69 million page views

La Gitana

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: response to la gitana

Submitted by Sword of Islam (United Kingdom), Feb 9, 2006 at 21:37

I read your comments with interest as they are the first structured response that has emerged in defence of the current 'stand-off'.

If you troll through the postings that constitute this debate you will find an utter lack of a coherent response in defence of the extremist reaction to these cartoons. It has taken extremist comments from the opposing view to provoke the minimum of stimulating debate. I believe it to be the only currency in such a situation. Your response is a vindication of that belief.

The whole point of the cartoon issue is that the subject matter is a Holy Cow. As a secular society (or one that is striving to be) why should it be that that the only religion that is 'off-limits' as regards satire is Islam? Any society whose choices are determined by fear cannot be said to be free. Bad taste is not a crime. Causing offence is not a virtue. But if fear is the only motivation to prevent bad taste and cause offence then there is something very wrong indeed.

But, insofar as this debate is concerned, the fact of the matter is that these cartoons were published in September 2005. The lack of a public outcry was deafening. The imams in Denmark had no support for their campaign. Then they 'added' some cartoons of their own and canvassed Middle Eastern states for support. They 'falsified' the evidence to include pictures of The Prophet engaged in acts of beastiality and as half man/half pig - passing these forgeries off as having been published in the newspaper. With the greatest of respect to the Danish press the Jyllands-Posten does not have the same international circulation as, say, the New York Times so these forgeries were not questioned. Then came the outcry from the Muslim world. Three months later. Then more falsehoods were added to the equation - the Danes were going to 'burn the Koran' in retaliation against these protests (obviously untrue) - serving to escalate this violence.

Freedom of speech is therefore less of an issue in this case than might otherwise be assumed. These facts are all verifiable. Just Google them.

Why should Spain be returned to the Arabs? It has never been an Arab country. If there is any justification for such a thing then I take it that the occupation of a country gives sufficient grounds for ownership - possession being nine-tenths of the law? Does Arabia actually exist anymore? Not on my map. Presumably then, you will then concede the point that as the UN occupied Palestine after the war it was legitimate for them to grant the lands that make up the state of Israel. Sorry, but you shot yourself in the foot with that example!

As an argument it is particularly weak as the talking point revolves around states that already exist rather than states that are hypothetically being proposed. Does the fact that that Israel is just over 50 years old make it any less legitimate than, say, a state that is 100 years old? Is a state that is 200 years old more legitimate than a state that is 100 years old? I'd be interested to know where you draw the line. Presumably the surrounding states, that are barely older themselves, in terms of international borders, are equally illegitimate. Be consistent. Again we have a list of 'crimes' but precious little in the way of solutions or suggestions. Either you concur that the state of Israel has a right to exist (unlikely, given your shopping list) or you believe that it shouldn't be there. If the latter is true, what do you suggest that we do with it? Or do you fall into neither camp - in which case, why make the point? Or are you just one of those guys that one occasionally sees shouting at traffic in the street? 'Full of sound and fury - signifying nothing'.

Hopefully, now that Hamas is a government rather than a terrorist organisation we will see more 'jaw, jaw' and less 'war, war' - its not likely but neither is it impossible. The negotiation table is the only way that the Palestinian issue will be resolved. The Israelis are hardly going to withdraw at gunpoint. Any blame for this situation must rest with the neighbouring states who tried to invade Israel in the Sixties. They had their 'arses kicked' and Israel grabbed some extra territory as compensation. In any other region the displaced population (and we're not talking about a lot of people here) would have been absorbed by the adjacent Arab states. Not there. The result? Impasse! The Arabs don't want them and the Jews don't want them.

I have complete conviction that as soon as the the gun or suicide bomber is removed from the equation the ball will start rolling. The death of Arafat, and his unique ability to 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory', was a massive step forward in the Palestinian cause. I cross my fingers and hope that the UN will get it's act together and achieve something positive for once rather than exist purely as a 'talking shop'.

Palestine is convenient clarion call for every petty dictator in the region but I sincerely hope that once we do resolve it (fingers crossed) we do not see the goalposts shift and a resumption of the ideaology that questions the right of the state of Israel to actually exist. The rhetoric of the Iranians and the attempt to whip up support for the eradication of Israel does not inspire hope.

I think that the use of the Palestine issue in political discussion actually means 'different things to different people'. To some it means the withdrawal of the Israelis from the territories that they have occupied since 1967 (territories won during the failed invasion) and to others the removal of the state as a whole. A very muddy issue and one that I am not entirely sure is understood by the world at large.

"Why is so difficult to accept that other societies and cultures have different criterion and that we have to impose on them a Western style democracy"

For the same reasons, it would seem, as that the components of these societies have for leaving these cultures and their inability to integrate into our social model without trying to alter the model in their favour.

The fact that the Iranians preferred the idea of an Ayatollah is obvious. Whether the subsequent reality corresponds to the dream is something only they can answer. Im not sure how relevant that point is given that the issue relates more to whether Iran is helpful, indifferent or harmful to the interests of the outside world. Perhaps you know more than the rest of us? Perhaps you can explain the facts explaining the vast discrepancy in the numbers migrating from this region to the West and those migrating in the other direction? As a benchmark of popuIarity it is the only measurement that we have.

don't think it is any great co-incidence that the largest immigrant populations coming to the UK, well before the recent wars, were from Iraq and Afghanistan. Purely coincidental? Hardly a point that supports your argument in this case. Many puppet regimes have been installed and supported in varying countries by agents of the West. Would you say that these form a majority in overall 'despot numbers' or a minority. Do you seriously believe that 'the people' have any say over their 'choice' of dicator?

