Monday, February 13, 2006

This cartoon business

A lot has been made of this cartoon business. Basically I agree with everything that Famulus says on this subject. If you can't be arsed reading it, here is the general feel:

We are nicer to our friends than we are to people we don't like. Islam prohibits the depiction of Mohammed. Yes we have freedom of expression and speech over in the west, but at what point do our freedoms begin to impinge other peoples freedoms? If there was a picture of a swastika and a Nazi-esque propaganda depiction of a Jew, that would be banned, not just because it is just plain wrong, but because we are far more friendly with Israel than we are with Islamic nations. I grant you this is an extreme example, but even if you drop the Swastika you know that no depiction of a Jewish caricature of that type would be tolerated in a mainstream western paper. So given that is the case, can someone tell me the difference with this cartoon that serves no other purpose than to be deliberately offensive to a specific group of people? it's not aimed at terrorists, it's aimed at Muslims. No matter what certain hacks would have you believe, there is a quite marked difference. I know hack is an offensive term but I can't describe them as journalists or reporters because that would imply some degree of objectivity, integrity or at least a vague effort at accuracy.

I'm all for the freedom of the press, I'm entirely against instituional racism.


Olivia said...

You should bother Famulus into commenting here.

MJ said...

My love...I am kind of back....well...not really...I am sorry I have been such a miserable being... but it's been hectic...
i'll tell you all about it later... letter or card you better make up for it!!!
miss you

lunaliar said...

Okay, just to clarify my cartoon post, I was NOT making blanket statements about ALL Muslims. I was; however, fuming at all of those lighting torches to embassies, burning tires and flags and wreaking havoc on Denmark's economy because of a dozen drawings. That's uncalled for. It's unreasonable even with my liberalized, Western, Baptist-born-and-raised background.

I think that Islamic fundamentalism is a terrible institution, much like any kind of religious fundamentalism when instituted into the very fibers of government because it alienates all those who do not adhere to such a strict totalitarian code.

Besides that, violence is so tacky. It just makes people look like knuckledraggers and neanderthals. Because I work in daily publishing, I have a suggestion for those who are malcontent with their local daily press: Write a letter to the editor.

MattJ said...

hey LJ, I kinda thought it wasn't like you to do that but I think in your anger about the vioulence, that's kinda how it came across. Having said that my reaction to the story kind of came out as an outright attack on what you'd posted, which wasn't my intention. I just think 'freedom of the press' is often used as a defence by people who don't actually beleive in it, it's just a handy excuse to put morale and ethical consideration aside and print whatever the hell they feel like under the heading 'public information'.

I think your description of the violence is tacky is pretty spot on, it immediately detracts from any valid argument you may have, which I think is the biggest tragedy here. people have died for no reason and the fact that the 'satirical' cartoon is intensely racist is happily ignored.

MattJ said...

MJ! You're back! excuse me while i do a little dance.............

OK done now. This sucks! For everyone elses information, i sent MJ a card and a letter on her birtday more than 2 weeks ago and they haven't arrived. Now she thinks I haven't sent them at all. I am now in a qunadry, do I send another card and letter? If I do and they arrive in a timelty manner whill her opinion that I didn't send the first set in the first palce be reinforced? It's all very complicated, correspondance seemed liek such a simple idea at the time!

M. said...

I think it's not quite an apt comparison. Western standards are arguably different, so take a look at what happens in the Middle East - offensive cartoons degrading Jews and the Jewish faith are often published in Arabic newspapers, but you don't see Jewish folks going into massive riots and reckless destruction based on those cartoons, do you?

Note that I do NOT condone any type of racism, be it against Jews, Arabs, black people, white people, whomever. Nor do I deny that we are friendly with Israel. Nor do I deny that those cartoons are pointless. But I do think it's akin to the pot calling the kettle black. If you're so offended by other people caricaturing your religious beliefs, then don't do it to other people. And if you do get offended, don't make yourselves look worse by acting like barbarians.

MattJ said...

Good points all M., The barabrism has hurt the arguments of proper muslims almlost beyond repair.

Playing devils advocate here, I don't doubt for a second that in deeply muslim countries those kind of cartoons appear against the Jewish faith. This cartoon wasn't published in a theocratic nation though, or anything similar, it was in a country who's second largets religious community consists of muslims.

