Swedish rapper’s anti-American rant plagiarised

In the aftermath of the events of September 11th 2001 Swedish rapper Ken Ring was heavily criticised for a column he wrote in praise of the attacks. Now, over five years later, the article has resurfaced on the website of Aftonbladet, the largest newspaper in the Nordic region.

At the beginning of the current decade Ring was one of the country’s most popular hip hop artists. His article was originally published on reader-driven Swedish website Sourze.

On January 12th a subsidiary of Aftonbladet, free daily newspaper Punkt SE, published the same text on its website. This time however it was not Ring but Johan Edström, 21, from the eastern town of Gävle, whose name was attached to the extreme views expressed in the column.

Apart from some very minor changes, Edström had copied and pasted Ring’s article before submitting it to Punkt SE.

The article, written just weeks after the September 11th attacks, constituted an attempt to justify the terrorists’ actions.

The “battle for freedom” that would follow the attacks is turned on its head by the rapper.

“I think that the bombings in the USA (apart from the innocent victims) were also a battle for freedom, a freedom that those people have sought for several decades,” wrote Ring.

Ring also reacted strongly to the minutes of silence observed all over Europe in memory of the victims.

“What about a minute’s silence for all those who die in Palestine every day because the USA superpower went in and gave the Jews the country,” he wrote.

The rapper had previously earned a degree of infamy in Sweden when he was arrested by police at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival for allegedly inciting his audience to storm the palace and rape Princess Madeleine.

It was Swedish blogger Göken who, on Tuesday of this week, first noticed the uncanny resemblance between the two articles. In the related blog post he pointed to the hazards surrounding the publication of reader-generated content.

“The plagiarism in this case really shows the problem with these internet columns. But since they are only published once a week, if I have understood correctly, it really shouldn’t be too difficult to check whether the text has already been published,” he wrote.