In the newsletter of the Swedish Business Association in Indonesia Secretary Michael Olsson airs his concern that the issue might spill over and affect Sweden as well.
“Even if the cartoon issue is mainly a political thing, it should not be underestimated and our similarity with Denmark might create problems for us. The Swedish consulates in Medan and Surabaya are joint with the Danes and we need to watch out,” he points out and adds:
“It is strongly recommended that we are a bit careful during the coming month and not underestimate the current issue. I doubt there are any terrorist threats, but demonstrations can appear anywhere and in issues like these they have a tendency to turn out sour. So be careful and avoid crowds.”
Michael Olsson, who is also Vice Chairman of EuroCham in Indonesia adds that seeing the Danes leave Indonesia hasn’t made him feel less concerned.
“The Danes have left and the Embassy closed down. It’s not really clear what the threat actually is/was, but knowing the Danes, they are normally not scared off easy,” Michael Olsson writes.
Blown out of proportions
Michael Olsson thinks that the issue is blown out of proportions and that for all it is really should be a domestic Danish problem.
“Danish Muslims are disgruntled with the Danish government and they found and issue they could exploit. And they did with great success,” he writes.
The road to a solution of the problem may also be long, as there is no obvious ways to negotiate the matter. And is also adds to the fire that the demonstrators hardly know Denmark at all.
“The demonstrators are often not even aware where Denmark is located and much less what it stands for, which makes it impossible to even try to make them understand,” Michael Olsson writes and he hardly believes that the matter will go away by it self.
“The confrontation will continue until another issue comes up and take the field. We can only wait until it dies out and when it does, ensure that we don’t expose ourselves for another round of similar character. Sure, we need to defend freedom of speech, but we also need to be a bit more pragmatic on the issues.
“Even if the current events have shown that Denmark have a functional free speech, has it really been worth it? He asks.
Affects the Indonesian economy
It isn’t only the Danes who are affected by the cartoon row. The Indonesian economy will also be affected.
”Foreign investors will realize that it might be their country next time and it’s important for the government to work hard on keeping a transparent and firm view on any issue like this.”
Michael Olsson finished of the newsletter by suggesting a simple solution to the problem at hand – but the solution requires that people has a sense of humour.
“A Muslim comedian in US said the following: It’s the total wrong way to react for the Muslims. They should instead hire a jewish lawyer and sue the paper for damages…”