Viggo Mortensen on the terrorist attack on Copenhagen

Source: Ekstra Bladet

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In February two men were killed and five police officers were injured in an attack on a meeting to discuss the freedom of speech and in an attack on a synagogue in central Copenhagen. Ekstra Bladet asks Viggo: What is your general opinion on freedom of expression?

"In Germany, I once heard the following: Tact is the ability to point out the unpleasant without getting unpleasant yourself.

And I think that's a really wise way of living.

One ought to be free to say, write or draw anything, and to express one's thoughts publicly. But at the same time we must also be aware, that what we say can harass others," Viggo says, adding:

"Let's say I go for a walk. And all of a sudden a car is close to running me over, while I am crossing the street. If I call the driver a bloody idiot, it may be that he or she gets out of the car and hits me in the head - or, as has happened to me a few times in Los Angeles, takes aim at me with a gun. This can happen. Although it is my right to say that the person was driving dangerously and wrong, people can get infuriated if you draw attention to their bad behavior. In a way we are basically all wild animals. We have to learn to behave 'human'.

What happened in Copenhagen 14th February, is a lot more serious than what I just described, but if we always speak out or act with tactlessness, without thinking about what we do, then fear and mistrust will continue to spread instead of a sense of community and cooperation. Denmark and other countries will as societies become even more polarized and influenced by the concept of 'the enemy'. It is easy to just go on saying and doing anything in any way without showing consideration for others - just because you think you have the right to do so, and not care about other people's feelings and the consequences of our words and actions.

Of course, the authorities and the people need to make greater efforts to identify violent and threatening people before they can attack us. But ruthless and arrogant behavior as a response to angry people doesn't work in the long run in a family, a relationship or a democracy. I do not deny that the situation is dangerous and complicated, but I prefer a peaceful personal dialogue and cooperation with others rather than isolating myself as a human being and completely leaving my social interaction and security to police and politicians," says Viggo Mortensen.
Last edited: 8 March 2015 09:57:06
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