Nobles: Aage Bjerre, for serving freedom, one slice at a time.
In February 2003, as the West debated the invasion of Iraq, Mr. Bjerre closed the doors of his pizzeria to German and French tourists visiting the Danish island of Fanoe. Why the Germans and French? Well, it might be remembered that as the United States was presenting its case against Iraq to the U.N. Security Council, France and Germany said they would veto any resolution that called for war.
Mr. Bjerre was eventually arrested, found guilty of discrimination by a Danish court and ordered to pay a $900 fine. Mr. Bjerre refused to pay. So, on Tuesday, the court sentenced him to eight days in jail.
Asked by the Associated Press to explain his stand, Mr. Bjerre said, “I’m doing it to show my sympathy with the United States. It shows how seriously I mean it.” Indeed it does. The bad publicity, as well as the repeated vandalism, forced Mr. Bjerre to sell his pizzeria. “But one should also remember that eight days is a small price to pay when American soldiers go to Iraq and risk their limbs and lives,” he said. And just like that, America’s faith in Europe is restored.
To ease his time in jail, Mr. Bjerre said he’s bringing a photograph of President Bush and Laura Bush and an American flag. “I think that will brighten up the room,” he said. (Mr. Bush, wouldn’t a signed photograph brighten it up even more?)
To learn more about this most American of Europeans, visit Mr. Bjerre’s Web site at www.aagespizza.com.
For his unabashed love of this country, Mr. Bjerre is the Noble of the week.
Knaves: Certain sectors of the British press, for their shortlived bout of common sense.
After September 11, but before July 7, the BBC had a policy of identifying terrorists in reports not as “terrorists,” but as “bombers” or “militants.” Then something strange happened on the way to the printers following London’s worst terrorist attack. Suddenly “bombers” or “militants” were “terrorists” again. But, just as suddenly, they went back to being “bombers.” As the London Daily Telegraph reports: “Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC’s website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as ‘bombers.’ ”
Meanwhile, over at the similarly liberal London Guardian, Dilpazier Aslam, a British Muslim, tells his countrymen that “what happened in London was a sad day and not the way to express your political anger.” Yes, he’s trying to be serious. “The Muslim community is no monolithic whole,” Mr. Aslam went on. “Second- and third-generation Muslims are without the don’t-rock-the-boat attitude … We’re much sassier with our opinions, not caring if the boat gets rocked.” This nothing less than an apology for terrorism, and the Guardian publishes it.
For suggesting that “sassy” “bombers” were just expressing their “political anger,” the BBC and the Guardian are the Knaves of the week.