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I have been watching the backlash from Cartoongate with interest and now the president of Iran has responded appropriately. Here is the link:  http://www.news.com.au/...

A paper in Iran is sponsering an international competition to get the 12 best cartoons about the holocaust.  The winners get a gold coin.  The president of Iran is expecting the European papers to publish the cartoons in the interest of Freedom of Speech.

I know many will be offended and talk about this guy as if he's nuts but I always admire an underdog who is smart even if I can't support him.

Originally posted to altscott on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:04 PM PST.

Poll

Will European papers publish the cartoons?

25%19 votes
54%41 votes
20%15 votes

| 75 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  point (none)
    And, this is use of speech to make a point - about western hypocrisy. The ADL and others will probably make a huge deal of this and call it anti-semetic. And they'd probably be right - but that wouldn't change my opinion that all newspapers should publish both sets of cartoons as a show of support for free speech.

    Both cartoons are potentially offensive. But that's the beauty of free speech. If speech didn't offend there'd be no need to protect it.

    You have the power, so start using it. http://www.RussForPresident.com

    by peacenik23 on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:08:42 PM PST

  •  Not the same situation at all. (none)
    Noone in the Danish press forced the cartoons to be printed in the middle-east, or suggested that the middle east should have to print them.  That is the standard that you are suggesting that the Europeans meet.  

    In fact, highly anti-semetic literature is published all the time in middle-eastern papers, and is not met by rioting and embassies being burned in Washington or London or Paris.  So the turn-about scenario is already on-going.

    •  Iranian don't value freedom of speech (2.00)
      and I think the Danes were trying to give a big middle finger to Islam by publishing those pictures.  I don't think it was about freedom of speech at all.
      •  I'm sorry... (3.14)
        I think you meant to post this on Free Republic.

        "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

        by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:33:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for giving me a one. (4.00)
        It really goes with your post from this thread:

        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        I've noticed that most people on dKos don't believe in Freedom of Speech and the whole use of the 'zero' function to make comments invisible seems like such a BushCo invention to quell dissent.

        I say let people write what they write and embrace that everywhere.  

        Don't forget to wag the blog

        by altscott on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 09:31:05 PM EST

        "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

        by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:38:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Kinda painting with a broad brush, there (none)
        aren't you?  I doubt very much that "Iranian (sic) don't value freedom of speech" considering how many independent newspapers the Iranian people have managed to establish (and continue to in the face of supresssion).  I even doubt that the Mullahs are in universal agreement about supressing free speech, or much of anything else, for that matter.  I would bet that they suffer internal political struggles every bit as complex as ours.  We just never hear about them in the MSM.

        Even so, your comment doesn't deserve a troll rating.

        Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

        by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:50:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ahhh, if only all wars (none)
      were fought with snarky, offensive cartoons instead of bullets and bombs.  Imagine the DoD stockpiling snark instead of nukes.  Imagine the CIA recruiting art school grads for covert snark operations. Imagine a guy like AQ Khan secretly selling Lybia the technology for developing their own Tom Toles or Garry Trudeau.  Imagine a geopolitical strategy of "Mutually Assured Embarassment."

      I don't see how this Iranian newspaper's tactic is an attempt to force Europe to do anything other than admit to the hypocrisy of laws prohibiting publication of anti-semitic material while allowing the publication of anti-islamic material, AND while crowing about freedom of speech and press.  It seems to me that they're being kinda snarky, really.

      Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

      by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:40:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  To be clear (none)
    the article doesn't say that this was Ahmadinejad's idea.  It's described as the idea of a newspaper editor.  I suppose, however, that the regime supports it, given the level of press censorship in Iran.  

    Anyway, despite the fact that the cartoons will inevitably be appalling, I have to admit that this is a fairly clever approach.  The problem is that mocking (and/or denying) the death of millions of people is not the same as mocking a religious figure.  But it will nonetheless put European claims about freedom of speech to the test.

  •  How do I say this? (3.70)
    You're wrong.  Really, really wrong.  Delete this diary wrong.

