What to wear to a poetry recital? In Denmark, it may be a flak-jacket and Kevlar helmet, especially if you are the poet.
Poet Yahya Hassan and the artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan are just a few of the latest casualties of the anti-“hate”-speech statutes infamously adopted in Denmark, having appropriated them from more enlightened nations such as Iran.
Hassan at only 18 has managed to inflame and divide large portions of Danish society with a few bits of rough poetry. Raised in a Palestinian Muslim household, he is an angry young man with harsh words over the experience so far.
Targets of Hassan’s wrath include his parents, Islam as it is now practiced and greater Danish society in general. His Oct. 5 interview with Politiken (“I F**king Hate My Parents’ Generation”) became their most shared article for the entire year and has made him an international celebrity.
Refusing to use the phony, well-rehearsed victimhood narrative of Islamic tacticians, Hassan tells his own story.
And Muhammad’s sons in Denmark are doing their best to shut him up.
Comparing successful native Danes with his own “maladjusted” and unhappy life, Hassan openly blamed poor Muslim parenting for the failure of their youth. Refusing to wallow in self-pity, Hassan extends his personal disaster and dumps responsibility for the stinking mass of woe back on the Islamic community.
Hassan read passages on television from his “Lang Digt” or “Long Poem” before the book’s release. Smatterings of his unsophisticated but blunt-instrument verse are translated from Danish below:
“And between the Friday prayers and the Ramadans,
you want to carry a knife in your pocket,
you want to go and ask people if they have a problem,
although the only problem is you.”
He lists lack of incentive, envy, juvenile delinquency, constant rage and resentment as specifically Islamic traits. In Denmark now, those are fighting words, and the poor kid has had to learn his share of sturm und drang.
Defending himself from the ludicrous charge of “Islamophobia,” Hassan claimed he was only speaking of lower-class, unintelligent members of Islamic society. Of course, this failed to mollify the “shut up” apparatchiks, who never fail to smell a dissenter on their appointed rounds.
Complaints about lower-class hijinks proved to be too much for the once vigorous Danish people, though, and the hunt was on.
These terrifying verses bought Hassan an endless stream of death threats, and the publication of his book has only multiplied the problem. Several threats prompted police investigation and a few arrests. Last November Hassan was assaulted in Copenhagen’s train station by a (surprise!) fellow Palestinian-Danish Muslim.
Ironically the free-speech impaired thug was not only an exact representation of the type of criminal Hassan objects to, but had previously received a seven-year terrorism sentence. Apparently he didn’t learn his lesson and is now perfecting his craft by specializing in beating up poets.
In public Hassan is forced to wear a bulletproof vest and is followed by Denmark’s version of the FBI, especially when he speaks. A poetry reading last fall turned a school into a militarized zone with hundreds of policemen, reconnaissance, road blocks, bomb squads and a no-fly zone costing 1 million kroner. Brought to the Danes thanks to the purveyors of enforced multiculturalism.
Local police may protect Hassan bodily, but the halls of justice and legislation fight to reward his persecutors and tormentors.
Under Danish Penal Code (paragraph 266b) every Danish citizen is a criminal at some time or other. They’re just waiting for you to say the wrong thing. It prosecutes any “communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation.”
Merely quoting statistics or holy books (if it reveals unsavory facts) about another religion is illegal in Denmark. The original intent was to protect “minority religions” against bigotry and violence, but the effect has been draconian lip-zipping and constant attacks on free speech.
Yet another victim who dared defy enforced groveling and submission is artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan. In Denmark this is now a crime, particularly if you speak publicly against it. Even more heinous to the jurisprudence is that an ex-Muslim, a woman yet, should do this.
And so Firoozeh has been duly dragged to court and convicted of speaking what everyone already knows is true about Islam and their treatment of women: It sucks. Her works focus on specific human rights violation in Denmark, Iran and elsewhere in the name of Islam.
In the December 2011 Jyllands-Posten blog, Firoozeh gave her opinion of Islamic culture based on first-hand knowledge: “Muslim men to a great extent and everywhere in the world both rape, mistreat and kill their daughters. It is my opinion, being an Iranian-born Dane, that we are here facing a defective and inhuman culture – if this can be considered ‘culture’ at all. … This is a defective and inhuman culture, whose manual, the Quran, is even more immoral, objectionable and insane than the manuals of the two other world religions combined.”
