Wednesday, February 08, 2006

prophet toon

luckily, sri lankan muslims had the sense not to go overboard due to the cartoon controversy that seems to dominate international news.

those who have no clue about the whole dispute, which has already cost several lives, see the wikipedia article. it includes background and detailed descriptions of the cartoons.

here is the original danish article and image.
here is a reusable low resolution image of the cartoons from wikipedia.

i would have published good copies of the cartoons here(in spite of being personally offended by images), if there were no copyright issues.

why? because imo nobody has a right to curtail freedom of expression.

if you do not like what is being expressed by someone else, by all means give expression to your own dissatisfaction. hold protests, burn papers, and dummies, and use whatever other methods that suits you, but take care you do not kill, harm, or damage, other people or their property. if you do, you are a criminal and an idiot. it is unfortunate that lot of people are proving themselves to be such.

this kind of pathetic hysteria however is not limited muslims. followers of all religions fall victim to this malady. christians, jews, hindus, buddhists, and marxists, all have given enough evidence to show them to be irrational madmen one time or other. how can we forget jhu protests against some american film or other (i have even forgotten name of the film). well we now know how intelligent jhu monks are, and who their real fellow-travelers are.

it is curious and indicative that most media in english speaking countries (us and uk especially), chickened out and either did not publish or published only blurred images. however we already know what to think of american 'liberal' media (including cnn) and their very biased coverage of all news. after all they think toothless jokes at the expense of easy targets as in jon stewart's daily show deserving of awards.

european media especially print media were courageous and correct to reprint the cartoons. now, if they can get enough courage to defy legal or implied bans on poking fun at jewish holocaust sometime in the future, as a result of this, all the better. let me make it clear, i will find that personally offensive, but people have a right to do that, and i completely support that right whether it is legal or not. reportedly a tehran newspaper is starting a holocaust cartoon competition imo that is way better than burning embassies.

governments everywhere were predictably late to give even conditional support to freedom of expression. well what do you expect, they are governments, by nature opposed to all freedoms.

it would be interesting to know what sri lankan bloggers think of the issue. would they support unconditional freedom of expression? or if not, why?


Chandare said...

I am sort of a fan of Jon Stewart's Daily Show.
(I have posted some critical comments earlier in mephistopheles blog about the times he chickened out also).
As a whole I think the show does god job of making fun of everybody.

Just check last night's segment on the whole cartoon issue.It should be available on the web now.

(He was making fun of the same thing you mentions in the post.)

About freedom of expression and sheer stupidity of demontrations ,I would agree with you.

(oh By the way ,there is no Liberal media in America.
check or

ddm said...

I had a response but it was too long to put here so i put a post on it. Take a look and let me know what you think. Being ill has left me with idle hands, the devil's playground!

Chandare said...

Mohammed ,Mo'problems in

The daily show has a segment called "This week in GOD(prevously done by Stephen Colbert now by Rob Coudry) as you might know and it is an equal oppertunity offender.

I don't know about the TOOTHLESS JOKES stuff but for the sake of freedom of expression pissing off other people is juvenile.
On the otherhand Muslims need to grow up.(They are the youngest of big four religions).
The problem is this kind of behavoir is not going to give any breathing space for moderates in muslim community .
Check what happened to jordanian editor who published cartoons and asked the muslims to be reasonable.

Curious Yellow said...

I've heard a story that the US and UK govt are focusin on this issue as they have had to declare that there were no WMDs in Iraq in an official statement. They do not want to lose the anti Islam sentiment they have conjured due to their "cock-up" so the media is now playing up this issue. I mean for fuck's sake, the cartoons aren't even good or that funny to be honest. Sure, it served to flush out the radical crazies, but if the crazies acquire a nuke and target it at a major city then we're all fucked. Nuclear Holocaust anyone? If anyone was crazy enough to start a nuclear war I'd put money on it that it would be started in the name of Islam. Does the media really need to play this issue up and stir up all the crazies? I'd just run a piece on how they need to learn to be more tolerant and let it lie at that. Hopefully they'll see the error of their ways, else, just incense them further and arrest and deport all the crazies who get flushed out.

~CC~ said...

