Friday, October 06, 2006

Did Anyone Say “Dhimmi”?

Update: Fjordman sends us this background on the article’s author:

Regarding Thomas Hylland Eriksen: He’s one of the biggest idiots in Norway, yet pops up on TV and talks about Multiculturalism and tolerance quite frequently. He’s one of those academics who will bash Western civilization every chance he gets, yet is still “respected” by some, and is leading a government sponsored project about the new Multicultural Norway.

Regular reader Phanarath has applied himself to the translation of the entire article from the Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet Snällposten referenced in our earlier post. It’s a review of a book about the Motoon crisis, and the general thrust seems to be: “Denmark brought this on herself, what with all those intolerant right-wing xenophobes stigmatizing the poor innocent Muslims.”

Notice that it was written in Norse, translated into Swedish, and then into English by a Dane. You want Multiculturalism, ladies and gentlemen? Then you’ve come to the right place!

Phanarath was unable to restrain himself from interpolating comments, which I have left in the text within square brackets:

[Did anyone say “Dhimmi”? It’s Dhimmi, all right!]

Thomas Hylland Eriksen reads about the cartoon crisis
- - - - - - - - - -
The MotoonsA year ago Jyllands Posten published the caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. That led to a crisis in Denmark’s relations with several Arab countries. But it was no coincidence that the cartoon crisis happened precisely in Denmark. Thomas Jylland Eriksen has read a book on the subject.

A year has gone by since Jyllands Posten published 12 caricature drawings of Mohamed. No one thought at the time that printing these cartoons would lead to a crisis in Denmark’s relationship with several Arab Countries, violent demonstrations all the way from Nigeria to Malaysia, burned-down embassies, flag burnings, and a boycott of Danish products.

“Cartoongate”, as the cartoon crisis is called in Great Britain, reminds us that it [Pyr — Sorry; I have no idea what Pyr means, that can’t be a word, lol] among Muslims in many countries. In itself the whole thing was no big deal, and the drawings were first and foremost exploited as an opportunity to express hate and frustration with root causes in other matters.

But it was no coincidence that the cartoon crisis broke out in Denmark, if we are to believe Rune Engelbreth Larsen and Tøger Seidenfaden, who recently published a book on the matter, “The Cartoon Crisis: An examination of background and responsibility”. The book impresses with its contents as well as a wealth of details. It follows the development of the case on a day-by-day basis, and seems to include most relevant events and quotes in Denmark as well as abroad.

Larsen and Seidenfaden, both active in the public opposition, tell (föredömligt?) about the development of the situation, but their main objective is to show what a divided society today’s Denmark has become.

The government of Fogh Rasmussen, who is dependant upon support from the xenophobic Dansk Folkeparti (Danish Peoples’ Party), as is well known, dit its utmost to ignore the growing rage from the surrounding world over the drawings. Commentators from all countries, from South Africa and USA to Great Britain and Sweden, argued that freedom of speech requires responsibility.

Leading Danish Commentators (Bent Jensen, Ulrik Høy and Lars Hedegaard were among the most active in this) struck back by insisting that freedom of speech should be absolute, and that it would be a catastrophe for Denmark if considerations of Muslim sentiments were to prevent people from speaking freely.

It is not easy to take a principled stand in these matters. As Larsen and Seidenfarden points out, Jyllands Posten declined to print caricatures of Jesus some years back, because they assumed it would offend their readers. Besides, it is difficult to count cultural editor Flemming Rose among those who consider it important to prioritize dialog and compromises in order to achieve a peaceful coexistence between ethnic Danes and Muslim immigrants.

The book is a gold mine of astonishing quotes and political turnarounds among the politicians of the country. It bases its cosmopolitan recommendations on showing respect in the meeting between cultures, especially if you are the stronger side. The authors do not draw the conclusion that it should be illegal to print the cartoons, but that the cartoons fit into a rhetorical monster supported by the government and parts of the press, where the production of “enemy pictures” of Islam and Muslims is seen as a good and important thing.

