Some questions in the aftermath

Omar, DAN and Finn were put to rest last week. Three Danish citizens, they were the casualties of the shootings on February 16 and 17.
Freedom of speech? 

A substantial number of friends and supporters expressed their sympathy for Omar and his alleged points of view. Pointed fingers from the followers show that he was not alone. The delicate question is if they are now entitled to express social and religious points of view – including their sympathy for Omar. 

They commit no crime in doing this if they express themselves short of encouraging more crime. And they do appear to be doing a good job at provoking or upsetting a lot of the commentators who went all in to express their firm and uncompromised belief in the freedom of expression.

It’s still safe here

Dan will be remembered by his Jewish congregation and a whole lot more – all expressing genuine sympathy and grief. Some Jews say that they feel unsafe and are considering emigration. We ask to where with less risk? Not Israel and especially not to the neighbourhood of Gaza. 

Others have called for security to be tightened for the Jewish community, but how that can be done is a bit unclear. The Danish Jews are not only integrated, they are assimilated. Unless they go to the synagogue on Friday evening, no-one can tell who and what they are. They are just Danes, thank you.

He died in good company

Finn was as Danish as apple pie is American. He attended the kind of meeting that underlines what underpins Danish society. People debate, in a civilized and sometime heated way. But the vigour pales in comparison to the resolve to fight for the other party’s right to express their opinion. 

Finn was as a film producer an intellectual with a strong feeling for building values and coherence in society by dialogue – and nothing but dialogue. Hearts and minds have to be well informed, tolerant and have the capacity for growth. That creates the synergy which democracy is made of. 

However, it has to be remembered that dialogue is not only talk. It has to develop concessions to amalgamate the interests of humans of all sizes, races, education, age, gender etc.  We are not identical, but we do see the value of living together peacefully because we saw last week that the alternative is ugly.

Don’t fear the future

Are we now to buy bulletproof vests for the whole of the police force, notwithstanding the fact that those killed in the shootings did not wear any? Are we to tighten surveillance and security to a point where it is just as ridiculous as we see it in airports but not trains despite the bombings in Madrid and London? Are we to live in constant fear and suspicion towards our fellow citizens? 

We advise not. We shouldn’t be naïve, but we have to believe in our values, or otherwise they will be compromised by dark forces.

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