Response to the post:

i think there should be 'almost unconditional'freedom of speech and expression, with laws that prevent excessive abuse so that rule of law can take over.

to Chandare :

"..On the otherhand Muslims need to grow up.."

this is a gross generalization, which unfortunately is prevelant in all media. i dont know if it's done intentitally to degrade a certain 'kind' of people, or merely for convinence.either way people must understand all people of a particular race is not responsible for things a bunch of idiots do.

sittingnut said...

thanks for the responses
in addition to ddm, indi has also written on the subject.
there is a strong pro free speech leader article in the economist (my favorite 'newspaper' btw) on the issue that came out few hours ago.
In this newspaper's view, the fewer constraints that are placed on free speech the better.........Freedom of expression, including the freedom to poke fun at religion, is not just a hard-won human right but the defining freedom of liberal societies. , it said.

yes, jon stewart and co. are funny but so is lot of sitcoms, but one always get the impression that they along with rest of american mainstream media are always sanitized beforehand. of course that is not a 'bad' thing, it may even be commendable but even the best mouthwash is still mouthwash.
'this week in god' is funny but it never bites/bit, at least in my opinion.
for the sake of freedom of expression pissing off other people is juvenile - you are right, but ppl are free to be juvenile if they want to.
as for there being no 'liberal ' media in u.s., well lot of ppl in america will very strongly disagree.

curious yellow:
thanks for showing us that your world consist only of u.k.

the problem is how do you define prevent excessive abuse ?

this is a gross generalization, ..... people must understand all people of a particular race is not responsible for things a bunch of idiots do.
that it is a generalization is correct and all generalizations are unjust, but while all muslims are not 'a bunch of idiots', all those who fail to unconditionally condemn the violence (which in this case seem to be the majority) are imo.

Chandare said...

I'm sorry for making the statement.There are great muslims and there is no excuse for making generalization.
It seems like the whole episode was orchestrated after a meeting at Mecca in december (57 heads of states of muslim countries attended the meeting ).A newspaper in Egypt published the cartoons months ago without any fuss.
I'm sorry reasonable muslims !
It's sort of like our 1983 july .The government orchestrated it and tolerated it for a week .It doesn't mean that Sinhalese are murderers.

Sitting nut

May be we have different notions of liberal and conservative and what constitute US media.(MSM)

Just check news angles and talk shows in CNN,NBC,MSNBC,ABC,etc...
They are stacked against liberals.
The usual balanced panel is two conservatives against one journalist who is supposed to be the liberal!check media matters for the day to day analysis and check the blog entry I posted by Peter Daou (Kerry campaign's internet guy) about how the narrative trumps the news.On top it the talk radio is 95% conservative.

ashanthi said...

At any given time there are umpteen poltical/religous/celebrity cartoons being puclished & thereby lampooning various individuals or groups.

George Bush (what do you reckon, every minute of every day) gets lampooned. Imagine if the Yanks got all fanatical & nationalistic every time the Europeans poked fun at George W? So - do the Imans that went to the middle east & stirred up hatred & violence have a right to do so? No.

Is the prophet Mohammed a sacred cow? No. for those of us who are not Muslim, guess what, we don't even believe he is a prophet. Should everyone know a joke about Irish Catholic nuns but not a single one about Muslim clerics? No.

Reading these blogger posts gives me the idea that there's a lot of "taking the higher moral ground" going on.

What would happen if a newspaper published some very disparaging cartoons about Sri Lankan monks & all the tricks that they are known to get up to. Knowing how fanatical some of our monks are, do you think we'd have some riots? Actually - didn't we have a bit of monk violence in the press recently? Aren't our monks at the centre of insighting & perpetrating racial violence in SL?

Before we go preaching to others on how to behave - for God's sake, let's look at our own backyard.

As for the Muslims - fanatics or otherwise, I reckon they just get far too much attention these days. The thing about bad behaviour when it's rewarded by 24hr round the clock coverage, is that certain smart fanatics get addicted to it & want more. The press want more of it because it sells papers. It's a vicious circle.

~CC~ said...

sorry for responsing so late,

"..the problem is how do you define prevent excessive abuse ?"

i donno. hate-speech laws? so that the islamic society of Denmark can sue the paper in question and decide in courts wheather indeed the paper has broken the law or not.

a nice article on this has appeared on reason:

sittingnut said...

you are right about talk radio.
i have to disagree about other media you cite they are in fact liberal imo,

lot of ordinary muslims must take blame for the violence as lot of ordinary sinhalese should take blame for 1983 riots. governments just tolerate, these kind of widespread protests start from below. in fact imo everyone who fails to unconditionally condemn them must share in the blame.

agree with most of what you say.

What would happen if a newspaper published some very disparaging cartoons about Sri Lankan monks & all the tricks that they are known to get up to.
well they do publish cartoons about the jhu monks, quite cutting ones, haven't you seen them. but no riots here. :-)
so we are entitled to a bit of high moral ground.
on the other hand i have not seen any cartoon about buddha (though buddha along with other religious leaders are included in one of the prophet cartoons under discussion) so this is not strictly comparable. after all muslims are not protesting about cartoons about ayatollah.
but still even the protests about depiction of buddha in some american film ad were peaceful.

