Friday, February 03, 2006

Cartoons? We’re Going to War Over Cartoons?

Is this the tipping point? I’d wondered in the past if there would be some serious event — the accidental burning of a mosque in a war zone, the death of children in a freak accident, a plane downed for mechanical reasons with some important imam among the dead — that would send the infamous Arab Street howling into the night, declaring revenge on the infidels.

That’s how I thought the end would begin. But who could dream how easily led, how corruptly used the Arab Street would be? Twelve cartoons. Not serious works of art, just cartoons.

Forest fireThese imams calling for holy war, for a worldwide day of anger, are trivial, trifling people. They are deliberately stirring the cinders in order to get a conflagration going. They are like those nut-job arsonists who set fires in forests just to see the raging flames destroy everything. And don’t forget, arsonists are seriously disturbed people. Ask any psychiatrist.

And ask yourself: just how fragile are these people, whose psyches are collapsing over the prospect of some cartoons? Surely Mohammed deserves more robust representatives than these opportunistic sad sacks.

This is no clash of civilizations, this is a bunch of dirty old men playing with matches and encouraging a younger generation to go along with it. This is the wall against which the corpse of a putrefying culture is collapsed.

The call for a Day of Anger is disgusting beyond words. It is obscene and death-dealing. The man who calls for it ought to be incarcerated. Those who respond with similar rage ought to be jailed also.

I never thought we’d see the personification of the adage about someone yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. And I never stopped to think how utterly deadly such an action would be.

Someone stuff a sock in Sheikh Yussef al-Qaradawi’s mouth before this homicidally irresponsible “leader” does any further damage…and all over some cartoons.

Ask yourself: what would this joker recommend if the incident were actually serious?


bordergal said...

This may be a good thing, if such stupidity can ever be said to be good. The complete overreaction will terrorize some, but rouse others to resistence.

Premature violence in Europe will tip the scale in favor of the native European. In a couple of generations given current demographics and the Turkey/EU debacle, who knows?

I believe the Imans have "jumped the shark".

Anonymous said...

Stranger things have happened, Dymphna. Ever heard of the War of Jenkins Ear?

Eleanor © said...

Muslims find these cartoons to be offensive. Question: What done by non-Muslims is not considered offensive? Our deeds, our words, and our very existence offends them. Is anyone else offended by this???

David Foster said...

"it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable"...what is not acceptable, in the United States, is for government officials to tell anyone what speech is and isn't "acceptable."

Was this just one State Department official mouthing off? Or does it go higher?

Dymphna said...

Andy, make it a link! So as to avoid messing up the page width.

AndyS said:

US sides with Muslims in cartoon dispute

Yahoo story

"These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims," State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question. "We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable."

Unbelievable ...

Brituncula said...

It did occur to me that the State Dept. know something we don't about the various western hostages. Cf. the wartime British Cabinet discussions about reprisals for German atrocities and their conclusion that we couldn't win a competition of frightfulness because ultimately we care about having blood on our hands.

Pastorius said...

I agree with BorderGal. The Jihadis have jumped the shark. Their behavior has exposed them. They have done our work for us. One million bloggers could not have made the message any clearer. There is no appeasing these people.

Always On Watch said...

The enraged Muslims are showing their true colors: the only ones with "free speech" in Islam are those who spout Islamic "ideals." Ideals such as shari'a law.

Now we're got cartoon jihad. Good Lord!

Bent El Neel said...

if only you could watch Arabic media!! it is complete HYSTERIA. there are images of the Danish flag, all dirty and soiled with a huge foot imprint on it (in Arab culture it is extremely offensive to put your foot or shoes on anything). These images are constantly coming up on the screen as if to keep the hysteria gong...just to whip everyone into more frnzied threatning and screaming.

Cybrludite said...

Is their faith so weak that they can't tolerate a joke? I don't recall any Christians going on rampages over Piss Christ, at least not any in the mainstream. Most were offended, but limited their complaints to letters to the editor saying that they didn't want their tax dollars supporting it. I've never seen a sensable religion that didn't tolerate a sense of humor. Hell, the first time I head the joke with the punchline "What God wants, he keeps!" from a Jewish girlfriend, and if you were to call the All-Father "Winky, the One-Eyed Wondergod" in my presense, I'd likely laugh my backside off.

Radical Islam picking a fight with the West is like someone sniping at an armed soldier with a pelletgun: Sting him enough and the guy with the pelletgun & everyone within a few meters of him are going to be a smoking grease-spot. I wish there were some way to make it clear to them that we're staying our hand out of mercy, not weakness and that it's a fatal error to mistake the two. Piss us off enough, at we can wrap the whole thing up in the time it takes to get a pizza delivered.

Krishna109 said...

Its sort of ironic that three recent events, all of which might have seemed negative at first, have a positive component-- and its the same benefit in all three cases. Hamas gaining power (now the Pali "government" is one that's committed to wiping out another country); Iran also admitting it wants to eliminate another country; and the cartoon kerfuffle where these people are acting really, really nutty-- over some cartoons.

