Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A drawn-out affair....

The saga of the cartoons.... more than enough has been said about it, but don't think for one second that that's going to stop me. Did you know, for example, that they were actually published last September - and we're only just getting the fall-out now!

I've said before that I'm not a fan of censorship, but lets face it - the Danish Press have behaved in a crass and insensitive manner. I'm not talking about all that 'not showing images of Mohammad or Allah' stuff. Most Muslims would be content just to know that anyone doing that is a sinner and will be punished when the time comes - only a handful of extremists might cry revenge. No, in this case it is not simply the image but the way in which that image is portrayed... I'm sure most of you have, like I, seen the offending articles but for those who haven't - imagine a picture of Mohammad with a bomb planted in his headgear. So, in a sweeping generalisation the Danish press suggests that Mohammad (and by default, all Muslims) are suicide bombers. That is not cutting edge satire, I'm afraid - it's nothing more than ignorance laced with bigotry.

So, this has been on the boil since September... it'll die away soon enough, right? Not if the way things are going is any indication. You see, by offending not just the fanatics but pretty much the entire religion, what could have been a flash-in-the-pan rant has become a full-on nation-spanning mass protest - with moderates just as vocal as hardliners. The backlash has already had reprocussions on Danish exports, and one Swiss company has had to take out an advert in Egyptian papers to let the populace know that they are not, in fact, Danish (there's a nice role reversal - "You whiteys all look the same to us"). And other news organisations around the world have inflamed matters by reprinting the cartoons (although the usually rabid British Press seems to be acting remarkably low-key), most notably the French.

Ah, yes... the French. See that picture at the top? That shows a sign in the aisle of a Carrefour supermarket (a French company) in Egypt. "Dear Clients", it reads. "We express solidarity with the Islamic & Egyptian community". Well, it's either very noble or, more likely, transparently self-preservationist. Except that even that has had a backlash..... back in France! That's right, consumers in France are now apparently boycotting Carrefour in response!

How far is this likely to escalate? God (or an inappropriate image of him) only knows! Whilst boycotts and flag-burning can be made light of on pages like this reports have already come in of linked deaths - and, much like the cartoons themselves, that just ain't funny!

Cheers m'dears!

ps - and I thought Blunt Cogs had potential to offend!!!

Acknowledgement - todays post was spurred on by reading SingaporeInk and its link to this article.

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At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 6:17:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few liberal muslims are not bothered by the cartoons and support the freedom of the western press. Check out this guy's blog.


At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 6:33:00 pm, Blogger Foot Eater said...

No, disagree with you on this one, Binty. Religion deserves to be mocked in whatever form it takes, and in any case the principle's about freedom of speech. I take great offence at the Holocaust-denying cartoons that have just been published in the Arab-European League's press (can't find the link just now but if anyone's interested I'll look harder for it), but I'm certainly not calling publically for the murder of the cartoonists.

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 6:34:00 pm, Blogger Foot Eater said...

Publicly, even.

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 8:08:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

religions not being mocked here. this isnt about religion. its much more about race and lumping all swarthy people in as bombers. i agree with binty.

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 8:42:00 pm, Blogger Foot Eater said...

But that would make Islam mock-proof in pictorial terms, since most of its followers are darker-skinned.

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 10:04:00 pm, Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

While I appreciate the sensitivity of Islam the word "overreaction" comes to mind. Does "Allah," who, according to the introduction in the Nobel edition of the Qur'an, "in His infinite mercy and love, Who forgives and guides individuals and nations, and turns to good even what seems to us evil" really condone this behavior?
"A sour Godliness is the devils religion", John Westly.
Well, that's it Binty, guess I'll go post a tag some Scot who needs another drink sent me.

At Tuesday, February 07, 2006 11:24:00 pm, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

Why should Muslims in the middle and far east give a flying fuck what cartoons are being printed in Denmark?

I'm quite sure there are far more offensive cartoons printed in their papers. This idea that no one should be offended - ever - is a crock too.

