Berlingske Tidende writes that Denmark would be unable to send land troops to a possible peace keeping force in Lebanon because the Danish armed forces have not enough military personnel. There are currently Danish troops in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and a mission to Sudan is being prepared. Denmark would, however, manage to send out a naval vessel to patrol the Lebanese coast.
Does this mean that a possible enemy is kindly requested to invade Denmark by sea rather than by land?
Danish universities are introducing smoking bans within campus buildings, Berlingske Tidende writes. Copenhagen Business School was the first to insist on outdoors only puffing from 1st July, followed by Roskilde University as from 1st August and University of Copenhagen 1st September. Aalborg University is expected to follow suite soon while University of Southern Denmark and University of Aarhus have banned smoking in public areas indoors.
Looks like Denmark does not want smokers to aquire a higher education. Which in turn is likely to produce further restrictions on smoking. I wonder what is happening to the famous Danish hygge.
Jyllands Posten writes that Danish wine farms are expecting to get a very good harvest this autumn due to the exceptionally warm and dry summer. “The grapes do not like rain in the Danish climate”, says Jens Michael Gundersen, the chairman of the Danish wine farmers’ association.
When I say Denmark, wine is certainly not the first you would think of. According to the wine farmers’ web site, EU approved Danish wine as an official agricultural product as of 1st August 2000.
The good news is that eight wireless free hotspots will be opened in Copenhagen tomorrow. The hot spots are the first in Denmark, Jyllands-Posten writes.
The bad news is that you can not surf the web through those hot spots. You can only access a tourist portal and the city’s web site.
In another article, Jyllands-Posten writes that some new EU member countries have passed Denmark in on line access to public services. I just wonder why.
Tags: kurdish, turkey
The Danish Daily Berlingske Tidende writes that 56 Kurdish mayors in Turkey are risking jail sentences up to ten years for writing a letter to the Prime Minister of Denmark. The mayors wrote to P.M. Anders Fogh Rasmussen to express their support for renewal of the license for the Danish based Kurdish TV station Roj TV.
The station transmits a variety of cultural, news and current affairs programmes in Kurdish dialects and in Arabic and Turkish. The transmissions can be received by satellite in large parts of Europe and Middle East. They can also be streamed through the Roj TV web site.
The Turkish authorities are accusing the 56 mayors for actively supporting PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU.
Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen said in a press conference in Brussels on Thursday that he finds it shocking that this sort of charges are being presented in a country that is seeking to become a member of the EU.
I read this rather small notice in the Danish paper Berlingske Tidende which seriously suggests that everything is not well in the land of Denmark. Apparently, 12 good citizens of Århus decided to organize a demonstration under the slogan “Stop islamizing Denmark”. They chose to have their rally in the suburb of Gellerup which is mainly populated by immigrants, many of them muslims.
Suggesting that Denmark would be islamized does not really make sense, baring in mind that this was the very country that managed to protect a newspaper’s right to publish comics that attended World wide attention. But in a democracy, you do not have to make sense to express your opinion. Everybody has a right to express their opinion, no matter how little sense it makes.
The Århus Police Department made an effort prior to the demonstration to convince representatives of different nationalities living in Gellerup that there was no reason to let themselves be provoked by this small demonstration. The strategy first looked like working well but a small number of local inhabitants started to throw stones at the 12 demonstrators who were very peacefully walking through the residential area while carrying banners against the alleged islamizing of Denmark.
If I see or hear somebody say something that I do not like, I have basically two options. I either argue back at them or I ignore them. But I never start throwing stones at them. No matter how little I like their opinion, they have a right to express it.
The police, of course has the duty of maintaining law and order. They also have the duty of defending the democratic rights of citizens. It is always hard to act to everybody’s satisfaction while attempting to fulfil those duties.
The Århus police apparently made a pragmatic decision to stop the demonstration. They were afraid that the situation would otherwise get out of hand. They protected law and order but they failed to protect the democratic rights of the demonstrators.
