- "The drama and the tragedy is that the only ones to win are the jihadists." — Flemming Rose, who published the Mohammed cartoons in 2005, as cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
- "Why the f*ck did you say yes to appear on stage with this terrorist target, are you stupid? Do you have a secret death wish? You have grandchildren now. Are you completely out of your mind? It's okay if you want to die yourself, but why are you taking the company though all this?" — The managers of Jyllands-Posten, to Flemming Rose.
- "We are also aware that we therefore bow to violence and intimidation." — Editorial, Jyllands-Posten.
- "I do not blame them that they care about the safety of employees. I have bodyguards 24 hours a day. However, I believe that we must stand firm. If Flemming shuts his mouth, democracy will be lost." — Naser Khader, a liberal Muslim of Syrian origin who lives in Denmark.
In the summer of 2005, the Danish artist Kåre Bluitgen, when he met a journalist from the Ritzaus Bureau news agency, said he was unable to find anyone willing to illustrate his book on Mohammed, the prophet of Islam.
Three illustrators he contacted, Bluitgen said, were too scared.
A few months later, Bluitgen reported that he had found someone willing to illustrate his book, but only on the condition of anonymity.
Like most Danish newspapers, Jyllands-Posten decided to publish an article about Bluitgen's case.
To test the state of freedom of expression, Flemming Rose, Jyllands-Posten's cultural editor at the time, called twelve cartoonists, and offered them $160 each to draw a caricature of Mohammed.
What then happened is a well-known, chilling story.
Much here. Read it all!
...A Danish comedian, Anders Matthesen, said that the newspaper and the cartoons were to blame for the Islamist violence -- the same official position as the entire European political and journalistic mainstream.
A year ago, for the 10th anniversary of the affair, instead of the cartoons, Jyllands-Posten came out with twelve white spaces.
These white spaces represent what Rose, in his previous book, called "Tavshedens tiranni" ("The Tyranny of Silence"). Naser Khader, a liberal Muslim of Syrian origin who lives in Denmark, wrote:
"I do not blame them that they care about the safety of employees.
I have bodyguards 24 hours a day. However,
I believe that we must stand firm. If Flemming shuts his mouth, democracy will be lost."
Is democracy lost?
The headquarters of Jyllands-Posten today has a barbed-wire fence two meters high and one kilometer long, a door with double lock (as in banks), and employees can only enter one at a time by typing in a personal code (a measure that did not protect Charlie Hebdo).
Meanwhile, the former editor, Carsten Juste, has withdrawn from journalism;
Kurt Westergaard lives in hiding in a fortress,
and Flemming Rose, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, fled to the United States.
Much, certainly, looks lost.
"We are not living in a 'free society' anymore, but in a 'fear society'", Rose has said.
Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.