FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mark Steyn to receive the Sappho Award for 2010
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK—International bestselling author and commentator Mark Steyn will be awarded the Free Press Society’s 2010 Sappho Award at their international conference on Humour, Satire and Free Speech, on September 11, 2010, according to Sappho’s Chief Editor Katrine Winkel Holm.
The annual award is given to an opinion leader who has shown remarkable courage and persistence in his defence of free speech.
Ms Holm notes that Steyn is admired for his special combination of sharply pointed satire and well-documented analysis of public matters. Some readers find his provocative and merciless exposure of the folly of rigid, religious dogmas hard to swallow, and others are offended by his ridicule of the Western world’s bleeding hearts, who still believe in a multicultural utopia.
Steyn, whose columns are widely read throughout the English-speaking world, released America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It in 2006.
In the book, he presents a scenario of Europe’s future, caused by three specific circumstances: cultural self-denial, falling birth rates – in fifty years Europe will be either very old or very Islamic – and finally the European welfare states, which deprive their citizens of responsibility for their own lives.
In America Alone, Steyn who was born in Canada and now lives in the United States, expresses his confidence in America. Secular Europe is failing, in contrast to the vigorously redneck America. ”It’s secular Europe that’s living on faith. Uncowed by Islamists, undeferential to government, unshriveled in its birth rates, redneck America is a more reliable long-term bet.”
While the message is gloomy, it is presented in the typically Steynian manner: with subtle (and, in some cases, not so subtle) irony and bittersweet humour.
America Alone became a bestseller and soon led to a trial against the author – the first of several. Canadian Muslims accused him of islamophobia and hate speech because of this particular sentence: “Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes.” The fact was, however, that this quote didn’t come from Steyn, but from the notorious mullah Krekar in Norway.
Before his acquittal in 2008, in an interview with the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, Steyn expressed this fundamental criticism of hate speech laws, which play an increasing role also in Denmark:
“I cannot see why it is a crime to feel abhorrence and hatred. I detest Osama bin Laden, I detest those who blow up the London Underground and I detest even more those who try to justify it. Loathing and hatred are feelings harboured in the hearts of every human being. Still, the Human Rights Commission in Canada has it as its stated objective to eradicate hatred. That is the kind of social hygiene characteristic of totalitarian regimes.”
Steyn discusses the trial and his efforts to destroy the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission in Lights Out: Islam, Free Speech and the Twilight of the West. Lights Out includes a round up of all the offensive Steyn columns his detractors tried to criminalize and republishes them in one convenient volume with new commentary on the battle for free speech and the dimming of liberty in a fainthearted west.
The Sappho Award has attracted much media attention. In 2009 it was given to Melanie Philips , the British journalist and commentator. The cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was the recipient in 2008, and in 2007 the Sappho Award went to Jyllands-Posten´s cultural editor Flemming Rose.
For more information about Mark Steyn and his work visit: www.steynonline.com
Those interested in attending the conference and award ceremony may call Marianne Horseboeg Myrup at (+45) 40 19 68 71.
Sappho is the webzine of The Free Press Society and Denmark´s most outspoken medium dealing with free speech, radical Islam, culture and politics. Sappho – the Greek poetess from the sixth century BC – is also depicted in the Society’s logo. Plato characterised her as the tenth muse and The Free Society has adopted her as the Muse of Free Speech.