The Political Animal

“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