According to Larsen and [Said Intifada, sorry hehe] Seidenfaden the cartoon crisis can be seen as: (1) a question about freedom of speech vs. censorship, (2) an example of religious war between the west and Islam. (3) an expression of the stigmatizing and teasing Muslims experience in Denmark. Depending on how one sees it, it is likely that one reaches different conclusions. Larsen and Seidenfaden argues that the matter can only be understood as a long-term campaign to discredit and exclude Muslims. It is a war-maximizing tactic that doesn’t bode well for a future multicultural Denmark.

As a worried reader I read their illuminating book first and foremost as a study of a deeply divided and polarized country. Those who place themselves on the different sides of the cartoon crisis are also far apart in other areas. If you read Politiken [Seidenfarden’s Newspaper] and Information you get a totally different picture of Denmark than you do if you read Jyllands Posten and Weekend-Avisen. Compared to Norway and particularly Sweden, the language here is hard and unforgiving in debates about immigration and minority questions, which have dominated the public debate in Denmark for several years now.

Several European Countries are divided along similar lines, but nowhere are they more visible then in Denmark. But the line cannot just be described as a division between cosmopolitan tolerance and nationalistic closed-mindedness.

Many of the hardest critics of Islam are neither Christian nor nationalistic but Liberals; this exemplifies what Philosopher John Grey describes as the Liberal dilemma. On the one side Liberalism is a teaching about freedom and tolerance, but on the other side it also represents a way of looking at life. Where the liberal way of looking at life ends, there the liberals’ liberalism also ends. The cosmopolitan point of view is contrary to this and bases itself on the belief that we have basically different ways of viewing the good in life and therefore looks for similarities and ways to communicate.

The cultural strife in Denmark isn’t about Islam vs. Danishness, but about the conflict between dogmatic liberalism and cosmopolitan will to compromise. The Muslim role in this changes from scapegoat to hostage to victim The Danish public should thanks its Creator for providing such farsighted Muslims as Naser Khader and Rushy Rashid, who have chosen to take a militant middle position. There is room for more.

Thomas Hylland Eriksen
Professor in Social Anthropology at Oslo University
Translated from Norwegian to Swedish by: Osten Roswall


Vasarahammer said...

From another perspective the 'conflict' in Denmark can be seen as the one between utopian multiculturalist left and pragmatic right that still believes in basic Western values. Basically, the same conflict exists in all Western countries. Denmark is one of the few countries that have refused to surrender to the multiculturalist dogma.

The utopian left believes in appeasement and cultural relativism. The right believes that the traditional liberal values of Western civilization are worth defending and that accommodating to the intolerant minority poses a danger in itself.

jillosophy said...

I am in total agreement with the posts you lay out on your site... I post on my site much on the same topics.
I see Dhimmitude creeping into our own society here in the US and am afraid people just won't see it until it's too late. They don't want to understand or believe it when you try and tell them... so it might help if they can see it happening to someone else first. On my blog this week I posted several stories of Universities and elementary schools indoctrinating Dhimmitude in the guise of "sensitivity training". Makes me sick.

kepiblanc said...

I'm not so sure the traditional left/right distinction applies here in Denmark. One of the authors of that book, Tøger Seidenfaden is the chief editor of the daily Politiken. That newspaper is everything but 'left' in the classic understanding of that term : it supported the Nazi's during WWII, it advocates tax reductions for the rich and it promotes an elitist cultural attitude for the privileged classes. No ordinary worker or salaryman reads it. It's political affiliation is with the most petit-bourgeois party in the country.

Another - recently published - book Islamister & Naïvister (translation not needed) outsells it by orders of magnitude. And that book is written by two socialists, Karen Jespersen & Ralf Pittelkow. Needless to say, the latter isn't friendly towards our local dhimmies (naïvists).