    I know you don't see it, which is why I'm trying to be as nice as I can.  But here's the thing: it wasn't Jews who had anything to do with these cartoons.  It was Christian Danes.  And it wasn't a national government that published the cartoons, it was a private newspaper.  Which also had nothing to do with Jews.

    Now, look, the Iranians can publish whatever they want, and I don't give a fuck.  Certainly, whatever cartoons they come up with cannot be more offensive than this cartoon already published in the last week.  Or the standard anti-Semitic cartoons that the world ignores.

    This has nothing to do with Jews, or the Holocaust.  But Iran wants to say it is.  This was their agenda already, with their scientific 'conference' on the Holocaust.  This is a false equivalency, by those who have no intention of embracing free expression, to attempt to frame it as a battle between Muslims, and Jews, who I repeat, had nothing to do with the Danish cartoons.

    Delete or don't delete; this is your free expression.  But think carefully about what you intend to express.

    •  hmm (4.00)
      Well... I'm curious to see if the rest of the west agrees with your statement:

      "Now, look, the Iranians can publish whatever they want, and I don't give a fuck."

      I definitely do, but I think that many won't. And you're right that the danish cartoon has nothing to do with jews or the holocaust. But it does have to do with publishing something that a culture would find offensive. And therein they may have a point.

      You have the power, so start using it. http://www.RussForPresident.com

      by peacenik23 on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:21:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bingo... (none)
        But it does have to do with publishing something that a culture would find offensive.

        Stupid is, as stupid does (if I may quote a favorite film of mine).

        "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

        by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:36:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  One interpretation (none)
      is that it's supposed to take aim at one of the few forms of censorship common in Europe--censorship of Holocaust denial.  Actually, I don't know if Denmark has laws on this issue, but France and Germany do, and they reprinted the cartoons too.  So perhaps it's a statement that Europeans don't really take their claims about free speech seriously.

      Of course, the fact that they're targeting the Jews instead of the Danes surely also reflects widespread anti-Semitism and the Holocaust-denying lunacy of the current Iranian president.  My interpretation above is just one way they could package it, in a feeble attempt to show that this is something other than raw anti-Semitism.  

      •  Does the USA Take Free Speech Seriously? (none)
        I would remind you that Sunday night's half-time performance at the Super Bowl was censored by the TV network in the USA. I assure the the irony of this happening to an Old Age Pensioner (social security recipient) is not lost on the British even if it has been completely ignored by the US media.

        As for the violent demostrations, surely these are an expression when free speech is suppressed so much that the release of ordinary discorse available in the West is absent. Without this pressure release, resentment boils to the point of violence. Look at the reaction to the loss of 1000 Egyptians in a ferry accident at the weekend. After being given virtually no information by the ferry company or their government and forced to sit in a large all viewing a slide show of the dead bodies so the might be able to identify their loved ones, the emotion reached the point that they attacked and sacked the company office at the port.

        The torcing of embassies may be deplorable but has the US not actually showed to the Muslim world that destruction of property symbolising your political opponent is appropriate? Or did that statue of Saddam in the Baghdad park fall over in the wind? Has the US demonstrated free speech by opening TV stations in Iraq that only give a positive view of the USA and brought off newspapers to print articles from the Army PsyOps writers?

        •  When are the people of the middle east (none)
          going to direct their anger at the people who treat them the worst, their own leaders.  When are they going to take responsibility for their own countries and lives.  It is easy to let out steam at something 2000 miles away, but when it is all done, the thing that really causes problems for them is still right in their backyard.  Its their own governments and the radicals in their societies.

          Facing their own governments, demanding improvement in their own lives, and even demanding that their govts. have no more contact with the west, if that is what they want, is the hard thing.  But you know what, it has been done around the world, with Russians, the polish, Armania, and on and on.  Evenually all of those people faced their govts., died in the process, but got the job done.  This belief that they are doing this legitimately because of cartoons is bogus.  It's a diversion from the work they have to do themselves.  It is a frightening thought for many, many muslims in the middle east, but eventually they will have to get the courage to vent their spite and anger, and boil over at the things that really are having an impact on theit lives: radicals, dictators, and religious leaders who are manipulating the hell out of them.  The age of enlightenment and a reformation has to happen or they will be rioting into all of eternity.

