Sunday, January 29, 2006
Look, would I have published cartoons of Mohammed? No, I wouldn't have. I don't believe in giving gratuitous offense, and that's what doing such a thing seems to be to me.
On the other hand, this sure is coming to be an awfully effective method of opening the curtain and showing the great difference between the lands of the Free and the lands of the Fearful, between East and West, the tolerant and the intolerant, a stubborn few Europeans and a shockingly weak and fragile religion of over a billion people.
This is a broad generalization, but bear with me. A lot of us here in the US, and I think it's something sort of particular to the northeast, have this way of dealing with...testing...newcomers. We needle them. We apply a lit put-down humor. Just to see how they react. If they can take it, if they can be even a little self-effacing in return, or maybe give it back in good humor, then they're in. If not, if they flip out and show their delicate ego and that hanging with them is going to be like walking on egg shells, then that's it, it's gonna take a lot to get them "in."
Well if you didn't already know it, the Muslim world is showing they just can't take it, and in fact they can't take even the smallest things...even a few lame cartoons in a paper no one in the world reads published in a country no one ever heard of before this happened (slight exageration -- no offense).
And not only are they offended, and obviously annoyed, but they're flipping out. How weak must these peoples' psyches be to melt down this completely? Why, one might begin to believe that these folks may not be the type of folks that we can have around. Maybe we're just not very compatible, and that's pretty useful information to have.
The Kuwaitis are pushing for a boycott: Kuwaitis push boycott of Danish goods, the Saudis have recalled their ambassador: Pressure mounts on Denmark over prophet cartoons, and, in the ultimate demonstration that the United Nations is populated by people who's values and the uses they seek to put that institution to are so different from ours that they ensure that the UN can't ever...ever...possibly be trusted with any serious responsibility, both the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference are pushing the UN to pass a resolution to ban and sanction such insults: UN urged to ban attack on religion (via LGF):
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said in Cairo on Sunday that the international body would "ask the UN general assembly to pass a resolution banning attacks on religious beliefs".
The deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, Ahmed Ben Helli, confirmed that contacts were under way for such a proposal to be made to the UN.
"Consultations are currently taking place at the highest level between Arab countries and the OIC to ask the UN to adopt a binding resolution banning contempt of religious beliefs and providing for sanctions to be imposed on contravening countries or institutions," he said.
Twelve cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, published in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten daily last September and reprinted in a Norwegian magazine earlier this month, sparked uproar in the Muslim world where images of the prophet are considered blasphemous...
You know, year after year, one sort of millenial-style group after another has popped up to assassinate some official, spark some disaster, blow up some building...all in the hope of sparking the great race war or trigger some other hair-brained fantasy apocalypse.
It's a good thing they didn't know it could have been done so cheaply and easily before. Of course, we now have to give thanks in large part to the information super-highway for all this. The fast flow of information allows offense to spread pretty quickly, too. There's no longer any need to blow things up yourself, just publish a few cartoons and the rest will take care of itself.
Here's a geek anology that only some of you will get: If the world is like one big computer BBS, then some of its most vocal Muslim users are now complaining about an offensive posting that was put up by another participant. They've gone to complain to the Admin (in this case the UN) to not only discipline this user, but put up new rules so that they never have to feel offended again. It won't work, it can't work. No one has the right never to be offended, and no one can guarantee they never will be, and the Admins don't need, nor should they have, the power necessary to even try. What the OIC and the Arab League and everyone else needs is a good lesson in freedom of speech and just plain sucking it up.
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