There was a “successful” terror attack in Sweden yesterday (Sweden Begins Terror Inquiry After Bombing in Stockholm – NYTimes.com). Sadly, a man was killed, but the goal was obviously to do far more harm, so in the grim calculus of these things I guess we must be quasi-thankful.
You really have to wonder what kind of twisted fantasy land such “Muslims” must live in to imagine such an action could somehow help anybody or any cause. Well other than, say, demagogues like Geert Wilders–or, more immediately, his just-out-of-diapers Swedish opposite number, Jimmie Åkesson–at the head of Muslim-baiting hordes that are laying waste to the Continent’s political traditions like modern-day Visigoths.
A recorded statement was emailed to a Swedish newspaper–considerately provided in English, Swedish and Arabic–claiming the collective punishment was earned by Sweden’s having allowed the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks to publish his offensive caricature of the Prophet in 2007 and by its being involved in the war in Afghanistan. I don’t appreciate Viks’ vile, childish scribblings anymore than the next guy–not that I find them particularly threatening or in need of censorship–and fully realize that a lot of outrageous, counterproductive, monstrously expensive and otherwise stupid things are happening in Af-Pak* but what kind of irresponsible fools could imagine an act like this could improve things for Muslims? The idea that bombing Stockholm will stem denigration of Islam and the Prophet, or weaken the resolve of Western hawks to “stay the course” in Afghanistan is foolish in the extreme.
When the Swedish Democrats slithered into parliament for the first time ever recently, Swedish political leaders across the spectrum vowed the country would not to follow in the footsteps of neighboring Denmark, where the political system has been held hostage by the once-ignored-but-now-kingmaking far-right Danish People’s Party (or “DF” for Dansk Folkeparti) for the last decade.
(This party’s influence was a key, generally unacknowledged, factor in the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy (a topic I’ve blogged quite a bit over the years) going to Hell in a Handbasket. As the international controversy started to brew in late-2005, then Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose party was in a coalition with DF, flouted diplomatic protocol and common sense–spurning attempts by diplomats from Muslim countries to defuse the crisis–in order to score points with the DF. To be sure, he’s not responsible for overreactions to the cartoons, but in his capacity as leader he basically chose for this otherwise trivial incident to become a flash point between Denmark and the Muslim world. And this was just the latest example of Rasmussen’s Liberal Party kowtowing to DF’s xenophobic sensibilities. In a sane world, leaders who cyncially pander to bigots and clumsily trigger disastrous international crises would get demoted to sorting mail; in ours, they become Secretary General of NATO. But I digress.)
Anyway, how long can one reasonably expect Sweden’s political class not to cave into the demands of such benighted but increasingly powerful constituencies when something like this happens?
With “brothers” like these, who needs enemies?
* An excellent source of honest, insightful and un-“embedded” coverage of America’s involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan is, incidentally, TomDispatch.com. It’s an invaluable antidote to the spineless and often Pravda-like coverage of the conflict found in the American corporate media.
Swedish leader urges tolerance after failed terror attack (Washington Post, 12/12/10):
Sweden’s prime minister on Sunday urged the country to “stand up for tolerance” after a botched terrorist attack in central Stockholm highlighted signs of growing Islamic extremism across the usually peaceful Scandinavian region.
Cooler heads seem to be prevailing in Stockholm, for now.