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Friday, February 24, 2006

Time to Stand With Denmark For Americans' Freedom of the Press, Speech; Sitzpinklers Stay Away from Danish Embassy Demo



Journalist Christopher Hitchens recently called for a demonstration of support today at the Danish Embassy for Denmark and the principles of freedom of speech and the press.

Hitchens specifically called on journalists and bloggers in the D.C. area to join him.

I will be there. If you are in the D.C. area and care about your First Amendment freedoms, understand that Denmark and Jyllands Posten, its embattled newspaper, are standing in for America. We are the Great Satan the Islamofascists really want to kill.

Standing with the Danes today in D.C. is a good place to show where you really stand.

UPDATE: No Sitzpinklers at Demo for Danes

There were between 75 and 100 folks on the street outside of the Embassy of Denmark today at noon, with more than a few carrying handmade signs and many modestly chanting support for freedom of speech and the Danes on a cold, windy Friday afternoon in the nation's capital.

Organizer Christopher Hitchens of Slate.com was in jovial spirits, as indeed it seemed was the case with everybody present. I heard a few foreign accents but the crowd overwhelmingly was young, fervent and American.

Among the media folks covering the event was Molly Hennenberg of FOX News. I saw at least two other camera crews and there seemed to be a handful or so of print reporters circulating among the demonstrators asking questions and taking notes.

Among those in the crowd I saw were James Joyner of Outside the Beltway blog, Tony Blankley, Editorial Page Editor of The Washington Times, Cliff May, President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, and Washington Standard Editor Bill Kristol.

I had to leave about half-way through the proceedings and there were another dozen or so folks walking toward the scene as I walked away. The Danish embassy is located two long blocks up a sidestreet that goes to the top of a large hill near Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.

Traffic was snarled a bit and there is virtually no street parking in that part of D.C., so lots of people were arriving on foot after a very long walk up that hill. Just getting up the hill was a demonstration of devotion to the principle of freedom of speech.

I'll have some photos to post later today, so check back.

By the way, there clearly were no "sitzpinklers" in this crowd. As Captain's Quarters' Ed Morrissey explained earlier today, sitzpinkler is a German word for a man who urinates from a sitting position. The word also carries the connotation of being a wimp.

Morrissey challenged readers to use "sitzpinkler in a sentence today." How's this, Ed? "The sitzpinklers stayed in their newsrooms today, choosing the comfort and safety they imagine behind brick walls instead of the cold reality that talk is cheap, free speech isn't."

UPDATE II: Vital Perspective Has Photos!

And lots of them from a rally at which "Washingtonians showed their peaceful solidarity with the people of Denmark." Go here for the post.

And here's more from Joyner, who attended despite having a very difficult time getting to the event.

UPDATE III: Photos

Patrick Rockefeller kindly provided some of his photos of the demonstration to Tapscott's Copy Desk. That's Hitchens in the center of the photo above. Look for more photos in the latest posts above. Here. Here. Here. And here.

A bunch more photos at Corsair the Rational Pirate, including one over the head and shoulders of Hitchens as he speaks to the crowd, with Molly Henneberg of FOX News and her cameraman looking on in the front row.

There was even a Kierkegaardian moment, as documented by Vodkapundit, who also received photos from Patrick Rockefeller.

UPDATE IV: Video!

Hitchens speech is up. Age of Hooper has it here.

UPDATE V: Perfect Timing

Denmark's biggest paper, Jylland-Posten, is the one that started this brohaha by publishing the controversial cartoons. Now, the day before our demonstration at the Danish embassy, the paper is recognized with a major journalism award.

The Victor Award was given for "having opened everyone's eyes by showing how easy it is to introduce cracks in freedom of expression and how so-called political correctness is infiltrating what we believe to be inalienable rights," said Hans Engell. He's the editor of tabloid Ekstra Bladet, which awards the prize.

HT: Michelle Malkin

UPDATE VI: Power of Blogs

Linda Seebach, veteran Rocky Mountain News editorial columnist, emails this note about the demonstration's coverage in the Blogosphere compared to that of the mainstream media:

"It might be of interest to note that the first wire service story to cross our desks was from Cox News Service by way of the NYT News Service, and it moved at 3:22 p.m. our time (though it had been announced on the Cox budge tnearly three hours earlier). By then it had been covered on a dozen blogsand I had had time to fashion an editorial out of Hitchens' speech."

UPDATE VII: A Final Word About Organizing

Roger L. Simon, one of the founders of Pajamas Media, has some thoughts about the low turnout and the absence of mainstream media coverage. Considering the short notice and the fact the demonstration was called by a lone journalist rather than an organization. the turnout of 100 or so folks doesn't concern me so much.

What does concern me is the absence of the MSMers. FOX News was there but otherwise it was if the MSMers couldn't be bothered. To my knowledge, this was the first demonstration in support of the Danes and free speech here in America, so that made the event significant news. The networks and the Post, Times, etc. should have been there.