Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Excuse us for something I didn't do!

The retired Danish ambassador Herluf Hansen is travelling around in the Middle East apologizing for the prophet cartoons, Danish newspapers report this morning under big headlines. It's a private tour. Top politicians in the governing liberal party are very sceptical of this way of making private foreign policy, but they recognize Mr. Hansen's right to travel wherever he wants and say whatever he wants.
Mr. Hansen's connections and his rank and former position makes it possible for him to get access to high level officials in ME countries, and he has been interviewed to Algerian newspaper El Watan. Mr. Hansen tries to explain the Danish system of government, and how freedom of speech is interpreted in a Danish context.
According to Mr. Hansen, the editor of Jyllandsposten has made the fatal error of equating muslim with fundamentalist. A lot of people in Denmark have not understood that, he says, probably with an address as well to the liberal-conservative government under Anders Fogh Rasmussen's leadership.
At the same time Mr. Hansen gives the Arabs a lecture in social studies by explaining to them how the Danish system of government is based on the division of powers drawn up by political philosophers like John Locke and Montesquieu. Therefore neither the Danish prime minister, nor the government as such, can stop the free actions of a newspaper.

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