If the local inhabitants that were annoyed of the demonstration had chosen to ignore it or counter argue in a legal way, the Berlingske Tidende would propably not have had anything to report about. I would not even be writing this blog post. But they started to throw stones which made it a news story.
They propably never thought that throwing stones was to bring some bad publicity upon them. Their reaction could even be interpreted as a confirmation of the demonstrators’ message that I would not have agreed with without reading about this bizarre incident. Maybe Denmark is being islamized because the police chose to break the demonstration rather than protect the demonstrators.
The message being sent to everybody encountered by opinion they do not like is alarming. All you need to do is to throw stones upon anybody whose opinion you do not like. The police will eventually be there and make those people shut up.
That sort of a message is bad for Denmark and it is bad for democracy. Something is indeed rotten in the land of Denmark.
The Danish daily Berlinske Tidende writes that Danes must in future pay TV-license fee if they have a computer. The fee is motivated with the fact that it is possible to watch TV through the Internet.
This is the most disgraceful plan I have heard over a long time. It is also possible to use sugar for brewing alcoholic beverages. Why not impose alcohol tax on sugar as well? And sugar should by no means be sold to minors in food stores.
Marcel Bartels writes about similar plans in Germany. This raises the question whether there is an effort going on trying to impose a Europe wide media tax on Internet users. Should that be the case, it is the right time to protest now rather than wake up in front of unpleasent facts some morning.
A computer connected to the Internet can be used for a number of different purposes. Watching something as stupid as TV is the last of them to cross my mind. Watching TV is a passive way of consuming your time because you just receive what is served to you. You can not produce any content of your own into TV as you can in the Web. You can not discuss the contents of TV with other viewers or post comments to programmes to be transmitted together with the programme.
The idea of a media tax is to keep things as they are, i.e. let people stay as passive receivers of filtered information. The tax is basically being imposed upon freedom of opinion and speech and access to sources of your choice. A media tax is utterly undemocratic and must be faught with all means.
The Danish daily Jyllands-Posten printed some cartoons for quite some time ago. Although I read the paper through the web quite regulary, I did not see those cartoons at the time. I monitor Danish and other Scandinavian papers for the Estonian environmental web site Greengate.ee (Roheline Värav) whereby my focus is on the environmental news. Hence, those cartoons did not catch my eye until today.
The cartoons have caused a violent reaction against Denmark and the Danes in large parts of the muslim World. In many of the countries concerned, the freedom of press is not as self explanatory as it is in Europe and Scandinavia in particular. I guess the same could be said about the freedom of religion.
A counter reaction of the web community based on freedom of expression was bound to follow. The web site Supportdenmark.com is asking bloggers to publish these banners in their blogs and web sites:
The pictures were not particulary funny. I saw them today after posting a brief entry in my Estonian blog. A reader posted a comment including a link to the cartoons. I would not have published them but I acknowledge that anyone else has the right to do so. It is a question of freedom of expression and freedom of press. The decision was obviously made by the editors of Jyllands-Posten and they were within their rights to print them.
I would not invite a person that I know to be a practising muslim for a dinner and serve them pork. Neither would I serve a muslim alcohol. But I would sure expect a muslim to respect my right to eat pork or drink alcohol as long as I am not doing it in front of their kitchen door.
More importantly, as my good friend, colleague and fellow blogger Punane Hanrahan put it in his blog today, the fact that the Palestinian people and other muslim nations have suffered a lot under western colonialism, does not justify an attack against Danish journalists when they are exercising their freedom of expression. This is a point that I would have liked the International Federation of Journalists to recognize. As a member of an IFJ member union I was somewhat disappointed to read a very vague blog post by the IFJ general secretary Aidan White in the IFJ blog (sorry, individual posts do not seem to be linkable).
It would be stupid to say that Jyllands-Posten has by printing those cartoons somehow hurt islam as a religion. Islam is strong enough not to be hurt by some innocent cartoons. And the reaction against Denmark is strongly exaggerated. It is not making islam stronger but possibly vice versa.