Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Global riot

It seems to your blogstress that, despite some six days of protests and riots around the world, the people of the Western world seem intent on not getting the furor over a series of cartoons, run in a handful of European newspapers, that cariactured the prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) in a number of stereotypes ascribed to Muslims by bigots. It would have been enough of a blasphemy simply to depict the prophet, even in a positive light. Islam proscribes any depiction of the prophet, much like Jewish prosciptions of "graven images" of the deity. But to do so in such a disrespectful fashion, well, that was just gasoline thrown on already smouldering coals.

Particularly distasteful is the fact that the cartoons in question originated as part of a "challenge to self-censorship" initiated by a Danish newspaper. In other words, these cartoonists were given the charge to be just as insulting as they pleased. And some pleased to be extremely insulting. All in the name of freedom of expression.

When the Danish paper found itself condemned, a number of European papers, some four months after the first printing of the cartoons by the Danish paper, ran, on February 1, the offensive set of cartoons "in solidarity" with the Danish paper. And now we have rioting in Beirut and Maimana, Afghanistan; and protests the world over, in London, in Jakarta, in Teheran and elsewhere. Make no mistake; this is a global revolt.

Death to the Danes?

One of the great ironies of this planetary conflagration is that Denmark seems to find itself standing in for the U.S. as the target of Muslim rage. Per capita, Denmark gives far more overseas aid to Muslim countries than does the U.S. Its foreign policy is far more benevolent to the Muslim world than is that of the U.S. Indeed, your Webwench once stood in a crafts workshop for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan, that was the work of a Danish non-governmental organization. Virtually no U.S. presence was to be found among the NGOs that served the displaced Afghans in Peshawar. No, they were Dutch and Danish and Norwegian and French.

That this travesty of journalistic hubris should have taken place on Danish soil reminds your cybertrix the danger of mythologizing any people, any family, any individual. Your ecrivaine had lionized in her own mind the Danish people, even as their land was occupied by German forces, for their fierce resistence to the murderous anti-Semitism of the Nazis. How ironic that some 60 years later, a frat-boy-style challenge has led to a world afire and and multi-nation boycott of Danish goods.

Irony to the nth power

As if the irony in the Danish situation were not enough, the ironies continue to compound in the situation. Not least among them, the Teheran contest for the most offensive holocaust cartoons and the likely incitement of these riots by the repressive governments of Muslim countries, who control the media in their own nations. Hence, one finds the idea of a boycott of Danish goods for the deeds of an organization that is unrelated to the Danish government making sense to the citizens of Muslim lands. For in their countries, newspapers are often government organs.

Now everybody's getting involved

With today's news that NATO troops killed three protesters of the cartoons in Afghanistan, the nations of the West best brace themselves. We are witnessing only the beginning of an unleashing of rage that could go on for quite some time.

Sphere: Related Content