The powerful man, UN general secretary Kofi Annan, hits out at Anders Fogh Rasmussen; but the spoiled school boy, Fogh, don’t give a damn about what the teacher says. Annan stated yesterday that “Denmark is not accommodated and not at all ready for immigration of muslims”, during a meeting in the so-called “Alliance of Civilizations” in Doha, Quatar.
The Islamic conference organization (OIC), The Arabic League and the foreign ministers of Quatar, Spain, and Turkey were present [MetroExpress, today, p. 6; Information, today, front page]. Apparently, Fogh finds it best to depart from the UN track, whatever that is (which he already did in the Iraq War issue in 2003). According to Annan, who dubs the notoriously silly Muhammed drawings “insulting”, the cause of their printing is that Denmark is a country which is not used to immigration. I hope this is true, so that it will just be a matter of time before this country figures out how to deal with inhabitant inhomogeneties in a constructive way. I fear not.Right now, I am just pissed – thanks to Fogh’s unfortunate combination of defects:
- Lack of diplomatic capacity
- Lack of appreciation and understanding of people thinking differently than himself
- Lack of comprehending the relative strength between moral and ethical issues on the one side and legal issues on the other
There have been at least two pre-steps before the rampaging in the Levant and the burnings of flags:
- The publishing of the drawings
- The (lack of) reaction by the Danish government
Step 2 has occasioned a lot of reactions and debate lately, and now UN also distances itself from Fogh's handling the case. Fogh directs a smack in the eye to Danish media, to trades and industries, and to Danish writers, criticizing them all for not defending the right for freedom of expression:
“I really think that they have all been unprincipled […]. For my part, the sheep have been separated from the goats.” [Berlingske Tidende, yesterday]
I believe that this tendency to split the world into binary/bipolar magnitudes is a trade he has learned from his (big-) brother G.W. Bush (i.e.: “Those who are not with us, are against us”); freedom of expression vs. self-censorship. And I believe that it is very dangerous. One-eyed sticking to extreme principles is what creates wars!
Defending the right to freedom of insult = extremism
Incredibly, today, nearly five months after the publication of the drawings, Fogh still hasn’t even slightly grasped the core of the burning issue! He just keeps on protecting his rigid and conflict causing view of the freedom of expression. This is extremist! (and don’t even start comparing a newspaper (JP) with an artist (e.g. Salman Rushdie))
Fogh still hasn’t even slightly conceived the crucial nuance: that of course, the universal right to freedom of expression must be upheld, but that at the same time, this right must be employed with forethought! Contextual principles apply in concert with the "universal" freedom of expression ("universal" in apostrophes as the right does not exist everywhere outside the Western world). Fogh's bipolar views belongs to Catholic Middle Ages! Ok, he agrees that free expression is covered by a responsibility, but only to the Law. What matters to Fogh is the legal, not the moral or ethical. If you say "normative", Fogh will dub you a relativist! This is a major blow to Denmark’s future role abroad and frankly, I believe that Fogh has failed his role as a statesman. I still hold my view that he is incompetent.
I still can’t believe that I pay my taxes to let this man run and ruin the Danish State reputation and prestige. Did we really give him the mandate to destroy the cute face of Denmark like this? Then this is clearly the backside of democracy. On the other hand, the voters of the government constitute evidence that, after all, it never really was a cute face anyway!