As opposed to neighboring countries our parliament isn't divided almost fifty-fifty with regard to Islam. The present government under PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen has a comfortable majority, but when it comes to immigration it is supported by the largest party in opposition, the Social Democrats. Those "draconian" immigration-laws will stand, no matter what.

I happen to know quite a few former hard-line communists who detest Islam as much as you and me. They tend to stick with their original marxism-leninism and condemn religion as "opium for the people". And they - correctly - make a distinction between race and religion. They too consider the Islamic "virtues" like child mutilation, oppression of women, polygamy, treason, lying, cheating and general, gory behavior as pure bararism. One of them just call Islam "the new feudalism".

So - to sum it up - I guess the dhimmitude in this country is a very limited issue. And I agree with Fjordman that we - first and foremost - need to fight the EU. In that respect we might even find allies on the left side....

anti-uffe said...

"Notice that it was written in Norse, translated into Swedish, and then into English by a Dane. You want Multiculturalism, ladies and gentlemen? Then you’ve come to the right place!"

...and this sentence was then read by a Dane listening to the gorgeous Anoushka Shankar, half-sister of Norah Jones, both daughters of Ravi Shankar, who of course inspired George Harrison to explore classical Indian music that eventually crept into The Beatles' music.

You know, there are aspects of multiculturalism that aren't that bad. It's just that those cultures that go under the name Muslim spoil the picture.

anti-uffe said...

I tend to be the party pooper in debates such as this, by pointing out that Danish anti-dhimmitude perhaps gets more credit than it deserves.

Kepiblanc, I pretty much agree with what you say (although I don't believe the execrable Politiken was pro-German per se during WWII?), but don't forget that even here in Denmark

* the news media are staunchly anti-American, anti-Israel (Jyllands-Posten being an exception) and do not favour truly draconian self-defense measures to save our country;

* the Social Democrats only give their lukewarm support for quasi-draconian measures against uncontrolled immigration due to grass-roots pressure from disaffected voters who might otherwise vote for the Danish People's Party instead; former SD Foreign Minister Mogens Lykketoft is staunchly anti-Israel, pro-Arab;

* while we may have the freest debate in all of Dar al-Harb, no action of any significant consequence is actually undertaken. Denmark too will see a dramatically rising Muslim population segment in the coming decades that is bound to transform our society for the worse;

* not even what should be the litmus test of true anti-dhimmitude here, the jailing and/or deportation of the Motoon hate imams has taken place, nor could it for fear of the backlash in the Muslim ghettos.

So while our reputation abroad makes me infinitely proud, these qualifiers should not be forgotten.

Zerosumgame said...


You do not sound optimistic about the future of Denmark.

Are you planning to emigrate?

anti-uffe said...

Zerosumgame: no, I'm not optimistic about the future of the West as a whole. Even if Denmark made an example and, say, shut down madrassas and expelled anyone even whispering the word sharia, what good would it do if the rest of Europe was falling apart just across the border? I want to be optimistic, but I still have to see a constructive future scenario that is a) plausible, and b) likely to be implemented.

If emigrating were a realistic option for me, I certainly would consider going to the US. I know, running away from the problem rather than fighting it is cowardly, but being up against a constant wall of denial and apathy can wear out one's patience.

Vasarahammer said...

"Personally I still do not see Multiculturalism as a nasty concept but the way it has been defined is."

People with different cultural background can interact peacefully and learn to live together without a doubt. That applies to muslims as well meaning those muslims that do not take their religion seriously.

However, the Multiculturalism practised by political and academic elites is completely another matter. It involves propaganda, brainwashing and denigrating the majority culture. The standard explanation to all problems between groups of people is racism and discrimination carried out by the dominant majority.

anti-uffe: "Danish anti-dhimmitude perhaps gets more credit than it deserves."

Perhaps it does but the problem is that there are so few good examples around in Europe.

I only have a superficial understanding of Danish politics, but reading the Danish newspapers gives you the impression that issues related to islam and immigration are discussed more openly than in completely dhimmified Sweden and rapidly dhimmifying Finland.

