Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Swedish Radio Interviews Lars Hedegaard: Part 1

On November 28th, the Danish author and historian Lars Hedegaard was interviewed on Swedish Radio. Steen has posted a complete Danish transcript, along with the video (the SR story is here).

Our Danish correspondent TB took it upon himself to organize a translation of the interview into English. The job was too large for one person (even if that person is a Viking), so he and I enlisted the help of Zonka and Kepiblanc. The result is broken into three parts.

Lars Hedegaard on SR

TB translated the first section. The interviewer for Swedish Radio is Sören Wibeck (Note: there are vulgarities in this text, and they are direct translations from the original academic Swedish source):

SR: (Speaking about an excerpt in Lars Hedegaard’s “The 100 Best” [more about the book here]): What is it that we see here?
LH: Groft SagtTo the right we see my text “The New Spiritual/Mental Princes”, and to the left we see Kurt Westergaard’s illustration of the text. The text takes as its point of origin in that it is written during the so-called Muhammad Crisis in December 2005, and apparently someone seemed to think that it would be possible to obtain peace if five Danish universities would institute a so-called Muhammad week, that is, to celebrate the Prophet. There were some principals on Danish universities who thought that that was a good idea. I have written about that incident, in a sarcastic and ironic way, that it would off course create dissatisfaction among some other groups who need to make aware of themselves. Therefore I suggest in the text that one could also make an Adolf Hitler week in some institutions, and then I write “It would of course create the problem that the to events would appeal to the same crowd of people. Therefore they have to arrange for the two events so they do not collide in time.” By the way, this was the text that never made it to print. I got a warning from Berlingske Tidende that they never wanted to see that kind of thing again. Now it is here, printed for the first time.

[Translator’s comment — more at Atlas Shrugs; LH translates the piece himself:

Cause for Celebration

Finally a modicum of peace seems to have descended over Jyllands-Posten’s Muhammad cartoons. Following his vain attempts to motivate the paper’s editors or at least the prime minister to apologize, the leader of the Islamic Faith Community, imam Abu Laban has resolved that it would be sufficient satisfaction if Jyllands-Posten together with five universities would arrange a special festival to celebrate the prophet’s many good qualities. This proposal is now being considered, but several university presidents have already stated that this is a very good idea.

Maybe it will turn into an annual event: the Danish universities’ Muhammad week.
Which leaves many institutions and media with an equal need to make their mark chagrined that others have monopolized Muhammad. But despair not. So far nobody has thought of celebrating Hitler’s birthday. He may have been hard on the Jews but that is all the rage these days. And like the prophet he had many admirable qualities. He didn’t like subhumans but loved dogs. He detested smoking and drinking and was nice to his female secretaries. He ate lots of vegetables, was fond of hikes in the mountains and despised Americans. If that isn’t cause for celebration, Roughly Speaking [[the name of the column; in Danish Groft Sagt — TB]] doesn’t know what it would take.

Of course one would have to make sure that the two arrangements didn’t collide — especially because they would largely appeal to the same audience.]
SR: Why did they not want to print it?
- - - - - - - - -
LH: The comparison was too awful and terrible. One is not allowed to write things like that. So I did. And the person, who was involved on the Muslim side in making the Muhammad week was the now deceased imam Abu Laban. And there you have Westergaard’s drawing of Hitler with a bomb on his head, that says: Adolf Laban.

Adolf LabanAnother one that one might want to mention — I should maybe just say, that many of my contributions to Groft Sagt [“Roughly Speaking”] have nothing to do with Islam but a lot of other things: Danish politics, foreign politics, criticism of religions in general, critic of Christianity, the gender debate, and so on. One I find funny in particular is this one. It is called “News from Research”. It will generate interest because it is about Swedish matters. Malmös Frie Kvindeuniversitet [Free Women University of Malmö.] held a three-day course for women in upright urinating. They thought it was important for women to stand up when urinating so they did not have to feel ashamed by sitting down, so they made this three days course for women to make them able to adjust the jet so they did not pee on their pants. They also had to learn to sew some special trousers called pussy-pants [Translator’s comment: terminology of the university] instead of dick-pants, and then I write here: “It is of course a very important contribution to the equality of gender and maybe this is where we should have started, instead of making quotas for women on boards.” And Kurt Westergaard made a drawing where a woman stands up and pees beside a man in a pissoir. And then he writes: “Now there is no doubt whether a woman is able to rape a man,” and then a woman with an erect penis is drawn on the wall. This is the kind of thing depicted in the book.

