“Security concerns” have cancelled most of Lars Vilks’ North American tour.
Not sure the point of having an army and cops if… oh wait, of course: the authorities are too busy organizing “Islamist Heritage Month”!
I’ll be there tonight. Expect to be searched at the door.
Here’s an important message from Craig Snider, Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Philadelphia:
Here I sit in the comfort of my living room this morning, surrounded by picture windows, taking time to write my thoughts about the last few days with Lars Vilks, Swedish artist who has no such luxury.
Vilks has been condemned for a pencil drawing he drew of Mohammed depicted as a dog in traffic. An enterprising Jihadi can earn $100,000 for executing Vilks, and get $50,000 extra if a knife is used to do the job.
This week, federal agencies and local law enforcement assigned a small army to protect Vilks so it wouldn’t happen here. As Director of the Philadelphia offices of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, I invited Vilks to Philadelphia as part of a North American Tour to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Danish Cartoon controversy, sparked by political cartoon depiction of Mohammed with a ticking time bomb in his Turban.
The FBI and Homeland Security deemed the risk so high, that I had no choice to pull the plug on the public event. Instead I arranged a series of press interviews at an undisclosed location. Were it not for the interest of the press and their wide coverage, silencing Vilks would have marked a win for the Jihad, and another loss for freedom of speech and artistic expression.
Lars Vilks is among a small cadre of everyday people around the world living in unusual times and drawn to acts of social disobedience. Men like Bjorn Larsen in Canada, Lars Hedegaard in Denmark, co-founders of the International Free Press Society defend Vilks and his Danish compatriot, Kurt Westegaard and their right to freedom of expression in a free society.
During my two days with Vilks, and Hedegaard who made the trip as well, I learned a great deal about the meaning of courage and overcame any doubts I had about becoming publicly identified with their cause.
The question many had was, if Vilks knew that such an illustration would spark Islamic rage, why do it? In his soft-spoken manner, Vilks explained he was an equal opportunity iconoclast; why should Islam be spared from his artistic criticisms of religion any more than Christians, Jews or Hindus? He has insulted them all.
And the irony is this: Most of us understand the risks of insulting Islam today, and ask, why do it? Lars Vilks asks, how can we permit violent Muslims, in a tolerant multicultural society, threaten critics with death and dismemberment? It’s a good question. The better question.
Vilks’ drawing was a deliberate protest against artistic self-censorship and a notice to the bad guys that its threats are not okay, will not work and will not stand in our culture.
We all owe him a debt of gratitude and can thank him by publishing our work and standing up to would-be murderers seeking to intimidate the rest of us into submission.
Create, write, publish, televise, broadcast—whatever—as an expression of your freedom of conscience.
Lars Vilks experiences the entire episode of this controversy as “process art”. To understand this vision, imagine a pebble being dropped into a still pool of water. The pebble drop is the instigating event, in this case, Vilk’s offending illustration; the concentric circles radiate outward in a ripple effect, representing all that we are experiencing throughout the world as a result. Vilks takes it all in, an actor in a morality play of his own design.
His next project, he claims, is to make a Fred Astaire-style musical out of it all.
Art is a subversive endeavor, he says, meant to push the boundaries, make us think. Maybe one day we can all sing and laugh about it all. Until then, I will be shaking the trees and rattling the cages of all those around me who take for granted the relative tranquility of our quiet neighborhoods and insulated lives.