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Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Danish Cartoon Fever

The world ought to be worrying about other things, like a thousand people being killed in one ferry accident, the health and nutritional status of rural populations in half the world being threatened by bird flu, threats of nuclear war, the victims of natural disasters - the list goes on and on.

What do we worry about? Cartoons depicting Muhammed published in a Danish newspaper. This is beyond madness. Plenty of Muslims think so too.

David Duke is smiling, the Communists are overjoyed, Galloway is licking the milk off his lips and rational people of all faiths and no faiths everywhere are saying "huh?"

For those who are upset by the US State Department's failure to absolutely support the Danish newspaper, here's a wake-up call. The State Department has reproved numerous Arabic governments about anti-Semitic TV programs, articles and cartoons. It has established specific programs (Global Antisemitism Review Act, for one) that tie foreign aid to reasonable press behavior, which drew strong criticism from not only governments but from more progressive groups in the ME:
Another frequent argument against the act is that it harms freedom of expression and contradicts the declared principles of the U.S. In the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, columnist Dr. Mahmoud Suleiman claimed that the new law is a blow to freedom of expression and constitutes foreign interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign countries: "According to this law, criticism of the murder of women and children, of the expulsion of thousands after destroying their homes, and of the expropriation of agricultural lands – as the Israeli occupation forces are doing – is to be included in the framework of [the term] antisemitism…

"The importance of this development lies in the transfer of the monitoring and overseeing authorities from American non-government organizations … to the official level – to the State DepartmentHad a neutral body prepared this bill, it would not have been interested solely in Jews or antisemitism (a term which would include Arabs), but [also] in the danger of any statement or deed characterized by racism or hostility towards the monotheistic religions, and it would equally condemn Israeli declarations full of expressions of harm to Arabs and Islam…

"The act stands in essential contradiction to all the calls by the U.S., past and present, for democracy, equality, and non-discrimination. Similarly, it stands in essential contradiction to fundamental human rights, first and foremost freedom of expression. [This act] constitutes interference in the domestic affairs [of states] because it grants the special envoy responsible for monitoring, and the members of the American missions in the world capitals, the right to monitor and oversee matters that are at the center of the domestic affairs of the state.

"Similarly, [the law] is a kind of extortion, because it links financial aid [by the U.S.] to muzzling mouths…"
If you want to know why this Act was passed, visit MEMRI. The US doesn't want to be in the position of transferring money to those who are presenting a justification for genocide. The State Department has no grounds now for issuing a statement flatly defending the Danish cartoons. The State Department is continuing on its existing course by saying that it supports freedom of speech but calling for the exercise of reason and responsibility while exercising that freedom.

I understand everybody's point of view here except the idiots who are burning embassies and marching in London calling for more 7/7 attacks. Islamic countries have the right to boycott Denmark just as a Danish newspaper has the right to print what it pleases. It is true that airing TV programs claiming that Jews are plotting to destroy the world while stealing organs from Palestinian children is considerably more hateful than the Danish cartoons, but rights must be reciprocal. Eugene Volokh has an excellent post reviewing the hypocrisy of one American newspaper on the topic.

As for me, I am going to pray for peace of mind and sanity. The world has caught a fever and is thrashing in delirium. The remedy for stupid speech can only be reasoned speech, but only sane people are capable of speaking reasonably. Maybe this is good for newspaper circulation, but all over the world stupid and fanatical speech is drowning out the reasoned voices of the sane and reasonable people.

Denmark is supposed to be a decent democratic first world nation whose people, politicians, and publishers are intelligent and educated. Do you think that slandering and hurting others in the name of democracy and freedom of speech is a decent thing to do? Remember the Emperor with the new clothes?

Think about it lady!
This controversy suddenly makes complete sense to me.

What are we actually seeing?

We're watching a bunch of aquavit soaked, alcoholic, cigar fuming, cologne stinking, drunken journalist jerks enraging street mobs of fanatical, religiously demented, sexually crippled tribal nitwits.

Really edifying. The modern world at its level best
An awefully large number of people are confusing the 'right thing to do' with the 'right to do it'.

There is a somewhat twisted irony, just as in the French riots, when leftist Europe is confronted with the very fanatics that they have been so critical of the US for fighting.

"Denmark is supposed to be a decent democratic first world nation whose people, politicians, and publishers are intelligent and educated."

They ARE.

"Do you think that slandering and hurting others in the name of democracy and freedom of speech is a decent thing to do?"

What's this?
You are slandering and hurting and entire nation for cartoons published in one independently owned newspaper.

Is that a "decent, intelligent and educated" thing for YOU to be doing?

As far as I see, those cartoons were a commentary on Islamist Terrorism...you know...the indecent, but educated and debatably intelligent people who MURDER the innocent and claim they are carrying out the will of Allah.
And the effect these crimes and rhetoric have on the perception of Islam.

But, I s'pose that to even make such a factual observation is to immediately entail a label of being a hurtful slanderer, eh?

Your brain is full of worms, hrights.