Yorkshireminer said...

Multiculturalism does not work, and never has worked, and striving for it is nothing more than wishful thinking. Multicultural societies have existed and have existed for certain periods of time, but only if there is a strong central and usually totalitarian government. Here are some good examples U.S.S R. The Austrian Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, India before the British left. They all inevitable break down when the central government breaks down, and splinter into separate Ethnic countries. Multiculturalism is not something to be strived for, but to be avoided like the plaque. Multiculturalism is the wet dream of the mentally retarded, they have the mental capacity of a deranged sheep and should be humanly put down.

This crisis in the west could have been avoided if our political leaders had learnt their history. The solution was simple, Limited controlled immigration. Uncontrolled immigrations leads to parallel societies which inevitable fall at each others throats. I will give an example which might amuse the Danish readers on this Blogg. In the eighth century Britain suffered from massive, Danish immigration waves, bloody battles took place, and the Anglo Saxons states and cultures were almost destroyed. The two sides came to a compromise which was in fact the creation of two de facto counties. Draw a diagonal line from just below Liverpool on the west coast to London and there you have roughly the boarder. The results of of this compromise are still there North, of this dividing line was the Danelaw where Danish law ruled. There are roughly 3,000 villages with Danish or Scandinavian names for example Skegness, Lowestoft, Scunthorpe, Maltby, Kirkby in this part of the country and very few south of the line.

It didn't stop the fighting though. Most Britishers know the date 1066 and the battle of Hasting where Duke William of Normandy defeated the Saxon King Harold Goodwin and made himself King of England. They don't know, or have forgotten that King Harold had defeated a Danish Army at Stamford Bridge a few weeks before. Anyway King Willie got his Kingdom, and it took him a while to get everything running as he wanted it, about twenty years into his reign he was having a bit of a problem with the Danish part of his Kingdom, you know what the Danes are like, riot for the most mundane reason, burn down embassies. Perhaps he didn't like a caricature some Dane had drawn. He solved it with a good dose of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing. Disproportionate response in the modern gobbledegook. The fact is, he solved the problem for good, and England became united and we were not subjected to another 300 years of intermittent warfare.

While history might not repeat itself it does tend to rhyme. I see the same thing happening now, massive immigration, a parallel society developing the demand for there own laws, if these demands are conceded, then you have in fact created separate countries in your own country. Will the following generations suffer the same intermittent blood letting our forefathers did? How long will it be before some leader stumbles by accident on the concept of disproportional response, and how bloody will be the bloodbath?

X said...

Well you did tax us to the hilt and ravish our wimins a fair bit, you naughty pirates you... :P

The reality is, we are you to a certain extent. The great thing about the British isles until very recently was that each invading nation sort of got absorbed after about a century. Occasionally two. We're very good at taking the best bits of a culture and making it part of us without losing the essential nature of what we were beforehand. Sort of like the Borg, really. Only nicer.

Well, a bit nicer, anyway...

Yorkshireminer said...

Unfortunately the ethnic cleansing of the Danes was not so light hearted as I described it really was a genocidal holocaust. Fat Willy the Bastard really was a bastard in more ways than one he was illegitimate and he died from a rupturing his stomach on the pommel of his saddle when his horse stumbled while campaigning in France. He killed nearly everything between the Humber and Edinburgh. Thousands of Danes fled back to Denmark and King Canute (Knud) was raising a fleet of a thousand ships, but was being rather slow about it. Campaigning in those day was a seasonal occupation. The Vikings went out in the summer and got back in time for the harvest, anyway he had a row with one or two of his followers and he was killed in Odense. He is buried in the big church there.