          Where are the intellectuals, the moderate believers?  They are scared to death of the fundamentalists, who have everything but religion on their minds, even though they profess it to be the only thing.

          It takes courage.  Where is it?  If the fundamentalists have the courage to blow themselves up to get at an enemy government, why dont they do it to get at their own governments.  Probably because each feeds off of each other, and are in competition for power at the same time.

          •  It seems to me (none)
            that the Palestinians just did that, in a way, by voting for Hamas.

            Also, the Iranians, in a way, did that when they overthrew the Shah, even though they're undoubtedly NOT universally happy with the way things have turned out so far.  

            The first prinicple of freedom is the right to self-determination.  It's obviously hypocritical of   the US government to preach "freedom" and then to continue to attempt to undermine foreign governments (however crappy they might be) that are installed by popular revolt (Iran, Cuba) or free election (Venezuela, Palestine) because their leaders aren't on "our side" geopolitically.

            Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

            by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 05:19:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, the BBC posted some interviews (none)
          with Muslim (and Christian) residents of the neighborhood in Beirut surrounding the Danish Embassy regarding the protests.  The general thread was that a peaceful, orderly protest march was suddenly hijacked by an organized, armed gang that proceeded to shoot in the air and then set the embassy on fire while the local police apparently stood by.  

          Of course, at least a couple of the interviewees blamed the violence on Syrians infiltrators.

          Because, y'know, we all need somebody to blame and the Syrians are going to be the default scapegoat for the Lebanese for years to come.  But that's a different irony.

          Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

          by sxwarren on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 08:58:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But what happens when a middle eastern people do? (none)
            Let's take the case of Palestine which happens to be in the middle east and is mainly but by no means exclusively muslim. The former President was declared and obstacle to peace and the West demanded the constitution be changed to reduce his powers and vest more in the Prime Minister who, as in most parliamentary democracies, led the largest party, Fatah.

            The older establishment figures in Fatah (the "Tunisians") were fairly corrupt. Not so much in a financial way, although this certainly did happen, but more by peddling influence, especially later in Arafat's life when he was trying to respond to the disquiet the situation was causing. That of course was not helped by the Israelis blockading him in his offices and destroying much of the infrastructure of the West Bank and Gaza in "retaliation" at attacks.

            So we get to this year. In what international observers accepted to be very free and fair elections, responded like any electorate does and switched votes away from what had become an unpopular party and voted for alternatives. That was mostly Hammas but also the PFLP.

            What then happens? A US President, who up to last year had annually welcomed and feted the leaders of the political wing of an organisation that had exploded terrorist bombs and had not disarmed, then refused to recognise the legitimacy of an elected majority labelled terrorist. I am of course referring to the visits by Jerry Adams et al of Sinn Feinn who were only denied their annual St Patrick's day shindig at the White House when the sisters and financee of Mr McCarthy, a murdered Irish Catholic, fully publicised the criminal nature of the organisation. Bush did not only effectively refuse to recognise the results of an election, he then threatened to cut off aid that helps pay the police who are the only way the new government have of controlling splinter groups from attacking Israel.

            Is it any wonder that the Muslim world see Bush as a hypocrit and his claim to want to spread democracy a fake?

            •  Bush a hypocrite? (none)
              Surely you jest!

              Interesting that you mention the corruption of Fatah and "the Tunisians".  There was a lengthy retrospective on Araft's life, including bits about the Tunisians, a couple of months ago in The Atlantic, I think.  Have you read that article?  If not, it's fascinating.  If so, do you remember the bit about how certain Israeli ex-government officials actually lobbied the Israeli government to relax some financial accouting rules in a way that allowed Arafat and the Tunisians to siphon off considerable sums of aid money into personal accounts in Europe?  Was wondering what you knew/thought about that.

              Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

              by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 04:53:01 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  It's funny that you say 'delete this diary wrong' (none)
      I've noticed that most people on dKos don't believe in Freedom of Speech and the whole use of the 'zero' function to make comments invisible seems like such a BushCo invention to quell dissent.

      I say let people write what they write and embrace that everywhere.  

