I don't know if you've been following the news but apparently, last September a Dutch Newspaper printed a series of twelve political cartoons satirizing the prophet Mohamed and the nations of Islam (by which I mean the real Muslims, not the American organization that gave Malcolm X the boot). The cartoons show Mohammed in various poses, the one that the New York Times keeps referencing is of Mohamed with a bomb shaped turban about to go off. It is against Islamic religious law to create an image of their holy prophet Mohammed. Muslims world-wide (at least Muslims in the Middle East) are up in arms, demanding, well demanding something anyway. They always are demanding something. Just once I would like to see them in ask politely in some sort of calm diplomatic context. That being said, this is not a diatribe against various Islamic countries.
Since the Newspaper doesn't follow an Islamic doctrine they shouldn't be penalized for drawing an image of the Prophet. That being said, what the fuck did they think would happen by publishing demeaning images of a important religious icon? It's like publishing an image of a bunch of crooked nose Jews counting their money while drinking christian or muslim blood, or those really bad Japanese caricatures that were so prevalent in the US around World War Two. People will get very angry. I know all that blood libel crap gets my blood boiling.
According to the New York Times (Sunday, February 5, 2006 page A10) the Danish paper (Jyllands-Posten) claimed it had asked cartoonists to draw the pictures because the media was practicing self-censorship when it came to Muslim issues. Now this is a load of grade A bullshit. The difficulty to assimilate and be accepted in European culture (there was just a big write up about this about Muslims and other ethnic immigrants to Sweden and the racism they face in many aspects of Swedish culture in the most recent New York Times Magazine), or perhaps an article about the strife between the secularists and the religious Muslims in Muslim countries, or even the various political conditions that led the Palestinians to vote to power a terrorist organization; those are Muslim issues. Publishing racist cartoons of the prophet Mohammed is not a Muslim issue, it is a perception of the "Muslim issue", which is nothing other than inherent racism in occidental culture, and says much more about the publication and perhaps Denmark than it does about Islam.
Denmark, like most free countries believe in the Freedom of the Press. I believe firmly in this freedom. The Jylands-Posten should have and has the right to publish anything they desire, and I support their right to do so, even if they are publishing garbage. That being said, just because you can print something doesn't necessarily mean you have to print that thing. We pick and choose all the time what we feel is worth while to print or write about. If all the images do is create hate and animosity (and maybe reinforce ethnic stereotypes) what is their worth for publication? Freedom of the press is not a mandate to the press, you needn't publish everything that comes across your desk. Choosing such obvious inflamitory images reflects poorly on the publication itself, and as I understand it, newspapers live and die based on their reputation.
When you boil everything down, this would be a non-story; in September a single newspaper printed something stupid, it happens all the time (Fox News ring a bell to you Americans out there?). The fact that due to the controversy other Newspapers around Europe picked up the cartoons and ran them in their newspapers in some sort of feeble minded attempt at solidarity. As if having the right to publish also gives you the right not to have people get angry at what you publish. Again, just because something can be published does not mean it should be published. And if what was published was crude and racist it might be smarter not to publish it. This is a very much "What the Fuck?" moment. What the fuck where they thinking? It's February, September was five months ago. FIVE FUCKING MONTHS AGO. Only now are the riots starting. If the rest of fucking Europe wasn't so goddamn uppity and would let a really stupid decision fade into the background, there wouldn't have been a riot in Lebanon and Syria, and who knows where else, in front of the various Danish Embassies.
Freedom of the Press only means that you can publish what you will, it does not mean you can be exempt from the consequences. (And cheers to England, because I'm pretty sure they haven't run the cartoons in questions).
The Arab nations are not blameless, and I don't mean to intimate that they are. But my rant about the Arab nations is, well, it's a completely different sort of rant. I find they don't really have a leg to stand on as in Syria, Egypt, and others, they have a television adaptation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a proven forgery many times over, and quite possibly the most anti-Semitic book ever written which has also done tremendous harm to the Jews over the course of the last century and even still today. There is a word called hypocrisy and another called over reaction and lastly an exacerbated motivation towards violence, but I'll let those lie - for this post anyway.
I'll end with my sincere plea to Europeans, stop being idiots. It's not doing anyone any good, and publishing hate and claiming freedom of the press only makes you guys look like douche bags. As far as foriegn relations go, America has been getting shit for years, and most of it deserved. It's Europe with it's hollier than thou attidute, that really gets my goat. As if they haven't made and are still making the same fucking mistakes we make over here. Publish whatever the hell you please, just don't expect your shit to come out smelling like roses. Next time if you use a little common sense and actually stop being so freaking racist (recent riots in France anyone?) this won't happen in the future, and then you can go back to blame America for all your problems.
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