LFPC, a reader in Denmark, volunteered to translate an article for us that was written by Uwe Max Jensen in reply to the piece in the Times.
Mr. Jensen has been featured here several times in the past. His first appearance was as the artist who depicted a page of the Koran folded into an airplane crashing into tall buildings. In two subsequent occasions we reported on his involvement with Lars Vilks’ Art Project.
Of this latest article, LFPC has this to say:
Uwe Max Jensen, a Danish artist and journalist, in reply to a fawning piece in the NYT on Omar Marzouk, Arab-”Danish” comedian, wrote an article which has been posted at Snaphanen. He has also emailed it as a letter to the editor of NYT, but he doesn’t expect it to be published there.
I translated it into English, so any errors are mine.
For our European readers: factual errors in The New York Times are a standing joke amongst non-leftie intellectuals in the USA. The paper routinely — virtually every day — prints major errors of fact. Sometimes such errors appear prominently on the front page, and frequently they are crucial to the article’s main point. If the paper ever deigns to print a correction, it does so days later in an obscure corner deep inside the paper, so that the falsehoods on the front page often become “factoids” which persist for a long time in elite intellectual culture, and may never be fully erased.
Such is New York’s “paper of record”.
And now for LFPC’s translation:
The New York Times hits a new low- - - - - - - - -
by Uwe Max Jensen
NYT correspondent John Tagliabue has been talking to Danish comedian Omar Marzouk, the result being a feature article ( “Making a Caricature of a Nation’s Fears”, The New York Times, 2008/08/19).
In the following I will not comment on the views of Mr. Marzouk, views that I do not share. I will, however, comment on one point in particular. Omar Marzouk is of the opinion that the Danish Mohammed cartoons are offensive. He has the full right to be of that opinion. He forgets, however, that freedom of expression goes both ways.
In the autumn of 2005, Omar Marzouk strongly distanced himself from the Danish cartoons. On the same occasion he used his freedom of expression to mock the ‘death penalties’ issued on the Danish Mohammed cartoonists, in Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet.
Personally I get no amusement from mocking people in the middle of the crisis of their lives, and forced into hiding due to death threats. I do recognise, however, that Mr. Marzouk can use his freedom of expression in this fashion. This option is open to Omar Marzouk. It is, however, sheer hypocrisy and a blasphemy against freedom of expression for Omar Marzouk to use his own freedom of expression to make fun on behalf of the cartoonists threatened on their lives, and at the same time oppose the use of the same freedom of expression to make fun of a dead founder of a religion.
Enough about Omar Marzouk.
His hypocrisy speaks for itself.
Far worse is the NYT article itself, as it excels in factual errors and must be deemed a journalistic disaster for a respected newspaper such as The New York Times.
The article states that the Mohammed cartoons were reprinted in January, 2008. This is not correct. The cartoons were reprinted on February 13, 2008, and this was as a response to specific events which the NYT correspondent, for reasons unknown, doesn’t seem to find worthy of informing the readers of the paper about, even though these events are essential reasons for the reprinting.
On the 12th of February, 2008, at 4:30 AM, Danish police arrested three persons (two of whom are still being detained), under the suspicion of plotting to kill cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (who drew the cartoon of Mohammed carrying a bomb in his turban), and on the following day, 17 Danish papers (Berlingske Tidende, B.T., Århus Stiftstidende, Randers Amtsavis, Viborg Stifts Folkeblad, Dagbladet Holstebro-Struer, Dagbladet Ringkøbing-Skjern, Lemvig Folkeblad, Kristeligt Dagblad, Fyens Stiftstidende, Information, Nyhedsavisen, metroXpress, Der Nordschleswiger, Jyllands-Posten, Politiken and Ekstra Bladet, plus the Swedish daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet) reprinted Kurt Westergaard’s cartoon.
Lisbeth Knudsen, editor-in-chief of Berlingske Tidende, gave the following reason (in Jyllands-Posten):
“We in the Danish media must send a strong and unmistakable message to anybody getting similar mad ideas about attacking Kurt Westergaard.”
Later in the article, NYT correspondent John Tagliabue claims that Denmark has armed forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Neither is this correct.
Denmark has forces stationed in Afghanistan, but withdrew its military forces from Iraq in the summer of 2007.
Finally, Omar Marzouk gets away with claiming that Denmark has had no debate about the Mohammed cartoons.
This is not correct.
The Danes have discussed and are still discussing the Mohammed cartoons, intensely even. Furthermore, the cartoons have been the subject of two court cases stating that the cartoons are within the limits of Danish law, which, regarding critique and satire of religion, must be considered wide. This must be seen in the light of the fact that Danish painter Jens Jørgen Thorsen, funded by the government-sponsored Film Institute, has made a feature film about the sex life of Jesus Christ (The Return of Jesus, 1992), and on a wall belonging to the Danish Ministry of Traffic has painted the crucified Jesus Christ with an erect penis (train station of Birkerød, autumn 1989).