Hrights - actually, no, I don't approve of the cartoons themselves (and I have explained why in a earlier post). But I also don't approve of "Piss Christ" or the Rolling Stones cover. I don't approve of Marxists or David Dukites. I don't approve of the constant onslaught of anti-Semitic propaganda all over the ME. I don't approve of what Ward Churchill said, but I was one of the few arguing that he had the right to say it and that he should not be dismissed because of it.

The thing is, free speech is like medicine. It often tastes bad, but you swallow because it's good for society's health. Those cartoons didn't disgrace Muslims - those cartoons said something about the minds of the people who drew them and the feelings of Danes. Ward Churchill exposed himself for the buffoon that he is by publishing his screed.

So no, I don't think that publishing them was a "decent" thing to do. But the people who are truly slandering and hurting Muslims are the idiots burning Danish embassies and marching in the streets of London calling for more attacks there. They are the ones making a religion that many people follow in sincere humility and faith look like the Jonestown cult.

I have been friends with quite a number of Muslims. They are not bigots or hysterics or hateful or ignorant. Part of my misery now is for them. If it weren't for them, I'd probably be sitting alternately laughing and cussing at this. As it is, I am grieving and deeply worried.

Hright, no one can make a person of true faith look undignified. The word of God stands alone. This is the foolishness of man trying to enthrone itself. We aren't seeing a religious conflict here; we are looking at 1938.

And Bilgeman is right. You have worms in your brain if you can't see the larger picture and understand the depth of the tragedy that is playing out before our eyes.

Joseph - I agree, but insert "Marxist" in front of "aquavit soaked, alcoholic, cigar fuming, cologne stinking, drunken journalist jerks".
I really was upset about the cartoons. Why make such cartoons when they are infactual and false?

If people really read about the prophet peace be upon him they would realise he was a mercy to mankind.

Moreover, as Muslims we aren't allowed to draw pictures of Prophets, furthermore, we aren't meant to disrespect someone elses religion. We respect all prophets, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, so why not respect our dear Prophet?

"We respect all prophets, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, so why not respect our dear Prophet?"

You respect Moses?

"Thou Shalt not murder"

Demand respect of those your Islamic brethren who commit murder before you ask respect of a Danish cartoonist for the person of Muhammad.

You respect Ibrahim?

Yet you make no uproar over those your Islamic brethren who depict the sons of Ibrahim's second-born in the most scurrilous and hateful manner.

We hear not a peep from you when your Islamic brethren call for the deliberate murder of all of the sons of Yitzhak.

You respect Jesus?

I cannot openly wear the crucifix, the symbol of my faith, in Saudi Arabia.
I could not build a church that openly offers the words of Jesus to the public in Saudi Arabia.

We place no such restrictions on the practice of your faith in our lands.
Even the Jews do not proscribe the practice of Islam in Israel as your Islamic brethren proscribe us.

Where is your voice raised to protest this inequity?

You claim to respect Jesus, yet you deny his very image and imprison his testaments of mercy and salvation.

You and your Prophet shall receive the respect that you offer to others.

Nothing more and nothing less.

Muslim, I don't approve of the cartoons in and of themselves.

But you must understand and concede that the same principle which allows them to be published guarantees Muslims in Denmark and the US the right to follow Muhammed's teachings and to honor his name. If you claim that we must outlaw the cartoons, the logical conclusion for us is that we should also outlaw Islam because you are claiming that Islam requires tyranny.

The same would be true for Christians; if we were to demand that no one could speak against the Bible then we would be inviting our own exclusion from the society which we have built and to which you are fully invited.

Muslim, God calls to each individual. Each individual is free under the law of God to answer that call or not. Each individual will answer to God for their own deeds. Thus the law of God is human freedom and direct accountability for what use the individual makes of that freedom. It is only those who do not believe in God's judgments who believe that worldly tyrannies are necessary.

I would fight in any way I could and bring whatever resources I have into the battle for the principle that any Muslim must be free to worship as he or she chooses on US soil.

I believe in God. I believe that Muslims should be respected if they follow the laws of God, and disrespected if they do not. I believe in freedom, because I know that God's judgment does exist. It is not those cartoons that can succeed in mocking Muhammed or the Koran - it is the rioters who are mocking God's word and demonstrating that they do not understand it.

That may be hurtful, but it is true.

"Muslim, I don't approve of the cartoons in and of themselves."

I doubt we'll be hearing from hrights or Muslim again.

Doc Sanity's right...they don't handle shame very well.

And Lord knows they have plenty of cause to be ashamed.

Bilgeman, this is a case of extreme double standards for the most part.

I feel sorry for the majority of Muslims, especially in the west. They didn't cook this up. But reality is reality!

PS: Be careful. They are checking some crewmember who died in a Lithuanian port for bird flu. He was the ship's cook.

"Be careful. They are checking some crewmember who died in a Lithuanian port for bird flu. He was the ship's cook."

Not that it's funny, but LOL. Of COURSE it would be the cook.

I'd be more worried about the shift in the relationship between the center of gravity and the metacentric height when some goober adds two decks atop an old ferry.

Get on the wrong side of the righting arm, and you wake up underwater, with a steel hull on top of you.

Hate when that happens.

Yup. And we are seeing quite a few of those.

It's not the safest line of work.
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