Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Businessman with balls

In my last post, the Danish businessman Asger Aamund was mentioned as condemning the demands coming from Danish Industry. The following is his piece in Jyllands-Posten saturday (sorry, no link):

It is when you are under pressure, that you are tempted to give in. It is when you are under pressure, that you are lured into compromising. But it is also when you are under pressure, that you have to stand up for eachother.

In the middle og the debate over the disputed prophet-drawings the prominent businessman, CEO and board chariman Asger Aamund speaks up. And the message to politicians, Jyllands-Posten and the danish people is quite clear: "You´re not giving an inch of ground, no matter how much the political, diplomatic and economic pressure increases".

Even though Saudi Arabia has withdrawn its ambassador for consultations, and even though danish companies in the country with the official name Al-mamlaka al-Arabiya as-Saudiya fear a total boycot of danish goods, nobody can begin to give in, says Asger Aamund. ..

"As the pressure increases, it is very, very important that everybody stands firm. If the politicians or Jyllands-Posten start apologizing, it will have to very serious consequences: Firstly, it will send the signal, that you can always just start a boycot and thus remove freedom of speech. We are in a typical hostage situation, where Arla (Danish dairy giant - Henrik) has been taken hostage. If we want to avoid that in the future, we have to make an example out of it. Secondly, it will have the consequence that we institute a direct or indirect form of cencorship. It they succeed in quashing Jyllands-Posten, or the politicians become unsettled, the medie will be tempted to hold back. Next time, you for example have a critical article on the theocracy in Iran and are threatened, you will be tempted to say: No, we´re not doing this. That is why there only is one way: The politicians cannot hesitate, the prime minister has to stand firm, and the foreign minister has to use his diplomatic channels," says Asger Aamund. ..

He refers to the fact, that Denmark earlier has given in, and mentions the documentary "Deat of a princess" from 1980 as an example.

The movie was critical over the saudi government and showed, how the princess Mishael bint Fahd bint Mohammed of Saudi Arabia was beheaded in 1977, because she had been unfaithful to her husband. The documentary was shown in several european countries. Never in Denmark:

"Saudi-Arabia put enormous pressure on the english BBC, dutch radio and norwegian media. They succeeded in no places - except in Denmark, where DR (Danish national public television - Henrik) gave in. The case has been forgotten here, but probably not in Saudi Arabia, since they have succeeded in quashing freedom of speech," says Asger Aamund, who also mentions an example to contrary, when a danish paper during the Cultural Revolution in China 1966-69 published a carricature of Mao Tse-Tung.

"Back then the chinese ran amuck and sent shower of protests from the chinese embassy. but prime minister Jens Otto Krag (Social Democrat) reacted promptly and emphasized the structure of power in Denmark: We politicians on one side, the press on the other. After that, nothing was heard." ..

Asger Aamund also mentions other examples of Danish inconsequential behavior:

We have seen two bloody dictators: Augusto Pinochet of Chile and Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. One got the finger, the other the Elephant Order (the highest danish order - Henrik). As a small country, we have a tendency to apologize when the pressure gets big enough. In this case, you can say that the danes didnt care about the prophet, but about profits. We are pretty indifferent about islam, but dont want to be hit on the wallet. But we cannot make the same mistake again," says Asger Aamund.

But dont we rist, that the prophet-affair runs amuck with this position?

"Yes, we do. But the alternative is worse. The affair ends at some time, and if we give in, we are left helpless afterwards, because we have shown that if you push hard enough, we probably will give in."

Why do you enter this debate?

I did that too in 1980 about the documentary. I have been interested in industrial exports all my life, and if we dont put the foot down this time, it will go on in eternity," says Asger Aamund.

9 Comments:

Blogger Georgia_Orwell said...

I think this is an own-goal for Islamists as it has brought the intolerant nature of Islam to the attention of many people who would otherwise be blind to it.

Henrik - I am curious as to how the average Dane is reacting to these boycotts? I hope that they are starting to realise what they are up against.

I wish the Danish much luck and success in their resistance to this neanderthal movement.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Georgia_Orwell said...

I also think it is time that we in the West 'disengage' economically from Islam and Arabia - by that I mean find alternative means of fuel and stop propping up corrupt, apartheid regimes in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia and bowing like true dhimmis every time they behave like the spoilt children that they are.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Lagwolf said...

How about we start going after the fuel that is in places that aren't filled with Muslims? Like say ANWAR or off the Falklands? As the price of oil rises drilling for oil in these areas would be less hard to take for oil companies. If only we could muzzle the eco-weenies and their allies.

The US reliance on foreign oil can be squarely placed on the door of the enviromentalists who have opposed refining, oil storage and Nuclear plants whenever they are proposed.

5:11 AM  
Blogger eyesallaround said...

Balls and a brain.

7:38 AM  
Blogger eyesallaround said...

lagwolf,

There are about 1 trillion barrels of oil in the Athabasca Tar Sands in Alberta also :>)

7:43 AM  
Blogger Georgia_Orwell said...

There are many good reasons for weening ourselves off oil. Apart from the fact that we are propping up unsavoury regimes who blackmail us with the revenues generated, the burning of oil is not good for the environment and besides, it will run out sooner or later.

7:52 AM  
Blogger von Schlichtningen said...

I have just read a surprising article from Ekstrabladet (http://ekstrabladet.dk/VisArtikel.iasp?PageID=332924).

It is a thinly guised threat from the internal Danish Secret Service (PET).

People are advised to think twice before participating in demonstrations against Muslims. Otherwise you may be considered part of the extreme right.

PET is afraid of the situation escalating.

So while the Muslims promise death and torture, terrorism and bombs while burning Danish flags and brandishing weapons - peaceloving Danes should abstain from using their right of freedom?!?

8:50 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

We are in a typical hostage situation, where Arla (Danish dairy giant - Henrik) has been taken hostage.

I have learned that Arla itself apparently does not do business in Israel, although it does in Gulf states and in many countries around the world. Does anyone know whether that is because they are observing the longstanding and now unofficial Arab boycott of companies that do business in Israel? That would be ironic if true.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Yael K said...

It is true that you can't get Arla products here in Israel --I discovered that when I ran out to the store to "buy Danish" and was specifically looking to support Arla since they've been so hard hit. Not an Arla product to be found in any of the 3 stores I visited. Well, I did come away with some very good Lurpa butter and of course Danish cookies :)

11:57 PM  

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