Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Subversive Sausage Man


One of the cozy Danish "national tokens" is the so-called "pølsevogn" (Sausage van). It exploits the Danish tradition for producing pork in enormous quantities. The rather unpalatable remains from the butcheries are turned into the traditional Danish red sausage that is sold from the small, rickety vans at street corners.
Now the pølsevogn - or at least one pølsevogn in Copenhagen - has become a hotbed of revolutionary activity. The Guardian wrote about this peculiar phenomenon a few days ago:
It is an unlikely terrorist hideout, inhabited by an even less likely terrorist. But in the eyes of Denmark's ministry of justice, Preben Mikkelson, the 56-year-old grandfather cheerfully grilling half a dozen different kinds of sausages by the roadside earlier this week is at the very least a terrorist sympathiser. And if the Danish justice minister, Lene Espersen, has her way, soon his only contact with the culinary world will be prison rations.

What is happening to the peaceful little Kingdom of Denmark, once the pride of lovers of freedom of speech? Some young people, and the 56 year old grandfather and sausage seller, are producing T-shirts with the emblems of FARC and PFLP, and selling them, even from a pølsevogn (which is near to blasphemous to this symbol of the national identity!) - not to support killings and terrorism, but to give a fraction of the money to humanitarian purposes.
Their organisation "Fighters and Lovers" wants to assist down-trodden people in their freedom fight. The Danish state does not like this idea. Even though the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and justice minister Lene Espersen are self-professed champions of free speech, these young people - and the sausage seller - should not be allowed to share this freedom. With the EU terror lists and the Danish penal code in their hands they're prosecuting the young activists, who can be sentenced to 10 years in jail.
On a famous Danish tourist poster you can see a policeman helping a duck and its ducklings across the street - peace and quiet in the romantic Kingdom. Not for young people who want to make a difference in the world!


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