Friday, February 03, 2006

Post Scriptum

There's an article on the danish caricature issue on

The article states that both the administration in washington and the Danish ministry said that the drawings were offensive.

The article also says that "Dutch-language newspapers in Belgium and two Italian right-wing papers reprinted the drawings on Friday. The Italian papers also ran editorials criticizing European media for giving in to pressure over the drawings"

There is an online poll available on this same article, asking if the "anti-denmark protests are justified"?

Yes 15%

No 82%

Undecided 4%

I put this here as a juxtaposition to my previous blogpost, the reactions of those who read that, and abhinav's comments on it.

Because what's beautiful about democracy is its relativity-- a minority on this tiny little space in blogdom is in "reality"-- at least on an american-based and american-sponsored website-- a majority.

I put this here to show that Abhinav is not alone in his reaction to the issue.

I put this here to show how "freedom of press" can be extended to include any amount of libel or disrespect, the same way that the "necessary and proper" clause in the american constitution can be extended to include illegal surveillance and warantless imprisonment.

I put this here to showcase certain quotes out of this article:

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in a meeting with Egypt’s ambassador, reiterated his stance that the government cannot interfere with issues concerning the press. On Monday, he said his government could not apologize on behalf of a newspaper, but that he personally “never would have depicted Muhammad, Jesus or any other religious character in a way that could offend other people.”

While recognizing the importance of freedom of the press and expression, U.S. State Department press officer Janelle Hironimus said these rights must be coupled with press responsibility.

“Inciting religious or ethnic hatred in this manner is not acceptable,” Hironimus said. “We call for tolerance and respect for all communities and for their religious beliefs and practices.”

And another quote:

"“If they want a war of religions, we are ready,” Hassan Sharaf, an imam in Nablus, said in his sermon"

And then:

"The Jyllands-Posten said it had asked cartoonists to draw images of the prophet “to examine whether people would succumb to self-censorship, as we have seen in other cases when it comes to Muslim issues.”

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying the caricatures are an attack on “our spiritual values,” adding they had damaged efforts to establish an alliance between the Muslim world and Europe"


"In Europe, senior British, French and Italian officials criticized the drawings. Austria, which holds the European Union presidency, expressed concern over the escalating crisis.

“I believe that the republication of these cartoons has been unnecessary, it has been insensitive, it has been disrespectful and it has been wrong,” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said"

To clarify then, once and for all--

Abhinav, and all those who hold the same view as you do on this matter--

I am not pro censorship. I am pro sensitivity. The newspaper's claim that it was all an "exercise" is ludicrous, only because it is dangerous to publically play with people's emotions. And when I say it is dangerous, it is not to imply that the world should now centre its media and culture on being sympathetic to islam. I say it is dangerous because we do not live in isolation today. Such acts affects entire countries and economies. Such acts cause an increase in hatred when communication between nations is already in a fragile state.

I say it once again-- cartoons of the pope raping a choirboy will raise global rhetoric. But it will not send the catholic nation to war with the country whose paper published it. For two reasons-- One, that there is no catholic nation, at least not comparable to the extent that there is a muslim ummah. Secondly-- For the western christian world, catholism is but a sect, and economic and cultural matters take precedence over religious matters.

Islam is unlike any world religion because of that matter. As Haqqani points out in his 'Pakistan" between mosque and military', this monotheistic religion ties in with every aspect of a beliver's life-- whether it is at the family, business or governmental level. That is a difference. And misunderstanding that difference, or trying to test its limits is sheer blindness and folly.

Do not kill the danish cartoonists. Make them see reason.
Do not carry out "experiments" in social theory using caricatures in newspapers to test how far you can push people. This can and will be equated to acts of torture in abu ghraib. And why not? There too, all the soldiers were trying to do is to test how far they could push people.

Do not force people to defend their religion. Do not use freedom as a mask while inciting hatred.

And to think some jewish scribe ages back thought that writing about 10 commandments would be enough to keep an entire group of people safe and free from strife.

Pitiful, we humans are. I am still sad.