< HOME  Wednesday, February 08, 2006

the PEN cuts deeper than the SWORD

They call the cartoons 'free speech,' but there's nothing 'free' about them.
Eleven people have been killed in the last week as thousands conducted street protests in a dozen Afghan cities and towns to march against the cartoons, which have been reprinted in various European media after first appearing in a Danish newspaper in September.
There's a price to pay for everything we say. So our words must be measured.

The cartooons are EXTREME and cut to the core, leaving heart and nerves exposed.

Their sole purpose is to inflict pain, incite violence, and trigger WORLD WAR.

They cannot be condemned in strong enough words to undo the hurt that they've caused.

But, the price paid in blood is too dear to continue.

Muslims must measure their response to avoid further violence. And people of good faith must speak out and condemn this spineless provocation.

Only the worst kind of cowards hide behind a pen, when they know that it cuts like a sword.


At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I repeat.

How are the cartoons any more extreme than the image in South Park of the Virgin Mary bleeding out of its ass?

Please articulate what makes it wholly more offensive or provocative, OTHER than the reaction of the Muslims. What is so intrinsically awful about the images that makes them so much worse?

I fail to see it.

I see your arguments hence as walking down the path of censorship when something offends a group who are easily offended.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Anonymous Apollonian said...

Yes, heck, I sure agree w. that, qrswave--u're actually just a big bully, aren't u? Someone says something u don't like and u get all hysterical and intimidating--which then just totally distracts and terrorizes all ur potential bloggers-participants, eh? Shame on u. Apollonian

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

They're equally egregious and should be condemned in the strongest words.

That 'path of censorship' is more accurately described as mutual respect.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Apollonian, I'm not sure that I understand your sarcasm, this time. You lost me.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Anonymous Apollonian said...

Well, give urself time--u show potential, I think. See, the pt. is ur "moralism" founded in hubris, narcissism, and smugness manifests itself in fascism, intimidation, and censorship--as in ur desperate effort to preserve ur "friend's" what?--self-esteem? Seems pretty patronizing to me u gotta do all this "protection" and running of such "interference." Ck my other entry on "...Hitchens Rocks." Apollonian

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...


According to your line of reasoning, qrswave, that image should be banned as being "insensitive."

Do you now understand my real concerns over the first amendment?

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Anonymous Apollonian said...

Gosh qrswave, I hope u feel so honored to have this high and mighty chosenite who deigns to talk to u imparting such earth-shattering info, eh? Apollonian

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Honestly, I will not look at the image. I will assume that it is offensive, since you venture to assume that it should be banned.

I don't think the state needs to ban anything. People should use their good judgment before airing utterly arbitrary attacks on the sacred beliefs of others. That's what being a responsible citizen is about.

I continue to condemn these images in the strongest possible terms. They are an egregious and frontal attack against Islam.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

The image bashes Bush. I think you would like it.

It goes to the central point of what I am trying to make.

Here's what it says...

"Jesus says give to those who begs from you and do not refuse him who would borrow from you." - Jesus favors more government handours for welfare cheats.

"Jesus says judge not, that you be not judged." - Jesus is soft on crime.

"Jesus says render unto Ceaser the things which are Ceasar's." - Jesus will raise your taxes.

"Jesus says do not resist one who is evil, but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other." - Can we trust Jesus to fight the war on terror?

"Jesus - wrong on social services. Wrong on crime. Wrong on defense. Wrong for America."

"I'm George Bush and I approve this message."

If we ban the images of Mohammed according to your line of reasoning, I fail to distinguish why this should not be banned. And yet it has a very point to make.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

I'm a Muslim. You wanna know why I am offended:

Thee cartoons are meant to dehumanize me so that my people can be killed mercilessly. Why - read on?

1. In my culture - education for women is called "jewellery of education" - every single Muslim I know is educating his daughters. My prophet declared education compulsory for men and women. By mixing rural/urban statistics and some desert tribal cultures, post-colonial education budgets of developing countries, they are maligning my people and my women. A greater proportion of women go to college in Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey - than in many Western countries. That's why I am pissed. My most intelligent and educated Muslim friends happen to be women. I'm pissed.

2. On the streets of New York, London, Chicago - beggars single me out for my Muslim appearance for I will never refuse any one - even giving out my last cigarette. If I see a nail on the street, I will move it away. Once we saw a stolen briefcase and I reported it to the police and my kid asked me why - it took so much time - I said "my prophet asked me to".

3. 25 times a day I send blessings on that Prophet who gave women the right of divorce, whose first revelation was to learn by the pen, who said that interest is bad, and wealth should not accumulate among the rich, who forgave his enemies.

If you caricature him wrongly, and persist -- and blame that on a few terrorists -- I get pissed -- for it is dehumanizing me and my culture so that nuclear bombs can be used against me and my people in the future to annihilate the whole nation.

