Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lars Vilks Plays it for Laughs

Al Qaeda has a price on his head, but Lars Vilks isn’t taking it too seriously.

Our Danish correspondent CG sends along his translation of a brief article from Sveriges Television:

Vilks: Looks like a comedy

A ModoggieIn a TV interview with Reuters the artist Lars Vilks states that the situation can be compared to a comedy and that the death threats against him are part of that piece of art.

“Now Al-Qaida is part of the art project. Earlier Iran’s president and the flag-burners from Pakistan were enrolled,” he says.

He says that the debate that has risen is very important for integration because it shows that religion and politics are two different things. During the interview he once again draws a roundabout dog with a man’s head, a beard and a headscarf.

He’s taking things seriously enough, however, to allow the Swedish police to protect him when he returns from abroad. That’s interesting, since he considers Sweden a foreign country, and inhabits his own personal sovereign nation, Ladonia.

Meanwhile, a Swedish company doing business in the Middle Ages East is taking a courageous stance and removing Swedish flags from display:
- - - - - - - - -
A ModoggieTelecoms giant Ericsson has taken steps to reduce its visibility in the Middle East following Saturday’s threat by al-Qaeda in Iraq to target major Swedish companies if Sweden does not apologize for the publication in several newspapers of a caricature of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

In a statement calling for the liquidation of cartoonist Lars Vilks and newspaper editor Ulf Johansson, the groups purported leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi also specified a number of Swedish firms as potential targets.

“We know how to force you to apologize. If you do not, expect us to strike the businesses of your major firms like Ericsson, Scania, Volvo, IKEA and Electrolux.”

With thousands of employees in the Middle East, Ericsson said it was taking the threat very seriously.

Managers have reminded staff to bear in mind security precautions advising company representatives to keep a low profile, conceal the company trademark and take extra care when deciding where to park, said spokeswoman Åse Lindskog.

“And today we have taken further action by removing all our flags to further reduce our visible profile. We are doing this in several countries in the Middle East,” she said.

Visibility aside, however, Ericsson has no plans to stop doing business in the region.

“We are not a consumer goods company that has to preserve a distinctive image,” said Lindskog.

And how about Sweden? Does it have to preserve a distinctive image? Perhaps the image of a proud Scandinavian country with a heritage of Viking courage and ferocity, displaying its flag fearlessly? Or maybe that of a cringing lickspittle PC Socialist paradise, ready to prostrate itself before a bunch of snarling thugs?

We shall see.

Meanwhile, I’ll give Lars Vilks the last word.

Lars Vilks admitted he was surprised that the government had not yet commented on the matter.

“I can understand that they must be squirming, but they should come out and condemn this. It’s hard to believe that they haven’t done so,” he said.


For previous posts on Lars Vilks and the Roundabout Dogs, see the Modoggie Archives.


Conservative Swede said...


The police protection is also part of the art project!

PS. Lars doesn't consider himself living in Ladonia. He lives nearby in Sweden.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

The heat rachets up but Vilks (peace be apon him) is staying cool. When else was the last time anyone spotted an artist making a principled stand for anything worthwhile?

(Vaclav Havel? Anyone else since about 1990?)

He’s taking things seriously enough, however, to allow the Swedish police to protect him when he returns from abroad. That’s interesting, since he considers Sweden a foreign country, and inhabits his own personal sovereign nation, Ladonia.

Since the recognized country Sweden probably wouldn't permit the unrecognized country Ladonia to arm and entrench itself Vilks (pbuh) doesn't have much choice.

Playing for laughs? Surely, Vilks (pbuh) is serious about that as well, and has been the whole time. The whole affair has been about satire and ridicule from the beginning. If there's anything both PC authorities and Islam loathes, its ridicule. Look at the astonishingly poor quality of the offending cartoons, that is surely part of the joke. Looks like the work of a bored schoolchild drawn on a used napkin, not a art professor. Makes the offended parties look pretty ridiculous to say the least.

Vilks : Now Al-Qaida is part of the art project.

Another clever provocation.

CS : The police protection is also part of the art project!

Heh. Surely the best performance* art - ever.

*though quite multidisciplinary, and getting more so.

Papa Whiskey said...

Perusing the history section of its Web site, I note that Ladonia declared war against Sweden and the US on July 5, 2003. No casus belli is given. As the history only goes up to 2004, there may have been a denouement of which we’re as yet unaware.

Withal, one must hope that Lars will incorporate a good handgun into his art project, lest his person be appropriated by the jihadist enemy as a medium for an artwork in the style of Jackson Pollock.


Here are 4 rather typical and "schnell-translated" comments out of 164, taken from
Lars Vilks' blog: Del 393: Som rondellhund
- - - - -

comment nr 120 by stefan peterson | 2007/09/16 kl. 13:49:27
. . . . .
To all you Muslims and others who are loudmouthing and threatning everything and everyone on this blog. The problem is NOT Lars' rondelldoggie, he has only drawn an old man similar to an Arab with beard and turban that he claimed was an image of the prophet Muhammed. THE PROBLEM IS YOU and that YOU accept this assertion as a fact and that YOU YOURSELF see Muhammed in the picture.
With what RIGHT do you do that? Now, surely it is YOU alone that "offend" the prophet in your own thoughts and with these dreadfully ill-bread acts.
Also "the prime minister" and other politicians suffer from the same problem -- if you claim a thing sufficiently often and screams sufficientlely high, TRUTH is created.

