Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Dane's Inferno

I have been trying not to comment on the whole Mohammed cartoon imbroglio that the editors at Jyllands-Posten have managed to stir up for us, however after the continued idiocy in the Middle East I can no longer hold my tongue.

First off, to the editors of the Jyllands-Posten:

Shame on you, sirs. The right to free speech is a flimsy shield to hold up when you publish materials that are clearly meant to incite controversy. Even a couple of the artists comment on this in the cartoons you published. Now I believe in the value of a free press, such as it is in the world today, and I even more ferventlyy believe in the right to free speech. Free speech is one of the sacraments of democracy and while I believe you have the right to publish whatever you wish, I would hope that you would use this privilege to add to the public discourse rather than behave like a bunch of school boys. This is the sort of material I would expect to find in a rag published by those neo-Nazi knuckleheads in the KKK (or maybe as doodles on Pat Robertson’s Daytimer) and I would hope your journalistic integrity would not prove to be on par with those mouthpieces of hatred.

Second, to the rioters:

Grow the f*@% up. Seriously. Yes, according to your faith it is blasphemy to portray Mohammed*, much like it is blasphemy for a Christian to say, “God Damn.” Fair enough. It seems that the correct reaction to this would be to publicly enjoin the blasphemer and then pray to Allah for the blasphemer. Pray that they would see the error of their ways and recant their blasphemy. Beyond that shouldn’t blasphemy be a thing between the blasphemer and the blasphemee?

I really do not mean to belittle your anger at the cartoons. I went ahead and checked them out and while I have seen much worse directed at Jews and Jesus, I get where you are coming from on this, but I really do not understand the rioting. I really don’t. I would like to point out that your behavior at this point is only serving to reinforce the negative stereotypes of Islam and Muslims in the eyes of the world.

I also find the hue and cry that has been aroused by these cartoons a little suspect. They were initially published in September of last year and only within the last few weeks has there been a cry from the people. Why did such a hot-button issue have such a slow burn? I realize there has been a head of steam building on this issue for some time and the republication of the cartoons has had the effect of dumping gasoline on the fire. This may explain the sudden rash of escalating protests that sprung up beginning towards the end of January and turned into riots in the last week.

All in all this whole situation really pisses me off. The editors should have had the good sense to not publish these cartoons as they had to know this was going to stir up controversy. Of course I believe this was the point. How many of you had heard of Flemming Rose and Jyllands-Posten before this whole thing got rolling? Seems like their publicity stunt worked. Now that the editors have opened this can of worms, those of us that believe that the freedom of speech is an absolute have to stand up and say while we may disagree with what has been published (which I whole-heartedly do), we also understand the right of the person to publish whatever they wish. It is a great civics lesson in why freedom of speech is the most difficult freedom. I am also bothered by the lack of coverage of the MANY peaceful protests** which have taken place around the world.

*Why is it forbidden to have a picture of Mohammed but you can name your kid Mohammed? Seems a bit pretentious to me. “You just had a baby boy? Congratulations! What’s his name?....Jehovah? Really? Do you spell that with an ‘H’?”

**It might be hypocritical to be protesting the publication of these cartoons and be carrying signs that read “Europe is the cancer and Islam is the cure” and “Be prepared for the real Holocaust.” I’m just saying.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

The cartoons aren't even funny. Well, the "all out of virgins" one, maybe. The rest, no way. And if it had been just that one, I don't think there would have been the same uproar.