You certainly have adorned our language with plenty of useful words such as Lov (Law) øl (ale)and your bacon and butter is definitely worth mentioning, but some of your breeding stock you have exported to us have not been of the highest quality. Anne Sister of Christian IV married James I of England and gave birth to Charles I who was a disaster. Prince George of Denmark married Fat Anne I. He is reputed to have been a slow learner (not all that bright). He must have had some Danish qualities that she like for she had 17 children with him, all of whom died before reaching maturity. Anne dieing childless let in the terrible Hanoverian Dynasty, which was even worse than then Stewarts. We mustn't forget princess Alexandra daughter of Christian IX Who married Edward the VII of England unfortunately the first child was Albert Duke of Clarence, another reputed slow learner, he was not only a homosexual but vicious with it. There are many tales about him having to be rescued from West End male brothels during the 1880s for causing a disturbance. The Royal family must have breathed a collective sigh of relief when he died in 1892. Mind you all told the relationship between our two countries has always been cordial and close and both countries have benefited, and my attitude is certainly one of warmth and affection.

moif said...

Hmmm.... speaking of translations, here is one I did today:

This is a translation of an opinion piece posted on todays Jyllans Postens online comments section by Prof. Hans Hauge, of the Nordisk Institut, Aarhus Universitet. I translated it for my political blog because I think its a good indication of how a great many Danes feel about Islam these days.

The title translates to 'Sated with Islam'.


It was a great relief to read, the other day, Eckhard Fuhr's article in Die Welt. Finally I felt I'd found a kindred spirit. Its so tiresome to wander alone with a problem and always wonderful when others share one's afflictions

I'm actually assuming there must be many who feel as we two. How?
I, or we, am sick of hearing about Islam, Muslims, the Koran and Mohammed. I simply cannot be bothered with it any more and I will do all I can to ensure I don't have to. I'm sick and tired of it and I get into a bad mood every time its mentioned or have to hear about it. I don't care to see any more colouful "Images of the Middle East"
(Hauge is refering to a set of giant images which were hung about København recently) because I have seen enough pictures already. Couldn't we just ban pictures for a while? Imagine if for 1,001 days we didn't have to see pictures of mosques being blown up!

I can't be arsed listening to any more mufti's, imams, experts, bishops or 'naivister' making statements. They can talk all they want but I won't even try to understand them. I don't want to read about all the delegations sent to Gaza by the Danish People's Church. They may hold all the shitty/cool concerts they wish about the "Co-existence of Civilizations" they want, but I would rather just exist, not 'co-exist'.

I couldn't give a toss that nothing has come of all these initiatives, They don't help at all and the contributors know it full well, for these many initaitives worked then they could point to their results and they can't. They can't because the whole thing is a charade without effect.

I will abstain from any dialogue and confine myself to a monologue, for it is equally dramatic. I don't even know what it is we're supposed to be in dialogue about. Conversation does not further understanding, no matter what people may think. The progressives talk about Bush in the same way that Al Qaeda fellow, whose name I neither know nor wish to know, does. When well educated Danes use the same language as people like him then thats where I get out. All the best, hugs n kisses. I don't want to learn anything new about islam. I don't want to read the Koran, just as I don't want to read the Book of Mormon.

I have left the debate and wish to live in blissful ignorance about how thes emen have succeeded in getting their women to wear head scarves. They can dress their women how ever they please as far as I am concerned. It doesn't interest me. There are so many other things I'd rather know about.

I love the idea of parallel socities. What do we need all this integration for any way? It never works. Its a waste of time and all the people employed in the immigration business who earn their moneythere could be usefully emplyed looking after old people and children, or delivering papers
(This is a sarcastic reference to Anders Fogh Rasmussens speech at the recent opening of Parliament). I don't want to hear the Islamicists nor the anti Islamicists. They can say ugly things about islam or they can say nice things. I will say nothing. Its equally tiresom listening to Louise Frevert (Dansk Folkeparti politician) as Tøger Seidenfaden (Editor of Politiken), for they are but mirror images of each other, bound together in a love hate symbiosis. Lets all just shut up and forget about islam!

moif said...

Actually, I'm pretty sure it was the Norwegian King Harald Hardrada whom Harold fought at Stamford bridge, not the Danish king.