It is incredibly easy to rant against history. It doesn't achieve a great deal. It actual fact it exacerbates such flash points. If the assumption of historical guilt is applied to the world as a whole for real or imagined crimes there isn't a society on the planet that stands blameless. It is precisely this kind of intellectual guilt that hamstrings modern society and anchors it in the past making it impotent in dealing with the troubles that it imports. Troubles that are current. These incursions into our social model are tolerated when they are seen as invisible but when threats, real or imagined, to our social model are so high profile a backlash becomes inevitable and the longer hostility simmers below the surface in the West the more widespread it will become and the bigger the explosion will be when it comes. This is true of pretty much every socity on the planet. As a European I am affected by the European manifestation of this human phenomenon. Kosovo was a warning of this. Do you imagine that events such as those that have occurred make the likelihood of our intervention in 'rogue' states more or less likely?

If we cannot ensure harmony in the West with those who flee these states then the only logical method of 'fixing' the problem is by 'fixing' the source of the problem. I'm not saying that I advocate such action, I actually dread it, but the longer this situation goes on the more likely I see such action as being. If a conflict kicked off between the West and Iran, for example, and the first casuality would obviously be Iraq. It is primed for iinvasion given the vacuum that presently exists there. The idea of 10 million Iranian jihadis descending upon the approximately 6000 British troops in the South of Iraq does not give me a hard-on.

Do you have actually anything to say to help 'deal' with the situation rather than taking the easy route and generalising about current events and getting specific only with historical issues?

Or are you too comfortable sitting on the fence and urinating on both sides of the debate. Be a man and pick a side. Any side. I am sorry that you have been a victim of history and politics. But find me a family on the planet whose genealogy hasn't been touched by this at some point. Religion is generally involved somewhere along the line ( at least it has in every century up until the last) so you will forgive me if I have no time or tolerence for any state or group of people whose belief encroaches upon the secular society steeped in the blood of my ancestors. The American Indian was not helped by those who fled Europe in search of sanctuary from Christian Fundamentalism - the birth of which was assisted in no small way by the Inquisition and it's attempts to eradicate any remnant of the invasion Europe by The Moors.

Furthermore, the implied racism that you apply to these views is, in and of itself, racist. My ancestors had no involvement with any of the events that you describe. Why then should I allow myself to be hamstrung by 'white guilt'? My world is being threatened by alien values. I resent it. Historical knowledge is a fuel to such resentment. The erosion of established values by an external force in a 'civilised' society invariably leads to the downfall of such society. This is a classic example of a situation where 'ignorance is bliss' - I truly wish I were as I would have fewer sleepless nights and spend my free time far more productively!

As an alien myself, my parents emigrated from the Republic of Ireland to the UK in the 70's. I therefore have no problem with immigrants in terms of skin colour or personal creed - as long as these creeds do not destabilise the status quo that so many died to protect (in defiance of at least one of the crimes that you attribute to Europe as a whole). As an Irish man I can tell stories of British imperialism - of massacres, discrimination and injustices. However, do you suggest that I should simmer with hatred for these past crimes? Or the discrimination that my parents suffered with their thick Irish accents (the only giveaway to their nationality) and being regarded as 'less' than their British counterparts - despite being physically indistinguishable from the 'natives'? Of course not.

I was raised in the UK and my historical 'baggage' simply means that I do not take the image of Empire at face value. Should I seek to undermine the society that has given me my education and lifestyle in revenge for the persecution of my ancestors and the eradication of their national language? What would it achieve? And therein lies the point. My parents emigrated to the UK and INTEGRATED. If you examined my life in detail you would my nationality indistinguishable from that of any other English man. Without sacrificing anything that compromises my cultural identity. If I, or my parents, couldn't do that we wouldn't be here.

Given your assertion that the societies whom you advocate as having the right to self determination simply have alternative values that the unenlightened such as myself cannot understand you presumably also believe that those who flee these regimes cannot have legitimate cause for asylum and are by definition criminal. Therefore, as criminals you presumably support the idea of mass deportation and repatriation of these people - given that these states aren't as bad as the ignorant believe.

That's a bit right-wing for me, La Gitana. Maybe we could repatriate them to France - they should fit in there but I'd much rather give them a choice in the matter. Embrace our values or embrace Islamic values. If you want to embrace our values you are more than welcome as our diminishing population growth means that we NEED you. If you don't want to embrace our values why not try and help the people who share your philosophy to build a truly Islamic society. But you can't have it both ways. You don't have to compromise your beliefs but I'll be damned if we're going to abandon ours. The millions who have died to evolve this society to where it is mmay be silent but it doesn't make their sacrifice one that all of us are going to forget. I thank them every day for the fact that my generation has not faced forced conscription for war and I pray that my descendants will retain that respect for them.

And therein lies the point....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)