Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sudan protests at Danish cartoons

Sudan protests at Danish cartoons (BBC News, Wednesday, 27 February 2008)

Britain plays along with the EU when it is in its interest, and only then. This can be said of many British governments in the past as well as of 'public opinion'. With the growing pressure on Denmark, the past few days would have been the right time to share some of its burden, and demonstrate that the civilised world stands united to defend freedom of expression.

Germany's interior minister Schäuble has called for newspapers in all European countries to print the Motoons. Our newspapers should have done that earlier. Now it is too late. It is a contradiction in terms that a member of a government demands dissemination by the press of certain material in the name of freedom. After Schäuble's ill-conceived statement, it has become difficult to argue to the less sophisticated elements in the Islamic world that not governments but free individuals are responsible for publishing material that others may find offensive.

With the forthcoming publication in the Netherlands of the anti-Islam film by Geert Wilders (notably a member of parliament), also the Netherlands is bound to become a target of Islamist aggression soon, and I fear that it too will find indifference on this side of the Channel.

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