Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

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

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

...even more drawn-out...

Points were raised after yesterdays post that made me feel the need to clarify my position a little.

I believe strongly in freedom of expression, to the extent that I previously wrote condemning the incarceration of a Nazi-sympathiser. I despised his opinions but he had a right to air them. I just feel that the press in the so-called 'free' world should exercise a little more discretion... just because some Arab papers are being bigotted against Judaism (or whoever else) that's not a justification for the same behaviour the other way around. Call it moral-high-ground, turning-the-other-cheek, whatever-the-fuck-you-want. It's simply a case of two wrongs never making a right.

If this was just a case of depicting a religious icon I would be ranting here about protesters being petty. It is, after all, a rule which has been only loosely observed over the centuries - note the ancient Persian paintings of Muhammad, for example. More to the point, I would be stating that their religious laws are for them to keep, not to hold us by. And most Muslims would not only understand that viewpoint but would agree with it. But that is not the scenario. Simply put, the cartoon strongly insinuates that all Muslims are suicide bombers. And this is not simply an untruth, it is deeply offensive. More than that, the cartoon plays a part in embedding the idea that Muslims are dangerous terrorists, full stop.

If this was, like the Nazi guy before, something that had cropped up in a fringe publication with a target audience that probably already holds such views we'd call them cunts and move on. And so would Muslims, in general. But it was a mainstream newspaper... they would never have written an article stating "all Muslims are suicide bombers" any more than they would write saying "the holocaust never happened". They might report that someone else said these things - that's their job. But the cartoon...what do you think the reaction would be to a cartoon strongly suggesting that the holocaust is a myth if it appeared in a mainstream publication?

Acts like this can start a chain of events, as we have seen. I deplore - condemn even - the violent reactions that have occured throughout the world, and I mourn the stupid and casual loss of life. And, yes - blame for those deaths must be aimed at those who went far too far in their response to what was, after all, just a cartoon. But that does not make publishing them any less wrong.

Cheers m'dears!

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At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 7:28:00 pm, Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

May I give you some of my jungle wisdom on this? When you're in a war, the first priority is to win. This means not doing unhelpful things like insulting your allies. I'm talking about friendly muslim governments, whose soldiers are fighting alongside British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

During WW2, Winston Churchill wanted to suppress a great satirical novel called Animal Farm because it might have offended the Russians, even though he probably agreed with every word of it. It was published in 1945.

The guys who are rioting over this are the enemy and the cartoons have helped their cause. That's why it's so important for western government to condemn the cartoons, even if they don't see what's so offensive about them. Churchill would have dunnit.

So Binty is right.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 7:33:00 pm, Blogger Kim Ayres said...

I agree with you on this Binty.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006 9:03:00 pm, Blogger The MacBean Gene said...

One thing about the press be it Denmark or Detroit, they can never be accused of showing respect for anyone or anything.
Your spot on with this, Binty, have another drink, you deserve it.

At Thursday, February 09, 2006 2:11:00 am, Blogger SafeTinspector said...

When riots happen they seem to have a trigger.
But the trigger never seems to be proportionate to the riotous result.
I firmly believe these cartoons are like that.

In a Michigan city a few years back a black fellow, riding a stolen motorcycle, fled from the police and splattered himself and his stolen bike across the side of a building. Riots ensued because the police were blamed for the death. Any sensible observer in a rational time would conclude that the police may have been too zealous in their pursuit, but the result was ultimately caused by a fleeing man being unable to control his bike. The incident was a spark, however; one that set the fire ablaze, and the real causes were the ratial tensions everyone had ignored up until then.

It happend in France just a couple months ago, where youths fleeing police fried themselves on an electric fence and half the suburbs of Paris went crazy. Those unfortunate youths are not THE reason for the riots, they were just the final straw.

Riots are like earthquakes. The tension is built up over time, just beneath the surface. When the quake hits it will have been a long time coming.

At Thursday, February 09, 2006 11:54:00 am, Blogger Sarah said...

McShae.. completely.

At Thursday, February 09, 2006 6:28:00 pm, Blogger fatmammycat said...

There is a crowd mentality that supersedes all rational thought in a riot situation. Any perceived slight of grievance riles up and inflames, that is why riots are so dangerous and uncontrollable. They are very rarely about the action that initiated them.


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