Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Even More on the Cartoons

The backstory of the cartoons has not been part of the story. Usually the coverage simply says that they exist.

It started when a newspaper editor Flemming Rose heard about a writer who tried to find an illustrator for a children's book on Mohammed. Everyone he asked to do it either refused or asked to be anonymous. The writer felt that this was censorship and asked 25 editorial cartoonists to do a depiction of Mohammed. Twelve responded although only eleven actually showed the prophet. One showed a modern teenager named "Mohammed".

These cartoons were run as a statement for free speech. In September. They made the news when other newspapers started re-printing them.

Yesterday I wrote about the incompatible world views held by the west and the Moslem world. The problem is what to do about it?

Responses have been mixed. So far, no American newspapers or broadcast media have reprinted the cartoons. The Colbert Report got it right when Colbert said, "We aren't going to run them because we are afraid."

One thing that is developing is a double standard. Brits have complained that protesters are allowed to say anything including calls for death for the cartoonists but regular citizens would be arrested for such behavior. The US response is rather weak. France (!!!) and Germany stand with Denmark in supporting free speech.

The self-loathing in the west that I wrote about yesterday is partly at work here. We feel that any time people get so worked up, they must have a valid point.

While many western governments are trying to defuse a bad situation, they may not be making things any better. By apologizing fro free speech, they are giving in to people who have no such compunctions. This may ease the current crisis but it weakens the west.

The Moslems have something called Dhimmitude which holds that other religions can co-exist with Islam as long as they have lesser status. After the Danish government's "appology", Dhimmi Watch says "We're all dhimmis now."

This is rather important. Why should people in Nigeria be protesting what a Danish newspaper printed?

One important but overlooked issue is the Moslems' misconception about who actually controls the press. I mentioned this yesterday but today's news points this out.

A small Arab movement active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark responded with a drawing on its Web site of Hitler in bed with Anne Frank. "Write this one in your diary, Anne," Hitler was shown as saying.

And in Iran:
A prominent Iranian newspaper said it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
As far as I know, the Danes who started the whole thing are not Jewish. Why concentrate on images offensive to Jews? Obviously the Moslems are being told that the Jews control the Western press and no one s bothering to address this.

I'm afraid that the "clash of civilizations" has moved into a new phase. The first phase was marked by terrorist acts by extremist groups. The new phase involves wide-scale riots by normal Moslems. Consider this a continuation of the French riots last year.

Who knows how long this phase will last or what the next phase will be? Apologizing for the western tradition of free speech will not help. When the actions of an obscure editor in Denmark can cause world-wide protests and rioting then more is going on then just some cartoons.

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