In all three cases, one of the major effects these developments have is causing many people to finally wake to the true name of militant Islam. (Of course some won't- but many are starting to question...)

All three are scary-- especially Iran-- but at least things are becoming somewhat more obvious to many people.

A. Eteraz said...

i'm going to make a subtle point here and i hope the commentators will appreciate the distinctions.

there are two levels of this debate, and i fear they are being conflated.

1 - freedom of speech: this is the more general point. can you mock a religious figure in a paper? yes. can you make caricatures of a man of whom people do not make caricatures. yes! can you? oh yes. in answering yes to these questions, europe, the west, americans, are all absolutely correct.

2 - incitement of hate-crimes: this is the more difficult point, and i'll be blunt about it: *european muslims* (and i'm limiting this to them) have a rightful reason to fear that mockery of their beliefs will lead to an increase in violence against them. american muslims generally dont have to worry about hate crimes. that's why we don't really care how many muslim villains you put into hollywood movies. hell, we go along with everyone else to watch these movies. consider 'the seige' - a horrible movie if there ever was one - all about stereotyping arabs and muslims - it couldn't even recognize that not all arabs are mulims or that not all muslims are arabs - still, i recall when it came out, me and fellow muslims were eating popcorn and buying soda by the ton at showings. why? because we were at top 10 colleges; we were lawyers, and as a consequence we had faith in the american system. european muslims, on the other hand, don't have this kind of success in europe. there are a number of institutional, economic and psychological reasons -- IN WHICH BOTH THE EUROPEAN ESTABLISHMENT AND THE IMMIGRANT MENTALITY are complicit. as a consequence of these wide scale failures, the european muslim minority fears reprisals when their beliefs are so publicly mocked. the thought is: "if they can mock our most holy man, they surely won't stop at anything if they come after us." this is a psychological insight about the place of the minority and can be best understood by understanding the black viewpoint in the american south in the 1970's (after the civil rights era but before economic improvement).

finally, this mullah "krakhore" -- i have no time for these people. ANYONE who comes to the west as a refugee, or an asylum seeker, and then has the audacity to turn against it, needs to be beaten and sent back. i'd it myself but that would go against my enlightenment principles =) still, people need to be encouraged to see that such mullahs are not the majority of muslims who are quite happy playing madden 2006 right here in our cushy homes and then betting money on the steelers.

Pastorius said...

Eteraz makes good points. Thanks for contributing. It is very important for us to understand the point of view of the average Muslim as human being, and not simply as believing automaton.

It is perfectly understandable that Muslims in Europe have reason to be afraid, given Europe's history, and their penchant for ghettoizing minorities.

I have a question, though. If they are afraid, why do they not denounce the radicals in their midst, rather than denouncing Free Speech and European values?

Pastorius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A. Eteraz said...


I think that's a fair question.

European Muslims could certainly be nudged into the more open-minded direction by American-Muslims, who are far richer, and far more sophisticated. Consider that that average median income of American-Muslims is the highest of any minority group. I think they average, three degrees per household. That's a lot of wealth. over time American Muslims will have to get their hands dirty in the Muslim ghettos of Europe. You'll see more about this on my blog in the future b/c this is my 'pet' project.

However, as you said, we can't forget Europeans' love for homogeneity and inability to work with minorities. Look, they need guys to stop forward who are not making their careers off Muslim bashing (a la Houllebeq and Claude Levi), but off of trying to work with them.

Think of it like this: race relations in the us didn't start to change until white americans were able to see that blacks could be heroes; that they weren't just villains. Of course, this was preceded by, but co-extensive with, the emergence of men like WEB DuBois and Thurgood Marshall. In the creation of the latter, only Muslims can do anything; but in the creation of a culture of celebration, only Europeans can do anything.

I know there is a lot of pessimism. But frankly I'm quite hopeful. history does have moments when ignorance and stupidity shine forward proudly. But history is also laden with (and is largely) instances of the more enlightened civilization co-opting and 'converting' the less thoughtful. the romans did it with a number of barbarian races. muslims did it with the europeans during their dark ages. the muslims also did it with the mongol horde. have you ever sat and thought about how it could be that a military machine of THAT stature was never heard from again? Did you know that within one generation all Mongol leaders had converted to Islam. Why? Did they like Allah more? Oh no: it was because they liked the benefits of a greater civilization. If Islam was simply an exterior force to europe, coming in, attacking, retreating -- that would be civilizational conflict. what we have here is temporary tension caused by the movement of people. you can already see some of the beneficial effects of the muslim-european fusion: look up rai music. you'll love it. its basically french rock with berber folk music. the song is in berber and in arabic and at the end the guy goes to the crowd, "merci." You'll particularly enjoy the songs "Aycha" and "Abdal Kader."

We have to invest in the arts. Europe has a huge history of investing in art; and muslims are just the kind of people who could use to input their creative outlets in serious artistic endeavor.