February 23, 2006

Hitch organises pro-Danish demo

For Americans living in the DC area, writer Christopher Hitchens has organised a peaceful demonstration outside the Danish Embassy at 32 Whitehaven St (off Massachusetts Avenue) to support the Danish people tomorrow (Friday) between noon and 1 p.m. He asks that people behave peacefully and have cheerful conversations among themselves. In other words, for an hour of your life, act like a Dane!

Apparently the response at christopher.hitchens@yahoo.com has been overwhelming. Just now, the tiny country of Denmark is holding the ramparts for freedom of the press - without the help of the pusillanimous British, American and Australian press or governments - alone. If you can't be there, go out and buy a pack of LurPak, Havarti or Danish blue! Let's hope this is the start of a wave of peaceful demonstrations of support for the Danes at their embassies and consulates in civilised countries. There must be a Danish consulate in Chicago or San Francisco. LA? Houston? (Cross posted at Samizdata.)

Posted by Verity at February 23, 2006 05:12 PM

A lot of the Danish "consulates" are actually what should be called honorary consulates, i.e. Danish nationals or U.S./Danish bi-nationals who have agreed to serve as consular agents. For example, the Danish consulate here in Portland, Oregon is a fellow attorney's office just upstairs from my office. I'd organize something if I didn't think it'd be more intrusive than supportive!

After all, he's got hours to bill!

Posted by: NewSisyphus at February 23, 2006 05:45 PM

NewSisyphus - Obviously, consulates of most countries in smaller cities are honorary all over the world. The official consulates are in the major trading cities. There would be no point in having a demonstration at an honorary consulate as it won't have the Danish coat of arms on the door. Go out and buy a pack of Danish blue (or something) tomorrow instead! It all racks up.

Posted by: Verity at February 23, 2006 06:02 PM

Danish Consulates are in New York and Chicago.

Posted by: Richard Heddleson at February 23, 2006 06:35 PM

OK - Anglosphereans - you know where to organise the next peaceful event with cheerful conversation! New York or Chicago.

I can't be at any of these - too far away - but I will buy a ceremonial pack of LurPak butter or Rosenborg blue cheese if someone organises an event in these either of these two great cities in solidarity with the Danes!

Posted by: Verity at February 23, 2006 08:27 PM

I'm dropping by the consular "office" here in St. Louis today at noon--I called up the diplomat who runs it, and he told me it's just his private home in a St. Louis suburb.

So I'm going over to just give him a bottle of Heering, a Danish liqueur, as a small token of my appreciation for what the Danish government and the Danish people have done for the cause of freedom of the press.

He was a bit cautious when I told him why I wanted to come by--I'm sure he's been fearing reprisals and getting hate mail for days--but I'm guessing he'll appreciate the thought of a little gift from home.....

Posted by: Garett at February 24, 2006 09:08 AM

Garett - Nice idea. He will report that back to the Foreign Office back in Copenhagen. Every little helps.

If you think he may fear that your gift is a ruse, send him an email of my post advertising Hitch's demo.

Posted by: Verity at February 24, 2006 10:04 AM

The visit with the St. Louis diplomat went great. I had already done what Verity recommended--I gave him the link to Chris Hitchens's original story. We sat down in his private office for half an hour and talked--about 10 minutes about the Cartoon Jihad, and the rest of the time about Vikings, Danish history, and their royal family. He also gave some very good (free!) advice about how to be an effective diplomat....advice that's too subtle and nuanced for me to sum up effectively in a blog post.

All in all, a very good experience. Based on my sample (n=1), the Danes have an effective, professional diplomatic corps, even in a far-flung place like St. Louis. If he's the caliber of person they put here, I can only imagine the quality of their top diplomats.....And now he's got me thinking about why Scandanavians are so good at cooperating......His intruiging theory: A short growing season required cooperation.....

Posted by: Garett at February 24, 2006 09:28 PM
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