X said...

Yeah, the norwegian invasion is the reason we weren't able to repulse the Normans. If not for him, Harold might well have been able to start a process that would have resulted in a greater scandanavian alliance of kingdoms and possibly even a large-scale colonisation of the Americas.

kepiblanc said...

Yorkshireminer --

Mind you all told the relationship between our two countries has always been cordial and close and both countries have benefited, and my attitude is certainly one of warmth and affection.

Ahem...For example : When in 1801 lord Horatio Nelson managed to evade the guns of Kronborg at Elsinore with his fleet of some 100 ships (because the Swedes betrayed "The Armed Neutrality Alliance" and hold their fire from Kärnan Fortress) and he saw the Danish line of battleships and gave the order : "Bring me my pair of brown trousers..."

anti-uffe said...


Both Danish and English are Germanic languages, so the relationship goes back way further than the ravaging vikings. Later cultural meetings always introduce new words, loan words, as was the case with our looting and killing forefathers. For example, the Norman conquest brought new words related to law such as attorney general, court, court martial and numerous others, into the English language. The later colonial period meant the import of words such as pajamas, hooligan, brahmin into English.

One really fascinating example is the fact that English "yoke" (Danish "åg") means essentially the same as "yoga," from some Sanskrit word I don't remember. Here we are dealing with the Indo-European lineage of languages, stretching even further back in the mists of time.

Yorkshireminer said...

Dear Phanarath,
you are right, but it is a little more complicated than that, the English that is spoken today is really nothing more than a simplified amalgam of three languages Anglo Saxon, Danish and French with a good dose of Latin and Greek for good measure. Anglo Saxon was a very complex grammatical language After the Norman conquest, the Anglo Saxon Danish language that had evolved with many Danish words being dominant in the Area of agriculture and sailing and fishing, had a good layer of French words pasted on top, this is expressed in words concerning animals, most names for animals are Anglo Saxon, while the names to describe the meat are French. The name cow is Anglo Saxon/ Danish while the name for the meat is derived from the French Beef. The same for the word sheep which is Anglo Saxon while the name for the meat is mutton which is from the French and so it goes on. The great change came in the English language, came in that 150 year period between the end of the 100 year war really 117 years between France and England and the period of Shakespeare The works of Chaucer which corresponded roughly with the end of the 100 year war are virtually incomprehensible to the modern Englishman, while Shakespeare can be read in the original with very little difficulty, 500 years later. I have often pondered the reasons for this revolutionary change in the language, and have come to no conclusions, but revolutionary they were. The language was simplified. We got rid of the two types of articles le and la became the. English in many ways became freed from the strait jacket of Grammar and became a font of words that could be moulded in anyway the person wanted, this was so beautifully exploited by those great exponents of Elizabethan English Shakespeare and Ben Johnson.

Dear Moif
yes you are right it was Harald Hardrada and he was the King of Norway but a large part of his army was Danish drawn from the local population which were Danish. Norwegen settlements in Britain were mostly on the west coast Cumbria, Ireland the Isle of Mann and around Scotland with a couple in Wales. The Danes settled mainly and thickly down the east coast of Britain, and here they were certainly dominant. Unfortunately Harald got six foot of English earth instead of the whole country. If he had won the world would today would have certainly have had a more Scandinavian tinte and the English language would have contained more Scandinavian words. By the way have you bought that house in Vrinners?

