Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Manufacturing outrage 

Those of us in the blogging game know how to manufacture outrage. Indeed, more than one lefty blog accused me of essentially doing just that in this post. Maybe they're right -- I'll cop to a bit of that, if they will (in that they worked up some outrage over my worked-up outrage).

Let us agree, though, that nobody works up the outrage like the Muslim world, the activists in which polarize conflict every chance they get.

We know now, for instance, that the cartoon riots blew now, rather than in October when the offending drawings were first published, because radical worked the system to bring us to this crisis. The Guardian (via Wretchard):
On September 30 the paper's editor, Carsten Juste, launched his own provocative experiment, commissioning and publishing 12 cartoonists who had come up with their own satirical drawings of the prophet Muhammad....

At first, though, the outrage was local. Several thousand Danish Muslims protested. Three of the cartoonists received death threats; security guards were posted outside the newspaper's offices in Copenhagen and Arhus.

"Nobody saw this coming," Jan Lund, the paper's foreign editor admitted yesterday. "We didn't think the cartoons had crossed any line. Some people thought it was a good idea to publish, others didn't." He added: "We are the biggest newspaper in Denmark. We have always been the enfant terrible of the Danish press. Our cartoonists have made fun of politicians, Jesus and the Virgin Mary."

What should have remained a parochial row was to blow up into an international incident, largely because of the perceived obdurate response of Denmark's centre-right prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. On October 19 ambassadors from Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, demanded a meeting. They wanted the paper prosecuted. The PM gave them the brush-off, arguing that his government could not interfere with the right to free speech.

At this point a group of ultra-conservative Danish imams decided to take matters into their own hands, setting off on an ambitious tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a dossier containing the inflammatory cartoons.

According to Jyllands-Posten, the imams from the organisation Islamisk Trossamfund took three other mysteriously unsourced drawings as well, showing Muhammad with the face of a pig [now known to be a photo of an entrant in a French pig-squealing contest! - ed. (correction per Judith Weiss, who has more to say)]; a dog sodomising a praying Muslim; and Muhammad as a paedophile. "This was pure disinformation. We never published them," Lund complained. But the campaign worked. Outwardly the row appeared to be calming down. But in Muslim cyber-chatrooms, on blogs, and across the internet, outrage was building fast.

The rest is history:
Then last week came the diplomatic explosion. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Denmark for consultations, Libya shut its embassy.

At the same time a boycott of Danish goods began across the Middle East, with protesters in Bahrain burning Danish cheese. A Danish milk factory in Riyadh was forced to close; there were demonstrations in Baghdad; strikes in Pakistan; and flag-burning in Gaza.

Even the flags weren't just lying around -- Palestinian businessmen have been, er, trafficking in Scandinavian drapeaux.

So having riled up the the Muslim Street to burn down Danish consulates over half the world, what next to do? If you support the Final Final Solution policy in Tehran, you make it all about the Jews (as if the Nazis hadn't already killed most of the Danish Jews). Not only have the Iranians gotten back into the embassy trashing game -- a sport they pioneered in modern times -- but they are specifically "responding" by mocking the Holocaust.
IRAN'S largest selling newspaper announced today it was holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper - which is published by Teheran's conservative municipality.

He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression.

"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.

No problem. Send those Holocaust cartoons right here -- or better yet, to Little Green Footballs -- and I can virtually guarantee that they will be published immediately. Mr. Mortazavi will quickly learn two things. First, that sunlight remains the best disinfectant for the world's foulest ideas. Second, that Jews and their sympathizers the world over will not threaten murder, spend days on end out on the street -- Iranians probably don't realize that a central feature of the international Jewish conspiracy is a propensity for productive work -- or burn down the first Iranian consulate they can find, just because somebody publishes a few hideous line drawings. If they did, it would have happened when the British press published the cartoon below, and then honored it with an award:

So go ahead, Mr. Mortazavi, give it your best shot. You can't come up with cartoons ugly enough to frighten Jews into barbarity. You lack the imagination.


By Blogger Judith, at Tue Feb 07, 02:40:00 AM:

Small correction: according to the Gateway link, the person with the fake pig nose was a contestant in a pig-squealing contest in France. (If you can say that with a straight face you are better than me.)

