Wednesday, March 01, 2006
This year for my birthday, my husband gave me a very timely gift. (Pun intended.) I now have a beautiful new Skagen watch. My taste has long been for clean, simple, modern lines, and I have long admired Skagen. In light of recent events, I am happy to be supporting a Danish company. Just to be clear, this is not meant as an expression of hostility to Muslims. It is meant as an expression of support for a country that has been the victim of an unjust, over-broad, and hugely (and intentionally) overblown reaction to some offensive cartoons. It is meant as an expression of support for a people who have a history of bravely defending against injustice. And it is meant as an expression of support for a liberal way of life whose core values include freedom of speech.
As an example, consider "Pastor" Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, who attend the funerals of those who die of AIDS wielding big signs that say "God hates fags" and "Burn in Hell". I'd venture to say that the level of offense that I feel at this hateful man and his ilk is every bit on par with how devout Muslims may have felt about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Yet much as I despise Phelps, I would never dream of putting out a death contract on him, and as much as I find his message reprehensible, I would never condone a government that censored his freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is for all of us, or it is for none of us. There is no in between.
Having said all that, let me now admire my new Skagen watch. What time is it? Ah, yes. My watch says it's time to have a bit more Havarti cheese and pop open another Carlsberg beer.