I am offended by Al Jazeera showing beheadings as an unofficial mouthpiece for these maniacs. Do they care what I think? do they fuck!

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 12:13:00 am, Blogger Kim Ayres said...

There's 2 different things going on here, being lumped under one title.

One is the notion of freedom of speech, the other is the notion of respect for people's beliefs. In fact, there's also a 3rd, which is lumping all people of a similar race or religion under one banner.

The simple fact is that no one is in the right in this case.

If the newspapers had run pro-nazi cartoons, would anyone have been surprised if there had been an outcry by the Jews?

This use of the phrase of freedom of speech to hide what is blatent bigotry is scandelous. It's the same bloody thing when the Orange order insists on it's right to parade through Nationalist areas. It's nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with politics and power struggles.

This doesn't justify people being killed or embassies being burned down. The people carrying out these acts are also wrong.

And nowhere in any of this do two (or three) wrongs make a right.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 12:51:00 am, Blogger Foot Eater said...

But there are degrees of wrongness. Saying or publishing something offensive, even deliberately calculated to cause offence, is one thing. Responding with threats and violence is completely disproportionate and more deserving of condemnation.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 3:54:00 am, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

There is no reciprocation.

There are no Muslims in democratic western countries fighting to get out to return to any Islamic state anywhere.

The cartoon, the tamest of crappy drawings was in no way poking fun or designed to inflame, no matter what the Muslims say. It was for a Danish non Muslem audience. Racist or fascist cartoons designed to stir up a home population are banned in all Western countries. Not Muslem ones.
The name calling by the Fascists/British National Party/and Mainstream Muslim Organisations is a well known tool to de-humanise the people you want to eliminate. (literally). Example;

"Shultz, take the Goldberg/Khan/Ali family here, outside and shoot them all in the back of the head. Mr Goldberg/Khan/Ali you know, him who works for the Council, his boy just passed his driving test, got a daughter at college, her here. Take the five of them out and shoot them."

"What sarge?"

"I forgot, you're new here, process these five units immediately for the good of the fatherland/the new order/insert snappy name here/."

"Jowel herr gruppenfeurher!"

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 6:55:00 am, Blogger Foot Eater said...

I'd offer to buy you a pint, Doc Maroon, if I thought I could keep up with you, you crazy Scotch.

Binty and Kim, I'm not taking the piss out of you (though there are things that deserve taking the piss out of - fanatical Islamism, fanatical neoconservatism, fanatical communism, fanatical social-democratism, fanatical libertarianism, fanatical anything), and I agree that the cartoons were probably calculated to offend (and therefore disagree with the good Doctor on this point alone). But I think the newspaper wanted to offend, not because its editors were racists or even anti-Islam, but because they wanted to make a point about free speech. I doubt they expected the response they eventually provoked (five months later, it must be said), but they did expect criticism and were quite probably hoping to illustrate that being offended in itself doesn't mean that anyone's rights are being violated under law.

Publishing the cartoons didn't violate anyone's rights. Threatening murder and committing acts of violence do violate people's rights, to different degrees.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 7:47:00 am, Blogger Dr Maroon said...

If the cartoons were calculated to offend, I think any cartoonist worth his salt could have come up with better. I think looking at them, they are cliched and probably done to order, to meet a deadline, "Give us something about the Islamic World simmering ready to go off, by 7 o'clock."

I am a pretty good draftsman (all proper engineers are) and I could have punted out something better than that. ( It looks like the Ayatollah) If I wasn't such a coward, I would.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 10:16:00 am, Blogger Foot Eater said...

So why the fuck aren't you offering to design Blunt Cogs strips?

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 1:56:00 pm, Blogger Binty McShae said...

Anon 1 - of course not, didn't mean it to sound like they were - thanks for the link!

Anon 2 - thanks for the support.

Footsie, Doc & Kim.... I am writing more on this today... hopefully it will clarify my position a bit more.


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