I'm not saying the vehemently anti-Jewish (or more accurately anti-Israel) sentiment in a nation like Iran, for example, is excusable but it is kind of expected. The fact we live in such diverse surroundings with diverse culturesn really should breed some kind of sensitivity, particularly when the the popular press are already doing such a good job of characterising the Islamic faith as one of violence, ignorance and hatred.

I can't stress enough how much i agree that the violent reactions of the minority are deplorable but suggesting that all muslims are terrorists, in a western nation with a significant Muslim population, is just plain dumb.

There are 1.3 billion odd Muslims in the world, i think we'd know about it if they all felt the same way as the murderers this cartoon is meant to be caricaturing.

To be honest I think this is something that it's easy to get misunderstood about in text, I think i came across as defending the violent protest on LL's blog, which obviously I don't. In the same way she was not blanket accusing all muslims of the same crime.

Sadly, being a picky git, I think my main problem with the whole thing is how it's being called a 'Satirical' cartoon in a pathetic attempt at attributing journalistic integrity to it.

lunaliar said...

you are so profanely picky... But in all truths, I think that we mostly agree.

I also am of the school that thinks nothing good of racism in any of its bigoted forms, but can we not deny the trend that those of devout Islamic faith are easily recruited into the realm of terrorism? Why is this so? What are we doing so wrong as a world to have these men and women so easily beckoned into the works of death and the devil himself?

I guess that instead of making assumptions we should all be asking more questions.

MattJ said...

I dunno LL, it's true certain strains of Islam, particulaarly a certain form of Wahabiism, are inclined towrads violent and murderous action. But there are thsoe strands in every faith I think, it's just the Islamic one is better publicised. All you have to do is check out some of the things Mossad have done to see depravity done in the name of Israel, the IRA purported to be Catholic, then there are the hundreds of bizarre christian based cults that convince their memebers to do stupid things, sometimes taking their own lives. Do these people blow up other people who don't have their beliefs? Absolutely they do. ETA do it in the name of independence in Spain. It's done for a variety of reasons.

Right now the focus is on ISlamic fundametalist terrorists. My only argument is against the demonisation of an entire faith on the basis of an extremist minority.

As far as the ease of recruitment. As is always the case when it comes to recruiting people for this kind of endeavour they are invariably young men between the ages of 16 and 22, very easily led when recruited so young.

M. said...

Sorry to prolong this, but several other points -

I read on Wikipedia, I believe, that the cartoons WE know of aren't the ones that really got the protestors riled up. 3 additional purported "cartoons" were supposedly added to publication by supposed imams (I'm going off of my memory here) that were REALLY offensive. I've seen them; they're not even satirical, and the whole point was to offend. If it's the case then there's no question how sick and twisted fundamentalist Islamists are.

The other point that I want to make - I am very wary of ANY religion that literally commands its followers to convert other people. Add to that elements of eternal bliss or damnation, infidels/heathens, and inflammatory language, and it doesn't lead to a good ending. My friend once said education and free-thinking is a luxury of the bourgeoisie. The average person just isn't that smart, and people who are struggling to survive don't necessarily have the time to question these things.

lunaliar said...

Well, M. to put it rather coarsely...

That sucks, don't it?

MattJ said...

I think you just described every major religion M! Death through religious teaching doesn't necessatily ave to come through teaching people they should blow up other people. Millions of men, women, children and babies die of AIDS every year in Africa because poo uneducated people are taught that they will go to Hell if they wear a condom. That one is courtesy of the guy they are trying to fast-track to Sainthood, way to go JP.

I think we should probably end it there, I'm kind of with Famulus on the subject of organised religion.

"I am very wary of ANY religion that literally commands its followers to convert other people. Add to that elements of eternal bliss or damnation, infidels/heathens, and inflammatory language, and it doesn't lead to a good ending"

I agree, that's why I am not religious in any way, that kind of language can be found in any major religious text. Sometimes it takes the evil twsited shits who spout hate and violence to take the words out of context and twist them beyond their actual meaning, but they are there.

M. said...

Actually, Buddhism does not ask for converts and does not damn people to hell for not believing. But precisely because of that it usually falls below everyone's radar.

MattJ said...

Unsurprisingly I have views on Buddhism too lol! from what I've read it's not all it's cracked up to be though. No point arguing about it though, personally think all religion is a bad idea in general so i will find flaws in all of them ;p.

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