Photo: Rickard L. Eriksson / Libris
These past few weeks have provided a true spectacle in the isolated little duck pond that is Sweden. A good man, loved and respected by many, has been dragged through the mud, received dozens of death threats, been forced to leave the country, and now finally fired from his job as a columnist.
His crime: He criticized islam in a Tweet.
Let’s take it from the beginning.
Marcus Birro is a Swedish-Italian writer of 14 books, columnist, public speaker and musician. Popular in no small part for his courage to speak the truth, he was one of the most read columnists on Expressen, the national paper where he has now been unceremoniously fired. He is also an outspoken Christian and was close to becoming leader for the Christ Democrat party a few years ago.
On Nov 4, Birro posted a Tweet that reads (in translation):
“Not buying the talk about ‘religions’ being dangerous. What does the biggest part of the world’s religious terrorism have in common? Islam. Fact.”
In the politically correct mecca that is Sweden, this turned out to be the equivalent of soaking yourself in gasoline while playing with matches.
Before long, the full force of the left wing extremists, the journalists, the muslim community and the holier-than-thou PC fanatics were all mobilized and convened in one, singular spot: Marcus Birro.
The pure hate seeping through the thousands upon thousands of responding Tweets could sear through metal. A fellow blogger compiled a partial list of the onslaught. A few samples:
“I used to like you, but now I realize you’re just a worthless racist. You’re a bad person, for real. Simply revolting.”
“You f****ng clown. Your time will come.”
“You are the son of a whore. I hope ISIS slaughters you and those close to you.”
“It’s a good thing you’re a catholic convert. You get to f**k little boys in the ass. Enjoy!”
“Poem of the day:
Liverpool lost yesterday
What did I tell you?
Marcus Birro is still alive
That is unfortunate.”
“Ten grand to whoever makes Marcus Birro disappear. No questions asked.”
…And many, many more. The death threats poured in, the slander, the mockery, the insults and the belittlement rolled on day after day, all served up by the good people preaching tolerance and the importance of everyone’s equal worth.
Then, not content to limit the bullying to electronic media, fellow columnists upped the ante by bringing the crusade against Birro into mainstream media for a national audience.
Totte Löfström on news site Nyheter24 started with a Nov 5 column that set the tone right in the title: “Hi Marcus Birro, you’re an idiot but we can solve that together“. The solution, it turns out, was for Birro to roll over on his back and publicly beg for forgiveness in a guest column to be published on Nyheter24. Birro refused.
On Nov 7, Fredrik Virtanen wrote his first column on national paper Aftonbladet solely dedicated to smearing Birros good name. The accusations ranged from racism and fascism to crude insults to Birros mental capacities.
The storm would not subside. Enthusiastically orchestrated by Virtanen, who eagerly volunteered for role as ring leader, the constant barrage of hate started taking it’s toll on Birro and his family. On Nov 10 he wrote:
“My family is crying. I am afraid. My children are wondering what has happened. That is what these death threats have meant to us. I can’t take any more of this.”
Virtanen and his many foot soldiers responded by mocking Birro and egging each other on even further. The spectacle was not unlike the crowd of school kids that start smelling blood in the water and are getting ready to really lose all inhibitions about beating on the small kid with glasses. Now they could see the trembling of the lower lip and tears welling up. Time to go in for the kill, in a magnificent throwback to the most vicious aspect of childish immaturity perpetrated in the anonymity of a group.
On Nov 16 Birro had had enough and left Sweden for Milano. On his blog he described the feeling of leaving a pack of snarling, rabid dogs behind.
“Like Cujo. Like spit, blood and blind fury.”
Meanwhile, Virtanen continued his relentless drumbeat of agitation, slander and mockery back in Sweden, apparently enjoying his leadership of the crusade to the point one starts suspecting there is some kind of sexual pleasure involved. Any other explanation for this obsession has long since ceased to be plausible.
On Nov 22, Birro was interviewed in Radio Länsman, a popular conservative web radio station (“rightwing extremist” in Orwellian newspeak) for those tired of the heavily left-leaning national radio SR. Birro expressed surprise and mild dismay that his employer Expressen had remained absolutely mum and not uttered a word of defense in the face of multiple death threats, despite him being one of the most popular columnists and a loyal veteran of 5 years. The statement was very restrained and factual, in no way able to be perceived as anything but just that.
Then, late at night on Nov 23, the editor in chief at Expressen called Birro and bluntly told him that his services would no longer be required, effective immediately. The questioning of the lack of support combined with the hordes of politically correct demanding his dismissal finally overcame the loss of a popular columnist. Virtanen and his posse of Good people had won.
They had destroyed a man and terrorized his family into submission for making a factual statement about islam. And now they’re celebrating the great victory of all that is right and good with the world, where a lousy hatemonger has been put in his place thanks to the courageous efforts of noble men and women.