Friday, May 15, 2015

A misleading headline

EUObserver, usually quite reliable, has come up with something problematic: Extremists pose challenge to Danish democracy screams the title but the story unfolds in a somewhat misleading fashion.

The "extremists" of the title are right-wing politicians from the Golden Dawn, a deeply unpleasant, authoritarian and racist Greek party to Geert Wilders, whose mostly main stream opinions are seen as beyond the pale because of his insistence on the need for immigrants to adapt to European values and for immigration to be controlled.
Far-right European politicians, Golden Dawn from Greece and Geert Wilders from the Netherlands, are attending a festival (Folkemodet) on the Danish island of Bornholm on 11-14 June.

The open-air political festival features prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as a main speaker as well as most of the government, opposition party leaders, business representatives, trade unions, media and cultural celebrities.

Folkemodet is a Danish counterpart to the famous Swedish Almedalveckan, which each year draws up to thousands of visitors to the Swedish island of Gotland.
So far, so unthreatening to democracy.
As many as 100,000 participants are expected to attend the Baltic sea island Bornholm event but this year's first-ever attendence by far-right politicians will prove a challenge to Denmark's tradition of openness and freedom of speech.

The presence of Wilders – who has received scores of death threats over the years for his anti-Islamic views – will also mean a large security upgrade at the popular festival.

The press freedom organisation, Trykkefrihedsselskabet, invited Wilders to speak.

Georgios Epitideios, a former general and Golden Dawn member of the European Parliament, has also confirmed his participation. Golden Dawn, from Greece, is considered to be a neo-Nazi party.

Epitideios was invited by ’The Danes’ party’, a small ultra-right party, which has no elected representatives at the national or local level.

"We have chosen to debate, among other things, what we want in Europe. And it is natural to invite a party that is really big," head of the party, Daniel Carlsen, told Berlingske Tidende.

The news has already caused several politicians to cancel their participation.

"There will be so many police on the island that it will spoil the whole mood, and it will ruin my experience," Liberal member of the Zealand Regional Council, Claus Bakke said.
So, let me get this straight. Certain politicians have been threatened by other people and will, therefore, need increased security; certain other politicians have, therefore, pulled out of the event either because as they blandly explain the atmosphere will be different or, as is much more likely, because they are scared; and it is the politicians who are being directly threatened that "pose challenge to Danish democracy" not those who issue the threats and are, as we know, prepared to carry them out or those who are virtually blackmailing the organizers by refusing the attend. Logical, it ain't.


  1. How I love such twists where the person 'who has received scores of death threats' is represented as being more dangerous than those who issue the threats, as well as demands to deny someone the freedom of speech in the name of freedom of speech. Poor Orwell must be rolling over in his tomb.

  2. Par for the Course these days.

    OT: Maybe not for the CH but still a centenary:


    1. Oh I don't know. An important event. I'll think as to where to put it.