Sydsvenskan the chief editor questions the official Swedish response—or rather the lack thereof—to the latest attacks on Swedish artist Lars Vilks, an advocate of free speech and freedom of expression. Sweden is a country which prides itself on being a highly democratic country where freedom of speech prevails, yet when it is threatened in the country, the Swedes choose to say nothing.
Lars Vilks was violently assaulted last week during his lecture on artistic freedom of expression at Uppsala University. Shortly after the attack at the lecture, arsonists targeted the artist’s house, and Vilks has received numerous death threats lately, as well.
As the chief editor of Sydsvenskan correctly argues, officials in the country should take a stance against the obvious breach of democratic rights. Yet, not one official in Sweden has chosen to do so. The choice of Swedish officials to remain silent can be perceived as a threat to the future of freedom of speech in Sweden.
The following are some important points extracted from Sydsvenskan:
-Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (Moderate) has not said a word.
-Opposition Leader Mona Sahlin (Social Democrat) is also silent.
- Leader of the People’s Party Jan Björklund, Maud Olofsson
(Center Party), Göran Hägglund (Christian Democrat) as well as the leaders of the Environment party—all frighteningly silent.
Even the Publishers’ Club (Publicistklubben), which sees ”guarding freedom of press and freedom of expression” as its main goal, seems to lack the words to speak out. Their chairman Ulrika Knutsson has previously chosen to mock Vilks.
The newspaper publishers’ group (Tidningsutgivarna), an organization that claims to “fight for the Swedish press and freedom of speech”, prefers to fight in silence.
It is important to note that the silence following the attacks on freedom of speech in Sweden speaks for itself and it is the mob that gets the message—to force its will on the public. At this time when boundaries are tested, this is a particularly crucial time for Swedish officials to speak out against mob rule. Sadly, while freedom of speech is threatened in universities and in the streets, Swedish authorities once again fail to respond. Ignoring these problems can only make the situation even worse than it is already. Is it any wonder that hate crime and ethnic violence are spiraling out of control, when the authorities are letting Jews and intellectuals pay the price of Sweden’s official indifference?