Friday, February 03, 2006

Freedom of Speech

Saw this news about Muslims protesting about cartoons depicting Mohammed in a "bad light" (Correction: it seems that all the fury emanates from a prohibition by the Islamic Religion to depict the Prophet Mohammed in illustrations). I would have ignored it as is my won't most days but it was TV and its hard to ignore such raging fury depicted on screen.

Where did these protesters get such anger?

I then saw the Prime Minister of Denmark apologizing for hurting the feelings of Muslims and it was reported that a newspaper editor was fired for reproducing the cartoons in support of freedom of speech.

So I want to chime in:

The protesters are wrong! And to give in to their stupid demands is wrong. They are acting like bullies and bullies should not be tolerated.

Update (Feb. 4, 2006)

Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars have put up in his blog the source of all this commotion. As you will see, the cartoons are not even that offensive. I think part of the reason, maybe a big part of the reason for the anger in these protests is that the cartoons were published in a European newspaper. People probably felt that their religion is being criticized by people who do not know them and who have no right to criticize. I have felt these same emotions when I see Westerners criticize Philippine culture, I feel, even if they are correct in their criticisms, that they have no right to criticize me and my culture.

But it does not change the fact that they do have the right to criticize me and my culture, it's sometime rude of them to do so, but they are still entitled to their own opinions.

Update (Feb. 5, 2006)

Reading the comments on Mr. Braytons blog, there seem to be basis for my assertion that a lot of the indignation stems from the fact that these images were published by a western country, a comment from tacitus, states
"The irony is that images of Mohammed have been painted, drawn, and printed for hundreds of years. Since this has all blown up people have been posting examples of classical art, book illustrations, and comtemporary commercial art (some of which originates in Tehran of all places!), all containing images of the prophet."
Some of these images can be found at the Mohammed Image Archive. Whose purpose is to be
"an archive of numerous depictions of Mohammed, to serve as a reminder that such imagery has been part of Western and Islamic culture since the Middle Ages -- and to serve as a resource for those interested in freedom of expression."
There is also this wikipedia article on this affair. They translate the explanatory text of the "Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten" (The Newspaper) culture editor on why they have solicited the cartoons. It seems prophetic.
"The modern, secular society is rejected by some Muslims. They demand a special position, insisting on special consideration of their own religious feelings. It is incompatible with contemporary democracy and freedom of speech, where you must be ready to put up with insults, mockery and ridicule. It is certainly not always equally attractive and nice to look at, and it does not mean that religious feelings should be made fun of at any price, but that is less important in this context. [...] we are on our way to a slippery slope where no-one can tell how the self-censorship will end. That is why Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten has invited members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him. [...]"
The actions of these protesters, has just proven this newspaper point with these cartoons.


Found this online comic that I think is apt reading at this time, its titled "Jesus and Mo". You should read the first comic.

This is another article worth reading, from Christopher Hitchens in Slate.

1 comment:

Abe said...

Hi Roy,

Sorry to hear of the many deaths in the mudslides. I hope some more survivors can be found and saved.

On a lighter note: apparently Dr. E. paid me a visit and left a couple of comments.