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Reader comment on item: Cartoons and Islamic Imperialism

Submitted by PeterS (United States), Feb 7, 2006 at 22:57

One would think from reading many of the editorials in the world wide press that freedom of speech is a principle only meant to defend Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons and only the most profound news articles. But of course these do not need any defense. The principle of freedom of speech, is to allow into the public discourse, the free market of ideas, thoughts that would also fall into the category of unpopular, provocative and, or, just plain dumb.

In a civilized society ideas are presented with unassailable arguments or suffer destruction at the hands of more cogent points of view. Or perhaps a modification of everyone's thinking occurs which would be a win for all of society. The idea is that no authority, none, not secular or religious, can ever predict or know where good ideas might originate so everyone has a chance to spout their wisdom or their pap.

The Danish cartoons have been criticized for being not very, what(?). How do you judge cartoons? In any case they have been accused of not being very good. That's a high standard, there are only a few cartoonists in the whole of the United States that are able to hit the ‘gong' consistently and I wonder, I would ask American cartoonists, "Where are your teeth now?" Further, the cartoons are accused of being provocative to a religious group. Provocative, perhaps, but Viktor Frankle in his book, Man's Search For Meaning, echoing Socrates, said after his experience in Nazi concentration camps, that no matter what anyone does, no matter the circumstances there is one freedom that no one can ever take away and that is your freedom to choose your own attitude. It is incorrect for Muslims to say that they ‘are' offended, correctly stated it would be "I choose to be offended." And in a free society anyone may respond with agreement or not give a damn!

The controversy requires some sorting of facts, although I am unable to see anything ‘controversial' about anything that has happened.. A Danish author writing a children's book on Islam couldn't find any illustrators! After events in The Netherlands in which one film maker was murdered and a female Muslim legislator, threatened with murder, has had to go into hiding, an editor at the Jyllands-Posten wondered just how much self imposed censorship was taking place in his country. This seems like a natural and laudable question for any newspaper in a free society to investigate.

After the, now infamous, cartoons were published and an apology ‘for publishing' was not forth coming it would appear that one Danish Muslim added some far more provocative cartoons and took this adulterated group to the Middle-East with all the ensuing brouhaha. One might wonder why this Danish Muslim with his own cartoon illustrations of Mohamed did not fall into apostate, but I digress.

We are now led to believe by a few spokespersons on both sides of the Atlantic and by at least one former U.S. president, a master at parsing words, that murder, riots, arson, threats of terror and cartoons have some kind of equivalency. To those I say, "Only in your most alcohol sodden dreams."

The cartoons quite rightly were picked up and published by a number of newspapers in Europe, not so in the United States, quite wrongly. In fact the New York Times, "the paper of record", only today took mild editorial notice of this world wide eruption. The Philadelphia Inquirer appears to be the only newspaper in this country that has published even one of the cartoons. May I ask why the American people are suddenly considered so infantile by the media that we are not allowed to see the cartoons, both the originals and the counterfeit, so that they may make a judgment as to whether the riotous response to them is justified or simply a new form of Fascism? Any excuse for barbaric behavior also infantilizes Muslims everywhere, as if they, you know unlike other adults, just can't help themselves.

Denmark is a tiny country with cheese and bicycles and Tivoli Gardens. But I would also like to remind those that forgot or never knew that once, when in the grip of the Nazi terror, once, when they saw what was developing, they arranged the secret evacuation of every Jew in the country to neutral Sweden. They were small but mighty when courage was called for.

But or course in the end the free society and freedom of speech, has lost. Can anyone image that any frank discussion of Islam or the behavior of any Muslim group in any country, their treatment of women for example, will ever be printed or broadcast again? They came face to face, eyeball to eyeball with us and we blinked, first. For Shame!!

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