“I’m Kurt Westergaard!”

I’m sorry I’m late picking up on this, but I’ve just caught up with Jeff Weintraub, who picked up the idea from Andrew Sullivan. The latest terror attack on the life of Kurt Westergaard, most prominent of the Danish cartoonists who famously depicted the Prophet Mohammed should not become yesterday’s news. Almost twenty-one years ago, I stood with hundreds of others outside the office of American PEN in lower Manhattan, where in response to the Iranian fatwa against him, we all shouted, “I’m Rushdie.” We all know the response then and over the years was cowering, weak, and ineffective. We find ourselves where we are.

Like Sullivan and Weintraub, I am reposting the original Danish cartoons, which the craven Yale University Press would not publish even in a book about the controversy. If you are a blogger or know a blogger, please spread this call and act. Let it go viral. Let us demonstrate something.

If you are someone who is offended by my posting of these cartoons and who believes I should not be permitted to do so, I am sorry you are offended. I am offended by your belief that I should not be able to post them. Where does that leave us? In a free society, there is no right not to be offended. In fact, we each have the right to offend the other. That right is called the right of free speech. It is spelled F-R-E-E. Free.

You have your beliefs and I have mine. Neither is greater than the other.

No, that’s not true. My beliefs are greater than yours. I believe in liberty and tolerance. Liberty and tolerance are greater than repression and intolerance.

With a tip of the hat to Dalton Trumbo, whose legacy lives on: “I’m Kurt Westergaard!”

Mohammed cartoonsi


3 thoughts on ““I’m Kurt Westergaard!”

  1. Jay, yes, Your beliefs are far, far better than theirs.

    “In a free society, there is no right not to be offended.”

    Sums it up, and that belief inevitably means that we are all going to get our noses rubbed in stuff we don’t like from time to time. It has been the major engine of societal advancement in the west. We are all free to form private associations that support our beliefs, but we have no right to demand that the rest of society follow them.

    I will publish the cartoons. It won’t exactly do Kurt Westergaard any good, though. Money, fame and success would do that. It would be nice to have a fund which every person who published the cartoons would pay, which fund would be devoted to the security needs of people like Kurt Westergaard.

    1. MOM, Westergaard himself, as I understand it, has security from the Danish government. But security for others who might not have it provided is a good cause. Would show determined resistance on a non-governmental level too. We could start a charity. You’re the Queen of Finance. You do the filings for the 501 C3, I’ll pen some press releases. 😉

  2. Kudos to you, Jay. Yes, freedom and tolerance are greater than repression and intolerance. We must keep repeating that until the merchants of repression, intolerance and death are placed where they belong – in the dustbin of history.

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