Today’s Opinion: Darfurnica

POSTED: 05/5/11 12:27 PM

There is freedom of expression according to Internet terrorist Judith Roumou (insult as many people as possible), and there is freedom of expression according to the Danish artist Nadia Plesner.

Plesner, who studies at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam depicted in her painting Darfurnica (based on Picasso’s Guernica) a little boy carrying a designer handbag as a protest against the many media reports about meaningless celebrities visiting the Darfur-region.

Now the handbag Plesner depicted looked an awful lot like a Louis Vuitton product. The designer was not thrilled about the artistic expression and took Plesner to court.

The ruling went against Plesner; the court ordered her to remove the painting, or to pay a €5,000 ($7,250) penalty for each day she did not comply with the verdict. By the time the counter hit €200,000 ($290,000), the artist was back in court, this time to plead for her right to freedom of expression.

The court in The Hague ruled yesterday in her favor. Plesner’s interest to exercise her right to freedom of expression weighed heavier than Louis Vuitton’s right to protect its brand. The court ruled that Plesner’s use of the design is “functional and proportional.”

That can of course not be said of the raves and rants of Judith Roumou. But the Internet terrorist remains at large for the time being, until the parliament passes the new penal code, and until some of her victims find in that action the courage and the confidence to drag her into court.


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