Facts remain, what a picture represents, the beholder alone decides in his "sound or sick" brain. Lars' DRAWING can equally well be considered as a "tribute" to the prophet. YOU are the ones that perceive the drawing as an offence/insult - hardly would the prophet himself have done that, had he been alive today!
Be carefull when travelling back home, Lars, the world is full of idiots striving to become heroes.
- - - - -
comment nr 127 from "The true muslim" | 2007/09/16 kl. 14:26:06
. . . . .
We would gladly cut the neck of you and deliver your head to Meccka so that all Muslims can piss on it. You claim that you are not cautious about the death threats… and then you contact the Media like 'Aftonbladet' and points out that the Police and SÄPO do not take the thing seriously. My dear you old man, in your last days on the earth, you are so cautious and nervous and is too cowardly to recognize it. When we come so to take your life will we put on a leash on your arms and on your legs and first draw in all directions and call it art.
Try to be brave so long you can, because we will slaughter you without some award only for entertainment's sake. You are not worth a penny on this earth. You have better start looking for a celler or body guards in order to it will happen suddenly and painful. ALLAHo AKBAR
- - - - -
comment nr 133 by english speaking "Tito" | 2007/09/16 kl. 15:05:03
. . . . .
I believe you are a racist.
Freedom of expression should not be translated into provocation.
Not a religious man myself, i despise attempts at making a mockery of religious symbols. I am muslim by tradition (i.e. inherited from parents) but do not follow precepts at all. May be for one or two.
Leave them alone. Don’t you have anything else to talk about? Why pour more oil in the fire?
If the caricature in question is the one i saw on your website, it is pitiful and it is more pitiful that some fanatics, or dumb ignorant ‘muslims’, use it as an excuse once again to demonstrate they are still there and relegate Islam to some kind of backward, uncivilized religion.
I do not object to your way of expressing (feelings?) but simply to your provocation and arrogance.
From my perspective you can draw any damn thing you want but do not be selfish. If threats are real, you are jeopardizing the life of your fellow countrymen and women who travel around the world and more particularly in muslim countries, whether for tourism or business.
Millions of peaceful and tolerant muslims are today paying the price because of fanatics, who live in Sweden (who kindly gave political asylum to islamist terrorists), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, or any other country.
Your caricature, despite its lack of clarity, represents a reflexion of the racism that is within you. Not sure whether it is anti-arab or anti-muslim though.
- - - - -
comment nr 135 by "mellis" | 2007/09/16 kl. 15:21:37
. . . . .
Is there someone who wants to discuss how we shall intercept the islamisation of our country? My proposals are: ban against veil in public places, no child allowances for the numer tree, four etc child, and no contributions from State/Municipality to religious so called "free-schools", neighter christian nor muslim.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anonymous said...

So... Sweden has to apologize to the fanatics for having freedom of speech and freedom of expression... Ah yes... Ok... Then I demand Iran to apologize to me for having the color green in their flag.

magnus said...

A few thoughts:

Vilks has his art perspective and shall be honored as a brave artist. But reality isn't art, and I think the common debate and discourse in Sweden is still dominated by a multiculturalistic concept (a key problem I think is that any voice against the "Everything Including Islam Goes" attitude is not tolerated, regarded as heretical) and ignorance of what is really happening.


4,5 percent of the Swedish population are now Muslims. A few decades ago I think Muslims were fewer than 1 percent (France has had a Muslim population for generations). The immigration rate in this country is the largest in Europe, and the Muslim immigration should be very large (since authority regards Iraq as a country with civil war, Malmoe received 2006 more Iraqi immigrants than Germany, UK, Ireland, and Denmark all together!). Sweden may have more 15 percent Muslims in a few decades and there is a great risk that we'll then have a far more divided society than we have today. Two civilizations in one country and probably a large and fast growing minority striving for a gradual but total islamization of our society. I guess that many natives then will leave...

Now the politicians and journalists (liberals and socialists) just say that good labor politics solves all problems and that the immigration rate has no limit. They also blame Vilks and the publisher for the cartoon crises. (Above this we have a very "soft" Prime Minister.) It's all really scaring!

(Maybe Norway is not that close behind Sweden...)

Today it's easy for the media- and political "elite" to say that we have no problems that can't be solved, but the cultural problems has gradually (pretty fast for a society) increased and when this rage over a cartoon problem isn't possible to refuse, the paper Nerikes Allehanda is blamed and editors (e.g. Dagens Nyheter) discuss the lack of sensitivity in publishing Vilks (in Swedish) "roundabout dog".

(BTW: Nerikes Allehandas article in English.)

Andreas said...

While the death threats against him are totally unacceptable, his drawing leaves back the bad aftertaste of racism, in its association of Islam's prophet with an unclean animal (according to Islam) and its dehumanizing aspects, it reminds of the infamous Judensau, where Jews were depicted as or with pigs (an unclean animal according to Judaism) to insult Jews in the worst way.