The thing about bad behaviour when it's rewarded by 24hr round the clock coverage
well bad behavior needs to be exposed and besides freedom of expression is unconditional . ppl should deal with the reality not cover it up.

thanks for the link i do not think author of it gets what is at stake. bt i agree that this this should rage to it's fullest extent so that everyone expose their real position.

hate-speech laws? -oh no they make problems worse.

all people will have to learn to tolerate free speech.

Chandare said...

Sitting nut,
I have invested a lot of time in past several years watching NBC,ABC,CBS,MSNBC,CNN and FOX .Except may be for CBS ,I think all the others are leaning right when it comes to political shows.It is due the tremendous pressure from the right.Individual journlists may be liberal in several cases but the underlying narrative is definetly conservative(or rather plays out according to the current bush administration play book) .

For factual analysis (not the truthiness) check

About responsibility of Sinhalase for 1983, They might be guilty of racisim but not for pogrom of 1983.It was started by JSS(Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya)under the leadership of Cyril Mathew.It is disgusting the the way JR ,Premadasa,Gamini ,Lalith and Ranil acted .Check their quotes from the first week and then after couple of weeks.To top it all they banned CP ,NSSP and JVP !What a disgrace for the gentlemanly politics of UNP!SLFP is responsible for looking the other way when all this happened.To accuse ordinary Sinhalese for the crimes commited by thugs controlled by UNP is simply WRONG!

Chandare said...

The link of the above quote doesn't show up correctly .it is ,

Chandare said...

Again it is wrong.I think it too long so I'm cutting it to two pieces.


sittingnut said...


i got through to the link. thanks
(others can click here to goto the link provided by chandre)

but these things are subjective. as the attached methodology section in that article admits the ppl who conducted the study cited there, media matters for america 'is a progressive organization', even one look at their website amply makes that clear.. so is more or less washington monthly itself.

in addition as a commenter to the leader article to the linked article suggested fox skews the whole thing.
btw you did not mention fox in your previous comment so i was not referring to it when i said ..other media you cite, they are in fact liberal imo

we have to agree to disagree on this.

as for 1983 riots,
of course government is mainly responsible they could have stopped them if they wanted to. but from my own experience and what i have heard from eye witness accounts, i still believe that ordinary sinhalese do bear a lot of responsibility. i think that now conventional view of blaming it all on the government, let others off the hook. if we are to advance we have to accept responsibility as a nation.

in the mainly sinhala large suburb where i was in 83, two commercial establishments quite near our house were attacked. those taking part were a disparate group, mostly ordinary ppl. this was in the heart of the town. fortunately nobody lost a life in both cases.
in the first smaller place proprietor was only able to save his life and what do call them (icons?) of gods . he was able to hide them in an abandoned house (neighboring our house and his shop) before running away , i (11 years old then) could not help him in anyway bc frankly i really did not initially understand what was going on and my parents were not at home. the shop was completely looted and destroyed.
in the second much larger establishment police at last fired shots into the air and i still smile when i remember how ppl ran.
it was completely disorganized and the ppl involved were very ordinary indeed.

that is why i still believe that ordinary ppl have a lot of responsibility for riots, as well as the government which could definitely have stopped them.

ashanthi said...

I support you s/nut re freedom of speech, you know that - where it is used as a cloak to mask incitement to racial violence it must be stopped, no ifs buts or whyfores...

Now as for these disrespectful cartoons about monks - can you please put someup on your blog, I haven't seen any but of course it ain't quite the thing I'd go looking for.

As for poking fun at Buddha that is quite another matter. I would not like this at all & I wouldn't call myself Buddhist. However, would I go around burning down buildings, singling out an entire race for persecution (the Danes) & killing someone, not in a million years & then some.

So, I think we go back to square one. I beseech all Muslims to really show respect for their religon & prove to the whole world that it is about humanity not fanaticism. I also ask all Sri Lankans not to point a finger but accept that we are not blameless.

Sri Lankans do not export our fanaticism but that does not mean we have not committed the exact same crimes.

As for the 1983 riots, of course the ultimate blame must lie with those who are entrusted with law & order & governing the country. Individuals who got a sick joy out of commiting violent acts against Tamils will be judged by their maker.

Ultimately though, because we have had no mechanism to hear the stories of what happened, like Sittingnut as an 11 year old can tell, we cannot move on nor can we forgive.

ivap said...

just dropping in .. will comment when i have more time

Darwin said...

Humour keeps me sane through insanity. Laugh at the idiots thats all I can say.