Also there are several speculations about the political agenda behind the timing, which I link to.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Feb 07, 06:38:00 AM:

Thanks for reading more carefully than I did! Much obliged.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 07, 08:42:00 AM:

Muslim minorities in Western Europe demand for Islam a degree of legal protection which those countries no longer give to Christianity. The true faith, based on God’s final revelation, must be protected from insult and abuse; other faiths, being either false or incomplete, have no right to any such protection. Promoting democracy and human rights are very important goals for the United States, but it also has other interests.  

By Blogger cakreiz, at Tue Feb 07, 10:05:00 AM:

The myth is that we're all agreed that free speech trumps sensitivity to religion. Some folks are more candid than others. Take Grace Miao at "The Reaction". Grace comes down squarely against offending Islam. http://www.the-reaction.blogspot.com/ (post entitled "Cartoon Violence").

Here's a snippet:

"There are good reasons for the so-called "self-censorship" for the time being -- the most obvious is that this topic is extremely sensitive. The second reason, and most blatant in this case, is pure ignorance of the culture. It is clear that all of these cartoonists, and the editor themselves, know nothing of Islam, publishing a superficial perception, which is inexcusable. They are journalists, and they have a duty and responsibility to investigate and research before they go to print, and yes, practise "self-censorship" when what they are presenting is needlessly offensive."  

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Tue Feb 07, 11:32:00 AM:

I'm sorry, I don't buy the argument that publishing the original cartoons was in any way "inexcusable" or "needlessly offensive."

In my estimation there is an element of Islam--or perhaps more properly a malevolent subset of Islam--that needs to be mocked. The cartoon that shows the suicide bombers lined up at the gates of heaven only to be told "We have run out of virgins" makes the case I hope. If it doesn't, I have neither the time nor patience to explain why it should.

But those original cartoons are really almost beside the point, aren't they? The imams who added those three immeasurably more offensive drawings to their portfolio knew themselves the original 12 cartoons were insufficient to cause the level of outrage they wanted. So really, who are the ones doing the "inexcusable" and being "needlessly offensive"?

But perhaps anything is excusable if your religion tells you it is. And if so, then one needs to do what one needs to do.  

By Blogger cakreiz, at Tue Feb 07, 11:53:00 AM:

Let's face it- we'd all be much more sympathetic if Islamic radicals were roundly denounced and decried by fellow Muslims. But with a few unnotable exceptions, there's precious little outrage from Morocco to Indonesia.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 07, 12:26:00 PM:

They must truly be shocked that they did not get the immediate capitualation that they have come to expect. Seem to be feeling their way and not quite getting hang of it. Some of these are almost funny.

FIGHTING FREE SPEECH WITH FREE SPEECH al la the Kos Kids,Atrios, Tooles and Rall.
American Thinker linked to this:
The Islamic site carried a disclaimer saying the images were being shown as part of an exercise in free speech rather than to endorse their content - just as European newspapers have reprinted the Danish cartoons.

One of the AEL cartoons displayed an image of Dutch Holocaust victim Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, and another questioned whether the
Holocaust actually occurred.

Click here: title

Instapundit links to a new website, We Are Sorry, that has issued an apology to Denmark and Norway for the rioting and the violence directed at them by mobs of Muslims around the world.

Purportedly set up by moderate Muslims, the website makes a well-written and eloquent apology to those harmed by the protests over a series of editorial cartoons:

Except as Capt Ed points
out - it is not signed by
any organization or individuals - so actual source or purpose not known.



By Michelle Malkin · February 06, 2006 02:16 PM
This is nuts:

MULTAN, Pakistan (AFX) - The Pakistan Medical Association has vowed not to prescribe medicines from firms based in some European countries where controversial cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed were published, said Shahid Rao, the body's general secretary for Punjab province. The association will boycott drugs from Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and France to protest the 'blasphemous' drawings, Rao said.

'We have taken a unanimous decision and it will be immediately implemented in Pakistan,' Rao told AFP.

'Doctors in the country are very motivated on this issue,' he said. 'We would use alternate medicines in future till a public apology comes from these countries.'

