Also read: Flemming Rose in Helsinki Finland Oct. 2015
Rose’s worry is that by reclassifying words as deeds, the distinction between verbal insult and actual physical violence is collapsed, with devastating consequences for free speech. Words and images, he concedes, can be hurtful. But they are not agents of mass destruction.
Flemming Rose: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
How the man behind the Danish cartoons crisis thinks about free speech, 10 years on
Flemming Rose is a marked man. To his liberal-left detractors, he is a bigoted Islamophobe, stirring up racial and religious hatred against an already embattled minority. To his defenders, he is a brave and unflinching advocate of Enlightenment values. To his jihadist persecutors, he is a blaspheming infidel fit for slaughter.
With all that symbolic baggage freighted to him, it’s easy to forget that Rose is actually a living, breathing human being, whose interior world can no more be reduced to an abstract noun than a person’s life story can be written on a postcard.
Rose, as well as being a father, husband, and grandfather, is a journalist and editor—or at least he was until earlier this year, on January 1 to be precise, when he vacated his position as the foreign-affairs editor of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.