Islam vs. Lars Wilks
The title is (that which there is) the one that there is a large consensus on, it is true in individual cases such as Salman Rushie, Kurt Westergård, and Lars Vilks and supposedly other to us un- known victims, but false if one wants to understand cause and effect to its full extent.
We consider the freedom of speech to be inviolable and inalienable, and one of the most important pillars that our entire Western cultural sphere rests on, we consider the freedom of speech to be a decisive basis for the prosperity and progress that we have had and as that which creates new visions for our future.
The artistic freedom of speech is regarded as having a special character in modernity, as artists are assumed to be able to fundamentally critically turn set values upside-down in the artistic process and through that assure that power and practice will not make society grind to a halt.
Yet this applies just as much to the sciences, philosophy, journalists and a line of other professionals, that spirit and knowledge and enlightenment may happen freely and impartially, without power or vested interests being allowed to hinder it.
It is indisputable that religions in their organizational form generate power structures and that they in their nature can intimidate and repress both the individual and society is just as indisputable. Exactly for that reason religion must be subjected to critique, discussion, any assertion of absolute truth should be disputable. Which is why it seems completely intolerable to us that people like Lars Vilks should be forced to live with threats against his life.
In our understanding, Lars Vilks has used his clear right to express himself artistically. There are several reasons that that is not the case in the present global condition, I will here attempt to outline a few.
Humans have been mistreated and murdered throughout all of history because they thought, wrote or acted against the existing power and values.
In our cultural tradition, Socrates, who empties the cup of poison, is an icon that is established with the Age of Enlightenment, and with the following democratic forms of state, these rights are formalized.
For a couple of centuries we in the West have gotten accustomed to our values being the best for everyone, and for periods of time we have dominated other cultures to assume these values more or less voluntarily.
It has been difficult for the modern Utopia to accept that any new technology can result in both progress and development but just as well create conflicts and destruction.
It has made the world relatively smaller that air travel has become everyone’s possibility, that dish antennas from satellites can get signals wherever with whatever, the so-called social media has become the parliament of the street and mob rule.
The highly celebrated Arab Spring became a digital bubble among elite and townspeople, there was no popular depth, Isis had not been possible without Facebook, and a drawing at an exhibition in Sweden by Lars Vilks can be spread all over the globe via digital media and be exploited by fanatics and holders of power.
The world is more complex and man not necessarily a rational being of reason, the image of the West and the dominance of the West throughout centuries create an unbecoming mixture of anger and fascination. Imams and theocracies and various dictators want to have all of our modern technology and progress, but fight tooth and nail, and with what is worse, our values.
It is about power and privileges, but it has a legitimacy in history and the examples that we have demonstrated just within the last couple of years in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria.
Large groups of populations can be mobilized against “The Big Satan” with these examples, and in that propaganda war Lars Vilks’ drawings can be used as an example of how Western values suppress and ridicule their culture.
Presumably the perpetrator at Krudttønden never saw the drawing, and presumably he has no idea who Lars Vilks is, but Lars Vilks has been pointed out as a symbol by a more or less organized Fatwa, and by killing the symbol you strike a “Big Satan.”
Is there any solution here and now for Lars Vilks? No. The web’s haphazard amount of nonsense can make any given radicalized, frustrated young man a murderer as the world is now.
We have to defend Lars Vilks’ person and his artistic integrity at all costs, his symbol revert to us.
It will be a long struggle, in a world that has become complex and bewildering, the digital fogs are without direction and substance, but we must discuss a new global enlightenment, if we want democracy and civil rights, we have to start with ourselves.
To restrict imams and dictatorial power demands insight, understanding, enlightenment, respect, tolerance, dialogue and a diversity of efforts.
Yet this tragic conflict simultaneously covers up for how we equally threaten democracy and freedom of speech, still big- ger multi-national groups dominate democracies, commercial »freedom of speech« is put highly above artistic, research re- lated and general freedom of speech, politicians, spin doctors, legislate on open administration, which directly opposes an open and free democratic debate.
Economists and consultancies like Mckinsey create the agenda that the politicians pursue, often undemocratic and contrary to professionals’ clear recommendations.
And if the free trade agreement with USA is carried through, as it is now put forward, it means that extraordinary courts of justice can overrule democratic decisions.
Likewise, our enthusiasm for the many options of digital media conceals that this is the most centralistic technology known of, states and companies can open and close and control haphazardly.
This is so complex for people globally that we seek symbols that can give us an identity in this chaos.
Dear Lars, you have, whether you want it or not, become a symbol for both frustrated fanatics and their rulers’ anger and hate against our values and for us who believe in an inalienable right to believe, think and speak freely.