Dear Kepiblanc,
It wasn't quiet brown trouser time, but I am certain that many on both sides filled there white canvas ones. A little light relief, because anecdotes make history come alive. When the English Fleet sailed passed Elsingor and were bombarded by the guns of Kronborg castle which if my memory serves me correctly were commanded by a famous Danish Sea Captain whose name I forget at the moment but I am certain fought at the battle of Copenhagen and died later in a sea battle. The English fleet under the command of Sir Hyde Parker and not Horatio Nelson replied and one cannon ball struck Elsingor town and completely demolished the British consulate. That fact I have from the mouth of that great popular Danish historian Palle Lauring, so it must be true. The battle was truly an horrendous affair and was not won by a lack of Danish valour, far from it, the causalities on both sides were horrific, but by the fact, that the English Fleet by being better training could fire there guns more quickly and deliver a greater weight of shot, in a shorter time, and Nelson was a better bluffer than the crown prince. The real problem for Denmark came 6 years later in 1807 when Wellington friendly bombarded Copenhagen. Yes I have seen a print of the bombardment of Copenhagen with the text ( The friendly bombardment of Copenhagen by the Duke of Wellington) so that once again must be true, and we took it upon ourselves to borrow the Danish battle fleet for the duration of hostilities. I don't think we ever gave it back. Apart from those trivial misunderstanding, relations between our two great counties have been most cordial, certainly from my side.

Deep regards to all of you I am now off to bed

Baron Bodissey said...

Yorkshireminer, Phanarath, et al. --

Your etymological analyses concerning English are excellent. I have just a couple of things to add:

Dutch -- a.k.a. Low German. Quite a bit of Dutch made its way into English between the Conquest and Shakespeare; a lot of it being nautical terminology. Think of all the common names of parts of ships, and then go look up the etymology -- lots of Dutch there, e.g. "boom". Yes, I know, there are Danish words there, too; but the Dutch were second only to the Portuguese in maritime matters in those days, so their words got borrowed a lot.

English was simplified after the Conquest because what became Middle and the Modern English was basically a pidgin, a patois that allowed for communication between the lower rungs of the French-speaking ladder and their English vassals. The inflexions had to be dropped and the syntax simplified for the new patois to be mutually comprehensible. By the time English was re-established as the language at Court, it had changed so much from Old English as to be barely recognizable. The fact that it was hardly written down at all during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries accelerated the transformation -- no fussy pedants cracking students on the knuckles and insisting that people "talk proper".

Phanarath -- Old English, Old Norse (the direct ancestor of your splendid mother tongue), and Old Icelandic were essentially the same language. English and Icelandic were particularly close. The rude barbarians on all the coasts of the North Sea could more or less understand each other's dialects, with a lot of "Eh? What's that you say?" passing between them.

They would have made fun of each other's pronunciation, too; but not when anyone from the other group was nearby with a sword in his hand.

We still do that. Danish vowels, for example -- when you Danes talk, it's like you have a mouth full of cake batter... ;)

X said...

Ever heard someone speaking Fresian? It's quite scary hearing something that sounds an awful lot like middle english in a modern world...

kepiblanc said...

Yorkshireminer said :
...relations between our two great counties have been most cordial, certainly from my side.

And from mine as well ! - When reading about those skirmishes between our two countries back in 1801 and 1807-14 I always feel two things : 1) The whole affair was a misunderstanding from the beginning and 2) admiration for the chevalry on both sides. Those were the times when a war could be fought in a 'civilized' manner.

The young officer you mention must be second-lieutenant : Peter Willemoes 1783-1808 who manouvered his floating gun-battery close to Nelson's flagship Elephant and hammered it in a way that made Nelson express his admiration. Willemoes died in the battle at Zealand Point where his ship-of-the-line Prince Christian met an overwhelming British force.

To our American friends here it may be of some interest that the British bombardment of Copenhagen 1807 was the first time rockets were used with success and thereby a prelude to the 1812 bombardment of your Fort McHenry - ...And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air....

Bastiat said...


Interesting article. If I had the chance to speak with the author or any of his likeminded countrymen, I would have to paraphase Trotsky:

"You may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is interested in you."

His floppy wrist, blasé attitude reminds me of a growing sense of indifference in the US toward the war on terror. I think that many Americans are beginning to lose interest in fighting this long war. What I see in the US leads me to believe that the US and the West will be hit again and again with Islamist terror until the general populace takes this problem seriously. Likewise, if the Danes are bored with Islam, I can only imagine "interesting times" in their future.