Pharmacists have also vowed not to sell such medicines, Ra

If only we can get them to
give back and not use any of our technology - they would be back to carts and
donkeys, carrier pigeons,bows and arrows?  

By Blogger geoffrobinson, at Tue Feb 07, 12:39:00 PM:

Those who support hate crime legislation may be reticent to throw stones. Maybe they saw a reductio ad absurdum coming their way.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 07, 12:47:00 PM:


I thankfully can offer a correction about the Nazis killing most of the Danish Jews. I never heard this story, until some other site (can't remember which) linked to the following: http://auschwitz.dk/Denmark.htm. It is the story of how the Danes in WWII worked to help the majority of Danish Jews escape to Sweden when it was learned the Nazis had planned to ship them all off to concentration camps.....  

By Blogger reader_iam, at Tue Feb 07, 01:02:00 PM:


By Blogger sirius_sir, at Tue Feb 07, 02:21:00 PM:

Michelle Malkin has a nice roundup of opinion concerning the issue here.

The remarks by Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff in the Washington Post are relevant:

It seems odd that most U.S. papers patronize their readers by withholding cartoons that the whole world talks about. To publish does not mean to endorse. Context matters.
It's worth remembering that the controversy started out as a well-meaning attempt to write a children's book about the life of the prophet Muhammad. The book was designed to promote religious tolerance. But the author encountered the consequences of religious hatred when he looked for an illustrator...

When this episode percolated to the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten, the paper's cultural editor commissioned the caricatures. He wanted to see whether cartoonists would self-censor their work for fear of violence from Muslim radicals. Still, the European media ignored this story... By last week it was not an obscure topic anymore but front-page news. And it wasn't about religious sensibilities as much as about free speech. That's when the cartoons started to show up in papers all over Europe.

Yes, it's front page news... except most people in this country still don't know what all the fuss is about, unless they have access to the internet.

Which goes back to the responsibilities of journalists. Isn't the first responsibility to inform? My guess is that anyone who has not actually seen these cartoons has probably--based on the response they've received--made the invalid assumption they are vile and vicious, similar to what the Jews (as some of these insulted Muslims are quick to remind us) have had to endure for ages. My guess is that most people, even most Muslims, would look at these cartoons and ask: What's the big deal?

I'll bet the majority of Muslims most offended by these pictures haven't even seen them.  

By Blogger cakreiz, at Tue Feb 07, 02:26:00 PM:

No doubt, sirius (on not seeing the pics). One thing that blind submission is successful at creating is mindless followers.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Feb 07, 02:42:00 PM:

Lisa, thanks for the note re the fate of the Danish Jews. Now that you mention it, I seem to recall that this topic surfaced in the novel Exodus. Good point.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Feb 07, 02:50:00 PM:

Glad someone cleared that up about Denmark and the Jews during WWII. The Danes were heroic, and almost alone among the Europeans, in their defiance of the Nazis' decree that Danish Jews wear the yellow star (in order to identify them, the better to persecute them).

In recent decades, the Danes have been among the most steadfast supporters of the Palestinians' right to a homeland.

There has also been an upsurge of anti-immigrant feeling in Denmark in the past few years as the Muslim immigrants of the last two decades stubbornly resist to integrate in what was once a totally homogeneous society.

That's the rough background. Here's the Danish prime minister today:

"[This] is a very unpleasant situation for Danes, we're not used to this," he added.

He looks spooked:

By Blogger reader_iam, at Tue Feb 07, 11:48:00 PM:

"The Pakistan Medical Association has vowed not to prescribe medicines from firms based in some European countries where controversial cartoons portraying the Prophet Mohammed were published, said Shahid Rao, the body's general secretary for Punjab province. The association will boycott drugs from Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and France to protest the 'blasphemous' drawings, Rao said.

More bodies potentially sacrificed to the cause.

Offense too easily offered and too easily taken is b***s***.

B***s*** is the great fertilizer.

And so it goes--and grows (to append to Vonnegut's famous phrase.)


By Blogger TigerHawk, at Tue Feb 07, 11:51:00 PM:

That last bit sounds like an excuse to bust drug patents. Let's see if that happens.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Nov 09, 11:54:00 PM:


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?