by the cultural relativism that afflicts Western elites as by the expansion of Islam.
One such stalwart is Lars Hedegaard of Denmark, who, on the occasion of the publication of a new book, illustrated by Kurt Westergaard, is now drawing jihadist death threats. I first met Lars last summer in Copenhagen, where he took me on a walking tour of that serenely beautiful city. A historian as well as a noted journalist, Lars knew exactly where to find two spots I especially wanted to see in addition to the local tourist splendors.
At the end of A Man Called Intrepid, the biography of WWII spymaster William Stevenson, there is an unforgettable description of a late-war Allied bombing raid on downtown Copenhagen, then under Nazi occupation. The Allied target was a Gestapo prison where key members of the Danish underground movement were being tortured. The fear was that the Danes, under duress, might reveal information that would lead to the destruction of the entire underground network as well as to the diversion of 200,000 German troops to fight American forces. The Allies decided to send in British bombers to destroy that jail along with everyone in it, Danish underground members and Nazis alike.
I've written about the stunning success and terrible tragedy of that raid before, and very much wanted to see both the site of the Gestapo prison and the school that was also destoyed in the raid, killing 87 children and 27 teachers and wounding many others.
On the site of the prison today stands a modern office building.
Near the entrance the names of the Danes killed in the raid are etched in stone.
And here is Lars translating the inscriptions.
Later, we made our way to the site of the school, now an apartment building on a tree-lined street.
This is what I wrote last year, comparing Gen. Petraeus' misguided directive to win "hearts and minds" in Iraq with the existing state of "hearts and minds" in Denmark during World War II:
The battlefields then and now have few parallels, but imagine, for a moment, that 87 children were killed in an important air raid in terror-riddled Baghdad, not Nazi-occupied Copenhagen. Imagine, also, the ensuing mayhem and media amplification of an "irreparable blow to the battle for Iraqi `hearts and minds.'"
Now, back to the historical account: One of the [Copenhagen] raid's planners, Ted Sismore, later returned to the bombed school in Copenhagen to offer an explanation. "The parents of the dead children, to his astonishment, gave him comfort. 'They wanted me to know the raid was necessary.'"
The Danes knew his heart, and were of one mind. This could hardly be more different from Iraq for many reasons, including cultural ones separating Islamic and Western cultures. Gen. Petraeus decrees Iraqis "must understand that we -- not our enemies -- occupy the moral high ground." But does their political-religious culture even permit such an understanding? We must face up to this question if we ever want a winning war plan.
As the Danish example shows, you either understand or you don't. There is no "must understand" possible between diametrically opposed ideologies. But the cultural relativism that holds Western elites in thrall hides the essential markers that both separate Western and Islamic culture, and unite Westerners, all in the absurd effort to pretend there can be no "clash of civilizations." (I explore both this effort and its impact at great length in The Death of the Grown-Up.)
All of the above is a round-about way of introducing a very important interview with Lars Hedegaard that was recently conducted in Sweden (and even more recently translated into English courtesy the invaluable Gates of Vienna). In Part 2, he discusses having been fired, in effect, for writing too frankly and too much about Islam--half his columns, he says. "Why," his interviewer asks, "is Islam so interesting?"
Lars: Well, let’s phrase another question. Why was the Nazism interesting in the 1930s? What kind of trust should one have in a writer in the 1930s who didn’t devote half of his writings to Nazism? It seems to me to be the most dangerous threat to our civilization, against our children’s future. I consider Islam an even greater threat to democracy, liberty and freedom of speech, than the Nazism was. So then.
Swedish Radio: Why?
Lars: Because Nazism could be fought by military means. Germany and its armies could be laid in ruins, and one could then proclaim that now Nazism was dead and no longer a present threat. One cannot do the same with Islam. Islam is a “world-view” [Almost impossible to translate to English, the German Weltanschauung is probably the closest thing — See Wikipedia for details — translator], which embeds itself in individuals. With Islam, you cannot fight a state. Islam is an ideology that enters everywhere there is a crack. How to fight it, I don’t know, no one has succeeded yet for 1400 years in conquering it.
Swedish Radio: That leads us to the question… You say that you were fired because of Islam. Which is controversial; we have the entire Mohammed-cartoon debate in Denmark, which had such large consequences… What can one say about Islam, and what cannot be said? Where is the limit of the freedom of speech?
Lars: Are you thinking whether it is a question of what one can do or what one ought to do?
SR: What one can say?
Lars: Well, in Denmark we can say what we will. It is most likely the only place in the world where we are still able to say what we will. Thus, I do it, and the members of my organization, and many others say what the want about it. We appear completely open about it — anybody can come through my door — and we intend to continue this way.
One has to differentiate between Islam as an ideology and Muslims. Islam as an ideology must be criticized ruthlessly, consequently, and radically. Muslims, as we must remember, are born into their role as Muslims. That means that they cannot do anything about their role as Muslims. Many of them, including some who are my friends — We also have Muslim members of the Free Press Society, considers themselves are cultural Muslims — thus they don’t take the ideology seriously. And I respect that, and thus I’m not saying — I don’t speak about all Muslims, I’m speaking about the ideology — in the same way that I wouldn’t talk about all Nazis, because some were more or less forced into being members of Hitlerjugend and Bund Deutscher Mädel and other such groups. Nazism as an ideology must be criticized mercilessly; Communism, Stalinism as an ideology must be criticized mercilessly, as Islam as an ideology must be. Muslims can have an equally large need for protection of their interests and their rights as the rest of us.
SR: And what ought to be said?
Lars: One might say that I’ve said it. Islam is a particularly dangerous ideology, which aims to force its believers to fight for Allah’s cause. Which means global conquest and to enthrall people who don’t voluntarily bow to Allah’s yoke, as prescribed in e.g. the Sharia — the holy Muslim law — this is what one ought to say. And with this ‘world-view’, this utopia there is no peace. There is no compromise.
SR: In 2004 you were a co-founder of Free Press Society. Why was it formed?
Lars: We did it because in 2003, after being recommended by a member, I had sought membership of Danish Pen and was refused membership with the stated reason that I participated in ‘hate speech’. Such as encouragement to murder and persecution of others. I didn’t follow up on it at first, or rather I was told that my request would be considered at the general assembly in Danish Pen, without me being present at all. When I then learned that it was a rather unusual procedure, I withdrew my request. Then a couple of months passed by and I got some requests from people who encouraged me to head a new organization, which should be dedicated to the protection of freedom of speech. I didn’t have the greatest enthusiasm for this as I knew how much work it would entail — I had other things to do with my time. But in the end I succumbed and at the end of November 2004, I accepted the task, and we created the organization and had our first founding assembly in March 2005, and since then we had a great success.
SR: So the organization, which was supposed to protect freedom of speech, didn’t accept a member who made use of it
Lars: No, they didn't.
Funny how elites are.
Here, for the record, are a few more snaps from Copenhagen. You know, the palace, the harbor, the Arabic market...Copenhagen.
Travel displays are telling. Below is an airline office in the Muslim neighborhood specializing in Balkan travel.