Firoozeh’s personal opinion was considered so objectionable to Danish powers that she was convicted of “hate speech” – likely accused by one of the men who “rape, mistreat and kill” and was hoping to keep his religious inspiration a secret.
For both Firoozeh and Hassan the Islamic community is the source of death threats, real hate speech and physical attacks. All this abuse is backed by the ridiculous Danish speech codes and their selective enforcers.
When the Nazis invaded Demark, Penal Code 266b would have made things so much easier – no need for sturm und drang, fight and force. Just enlist a few Nazi sympathizers and march those patriotic citizens (hey, why not the entire army?) into court. Sobbing Danes with German cousins could berate the cruelty of the Danish people for saying all those hateful, mean things about Nazis. And if they had the caliber of prosecutors and lawmakers Danes are saddled with now – there would be no need for war, only utter and total subjugation.
You couldn’t make this up 30 years ago in a comedy and have people believe it, but the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) is just full of laughs. Jesper Langballe was prosecuted for mentioning the existence of rape and honor killings in Muslim communities, ironically while he was arguing for yet another victim of these statutes. Theoretically there are exceptions for journalists and scientists, but artists, literary persons and others do not enjoy equal protection under Danish law.
All Danish thinkers or artists are now required to be in a constant state of defense over not only their own creations, but also any feelings of “offense” by any other human being. Virtually anyone can claim offense without proving intent or danger, and there is no clear legal definition of these vague terms. Yet offending free thinkers are liable to jail sentences up to 2 years and hefty fines. That will teach those pesky Danes to speak without permission from minorities first.
Poets criticized and mocked injustice and corruption of their culture for centuries in the West, and there’s the rub. Denmark has apparently lost its identification with the West and its silly experiments in free speech, religious tolerance, human rights and all that.
A literary person worth their calcium has opinions of his own or will never say anything of significance. It is a primary job requirement. Tolstoy, Hugo, Shakespeare and Dante didn’t check with the Pope or Czar before publications. William Blake claimed that all art should be “an affront to the state.”
For daring to form opinions on his own life, religion and upbringing, Hassan is branded an “ignorant Islamophobe” by Danish authorities. Ignorant? Hassan is as ignorant of Muslim life in Denmark as Lady Gaga is ignorant of public nudity. But Danish prosecutors don’t have to be sane, only prove that the hate-speech codes have been violated. And may they always be.
Prosecutors were unable to prove actual falsehood in Firioozeh’s words, as they come by her own experience or are easily verifiable. Her defense tried to cite the Iranian criminal code (article 220), which allows parents to kill their own children and is still in use. This relevant evidence was refused because the courts (allegedly) didn’t have a good enough translation. And if they had, there would have been some other excuse to incriminate a very brave young woman. Isn’t this reminiscent of early America and the mock Salem witch trials? Just a means to the pre-determined ends.
Why are Danish authorities and the tiny minority of Muslims (3-4 percent) in Denmark allowed to shut down all public discourse and criticism of truly terrible crimes in the name of Islam and other social ills? And why are the majority of artists there and across the world passively condoning this? I’ll wrestle with that one another day.
When the wrath of an entire nation falls on Firoozeh Bazrafkan for the high crime of whipping a Koran or on Yahya Hassan’s complaints about his father, who can deny the pen truly is mightier than the sword? Well, at least the flaccid, impotent weapon held by a tottering Danish government.
The phony indignation and hue and cry for their blood will undoubtedly give Hassan, Firoozeh and other persecuted artists much more material to work with in the future. Personally I look forward to seeing it.
In 2011 Danish artists were at least debating the importance and complications of free speech as it relates to art. The Danish Pavilion at the 54th International Venice Biennale was titled “Speech Matters.” Pavilion organizers acknowledged that freedom of speech is being accosted in both “authoritarian regimes and in liberal democracies” and that civil liberties are under increased threat.
If leftists think they will somehow evade the cold clutch of enforced diversity, they delude themselves. Hate-speech laws require constant self-monitoring and censorship, lest wickedly non-diverse thoughts leach into some art piece or literature.
You have to wonder when progressive dupes who helped to draft and enforce this type of legislation will rue their stupidity. Only on their tombstones when they are no longer threatened and there is no one to left to accuse them?
Thanks, Jihadwatch.org/ Saeftinghe.blogspot.com/ Firoozeh.dk/ SpeakEasy Europe.