[Translator’s comment — LH’s translation of the specific text from Atlas Shrugs:

On the Peeing Front

While Danes are grappling with one of the heaviest social and human issues of our times, i.e. the shortage of female CEOs and board members, the pioneering country of Sweden has already attacked the root cause of sexual inequality — the fact that men stand up when they urinate whereas most women tend to sit down. This disparity gives rise to so many distortions that Malmoe’s Free Women’s University has just completed the three-day course in Upright Urination for Women. One of the university’s directors, Aasa Staahl, describes the procedure in the daily Sydsvenska Dabladet: You can either use a funnel-like device or you may direct the jet by means of a special squeeze with your fingers. And it is important for women to master this new skill, as many of them feel exposed when they have to pull down their pants and bare their bottom. The Free Women’s University has also taught its students to make special “pussypanties” to replace the old “cockpanties” — to use the university’s terminology.
Before we go ahead and introduce forced quotas on women for top positions in society, we would do well to consider if equality of peeing might not in itself solve many of the problems that have proved intractable up till now. The day may well dawn when men and women are able to use the same urinals and — who knows — cross jets.]
SR: Okay, we shall bring you a little closer to the Swedish audience, who do not know you. What should we tell them?
LH: My background is that I am educated as a historian. History and English are my specialties, and I also taught in high school many years ago. Later I became an editor, writer, and author and this is how I make my living today. I am also the chairman of Trykkefrihedsselskabet [click here to see Hirsi Ali; Ibn Warraq; Naser Khader and others’ opinions about Trykkefrihedsselskabet]. This is an organization that exists only to protect Freedom of Speech.
SR: We will come back to that, but you were also chief editor for Information?
LH: Yes I was. In the period from 1987 till 1990 I was chief editor for Dagbladet Information [“Daily Information”, a newspaper in Denmark]
SR: You are described as a left-orientated. What are you today?
LH: I still consider my self as left-wing. What has happened is that I have been sticking to my views that I had when I was young, when we supported full freedom of speech. The full right to criticize. Especially the right to criticize people who want to hold themselves up as judges over other people — religious authorities, the Dark Age rulers — criticism of religions, and the right to blasphemy. I saw it, when I was young, as a very leftist thing to do. And I have stuck to that. Today it is considered as extremely right-wing, that’s is not my fault. It must be all the others who have changed. I have not.
SR: You wrote that column in Berlingske Tidende, Groft Sagt [“Roughly Speaking”] over a period of ten years. What characterized it?
LH: The idea of the column at that time when it started in 2000 emerged where the whole climate of debate was completely dominated by those who called themselves left-wing ,or by political correctness. There was no opposition. Then the debate editor at Berlingske Tidende at that time, Bent Blüdnikow, came up with the idea that we should make a fearless, sarcastic, ironic, aggressive column that had other views. That became what we did in Groft Sagt, which is ironic, sarcastic and some times very funny as some people say, but first of all without any awe towards authorities of any kind. After I got fired it will probably become something else but that was the way it was when I was there.
SR: Why did you get fired?
LH: Well, you will have to ask those people about that. In the last month I have been asked about it by many journalists from Denmark and abroad, why was I fired? The official explanation is that it was too boring, the things I wrote. Then the journalists always ask: “Do you believe in that explanation?”. And then I say:” No, I don’t believe in that”.

Then they say: “What do you think is the explanation?”. Then I say: “I think the explanation is that I have written way to much about Islam, and they don’t want that”. Because the readers of Berlingske Tidende live in areas of Denmark where there are no Muslims. They live in the northern suburbs of Copenhagen in nice houses and they don’t want to hear anything about anything. It is not their concern. They will gladly sell the country, they have no problems selling the lower classes in Denmark, and in reality they do not show any solidarity with our country.
SR: Why do you publish it now as a book?
LH: Well, I do it to make a memorial of my contribution. Also because I have received so much encouragement from people who are dissatisfied with the fact that they can no longer read my columns in the paper. I get phone calls and receive letters, etc. People stop me in the street. So I thought, in this way they can always remember how it was when I wrote.
SR: What does it mean that Kurt Westergaard made the illustrations, in your opinion?
LH: It means everything! Kurt Westergaard is famous around the world. One could discuss whether Michael Laudrup [The best soccer player in Danish history — TB], Hans Christian Andersen, or Kurt Westergaard is the most famous Dane, but it is one of these three guys. It means everything to me that he wanted to do it. He said yes immediately, and it shows that his and my way of thinking fit exceptionally well, so I am very happy about the drawings he has made.
SR: Do you think we will have another cartoon debate now?
LH: No, I actually don’t think so. We have had that cartoon debate, and it revealed that Denmark did not give in. They succeeded in intimidating neither the Danish government nor the Danish population. They succeeded in intimidating the politically correct elite, the arts community, the intellectuals, and the journalists.

Part 2 of the Swedish Radio interview with Lars Hedegaard will be posted here tomorrow, as translated by Zonka.

Photo ©Snaphanen.


Mother Effingby said...

It is good to see some humor, that is, more humor coming out of Scandalnavelgazingstan these dayses. Keep up the good work, GoV!