Sounds far-fetched? Ask the Red Indians and the European Jews. The world has not known methodical murderers as efficient as the Europeans. It is good to keep them in check. :)

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

A reader on Andrew Sullivan.com:

"In the discussion over Islam, cartoons, and religious intolerance, has anyone chimed in about Dante? Or have the fanatics already boarded buses and planes for Italy?

In any case, in Canto 28, Page 237, line 30, Mohammed must spend eternity tearing himself apart, for that is his punishment in Hell.

Consistent with medieval Christian thinking, in which the Muslim world was viewed as a hostile usurper, Dante depicts both Mohammed and his cousin and son-in-law Ali as sowers of religious divisiveness. Dante creates a vicious composite portrait of the two holy men, with Mohammed's body split from groin to chin and Ali's face cleft from top to bottom."

Dante has been around for over 500 years. So why are these images so offensive now?

I don't think it's the images. It's global forces of manipulation.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger vper1 said...

Manipulation is quite right Miss R.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

thanks, Akber for sharing your observations about how the media consistently villifies and dehumanizes those who are next in the cross hairs.

Miss R and vper1, they cannot manipulate without using an instrument that is genuinely offensive. That is what makes their manipulation effective.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger vper1 said...

I'm sorry qrswave, maybe I'm a little misguided here. I just feel it's entirely hilarious.

At Wednesday, February 08, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

I don't think it's funny, at all.

At Thursday, February 09, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Isn't that the problem? Often the best sort of parody is accomplished through hate speech.

I am often hugely offended by South Park. I mean, the character of Cartman constantly calls Kyle a "Jew bastard," and Kyle's parents are every Jewish stereotype. And yet, in MANY episode, there are uncomfortable truths about the world told in very offensive ways.

THAT is the point. You may be offended by hate speech, but hate speech should still be protected by the first amendment, and in fact is rightly affected by the first amendment.

Remember: You think it's okay to question (or even deny) the Holocaust ever happened. To Jews, most of whom know of a relative or SOMEONE who was killed in the Holocaust, it's probably the worst thing you could say. And yet, the KKK was allowed to march in Skokie, IL (super Jewish neighborhood), denying the Holocaust. (the case went the Supreme Court, you should read this)

I will cede that the cartoons were published to cause a reaction, and maybe even to provoke. Maybe it was a bad idea to try and stir the shit pot. But nonetheless, the toons themselves are protected speech, according to America.

That said, I would agree it's completely hypocritical for many European countries, such as France and Germany, to publish the toons, and then claim it's "free expression." I think the toons with Mohammed with the turban with the bomb in it in fact could be considered hate speech. Given those countries have anti-hate speech laws, it seems they are applying the law differently to Muslims. I think there is a valid claim against European countries with hate speech laws.

Anyway, that's why I am anti-hate speech laws. Best to spread the message of anti-anti hate speech through a stronger counter-message. The key is breaking up the media congolmerate in that exists in America, and getting a message of peace and love out there. And in fact, it's easier to spread a message of peace and love, because the hate speech laws don't exist, and they can't censor your peaceful message, claiming it's hateful! (I implore you to click on this: http://www.baboards.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=1914&stc=1 )

In a world with hate speech laws that censors the cartoons you are offended by, there is at least an argument that that image should also be censored.

Bollocks, I say to that.

At Thursday, February 09, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

P.S.: There is no reason why freedom of speech shouldn't apply to religion. In the first amendment, it doesn't say "freedom of the press, except when the press discusses religion."

There is no natural line to be drawn, distinguishing speech about religion, even about Mohammed. I realize you say he was a human being, and it's wrong to attack a human being. The problem is, he's more than a human being. He's the human representative of Islam. And he's been dead for hundreds of years, and has come to be an idea more than an actual human. (just like Jesus, Abraham, David, etc)

I see no reason why it should be considered "libel," according to even a "natural law" definition of libel, to criticize or parody or even say false facts about a human being who has become an idea.

And even assuming it would be considered "libel," the cartoons were clearly not stating facts, rather, they were expressing an opinion. And libel and defamation laws don't reach opinions.

It may have been uncouth, calculated, manipulative, and even pre-planned to publish the images of Islam. So what?

Either you have free speech, including the freedom to be insensitive or blasphemous, or you don't. Period.

Blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder, anyway. Even in Islam, there are different interpretations of what the Koran means. Now spread that across all the religions of the world. If things are to be censored as attacking sensibilities, then whose sensibilities?

And you cannot say it was so glaringly obvious that the toons were offensive. I was not offended to see the image of Mohammed displayed. In fact, I am not offended when someone says or types "God" instead of "The Lord" or "Hashem." Doing that is considered just as blasphemous to Jews as displaying Mohammed's image. And yet you see this done routinely by non-jews and no one raises a stink.

So nothing in this world is glaringly obvious. And it seems clear to me that living in a world of fear that what is said can result in your death...it does not benefit a free society.


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