    •  Not about framing battle between Muslims and Jews (none)
      Look, it's really not as if the Iranian Newspaper (and if you read the story following the link, it's not the government, but a Newspaper) has that many different things to pick on to try to make the west feel their humiliation.

      I mean, seriously, if they'd picked on Jesus or Abraham... well, they can't do that, because they believe in both those personas as prophets too. So if you were in thier position, and wanted to play a game of tit for tat, what topic would you have picked in order to give the other side a sense of the outrage and humiliation that this crass demonstration of free speech has provoked?

      •  It also wouldn't have done to pick on... (none)
        Jesus, since Jesus is a large part of Christianity, and most of the countries meant to view the cartoon would already have Christian majorities.  Making fun of a religious figure of a majority population = not so effective.

        Which, of course, is part of why it was particularly cruel of the newspaper to print anti-Muslim cartoons in a predominantly Christian nation (Denmark)with a small minority Muslim population.

        "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

        by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:49:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It suddently occurs to me (none)
        what do we know about this particular Iranian newspaper?  I mean, there ARE some indpendent papers in Iran (and the Mullahs even allow some of them to live for quite a while).  Is this particular paper one that consistently curries favor with the Mullahs (or acts as the Mullahs mouthpiece ala FoxNews)?  Or is it one of those that pushes the envelope?

        If the latter, and the editor is actually acting independently, what then?  Would that make a difference to anyone here?  Also, if this is truly an independent paper that often risks governemnt censure, wouldn't this editor be putting the Mullahs in a sort of awkward position by taking this action?

        Anyway, the dKos community is usually pretty good at researching stuff to make sure we have the context right.  Is anyone here familiar with tis particular paper's history?  Has anyone tried to check out back issues?

        Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

        by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 06:17:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  no admiration here (3.92)
    just what does having a contest about Holocaust images have to do with Dutch newspapers, and what they recently published? How are Jewish people implicated in this at all? If it was sponsoring something about Christian imagery, it might be perceived as tit for tat.

    But no, President Wacky Ass of Iran cares the most about pilloring Jews.

    "You'd like that shit...it's all political and morose."

    by Miss Devore on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:20:34 PM PST

    •  It's about something the Europeans feel bad about (none)
      and images of Christ having sex or molesting boys would piss off a lot of Christians.  The main reason Christ won't be featured in cartoons is the he is one of the Prophets to Muslims.
    •  Really! Leave us Jews out of this! (4.00)
      Please, leave the Jews out of this one. It's our week off from being The Reason For Everything Wrong In The World.  The President of Iran and his supporters can take their hatred and bigotry and go find someone else to play with for a change!

      In loving memory: Sophie, June 1, 1993-January 17, 2005. My huckleberry friend.

      by Paul in Berkeley on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 07:12:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Definitely NOT Jews... (none)
        But extremists of every type.

        And that includes extreme zionists as well as other religious and political extremists and zealots.

      •  But it seems the diarist wants to use Jews (none)
        to attract attention and play games with this diary.  As he admits downthread, he loves to argue.  He'll answer just about every comment below with inanities, and downrate anyone who disagrees with him.

        It's not so different from the game Iran's president is playing. The game is called Jew-baiting, and it's the modern evolution of the now discredited game of Jew-bashing.

        Frankly, I don't know why anyone should give this diarist the satisfaction of responding to his comments, or of bothering to read this thread.  I'm sorry I did.

    •  what the Jews have to do with it. (none)
      It is simply a matter of comparison between the restraint in which one religious minority is treated compared to the licence that is given to defame, offend and disparage another.

      Jews had long been the subject of this abuse in Europe culminating with the Nazis but there was also discrimination on a sort of petty apartheid basis in the USA - the classic example there being  admittance to Country Clubs. Apart from the Catholic accussation that they had killed Christ, there were two major myths that were used to justify anti-semitism. The older one was the so-called "blood libel" which claimed they used the blood of murdered Chrisitian children to make Passover matzos. The second was the "world domination" claim that culminated in the publishing of a forged book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion". The later was extensively used to justify the Nazi repressions.

      Jews have been part western societies for so long that they have the skills and knowledge to rebutt these using western methods. Well organised pressure groups were started in the 19th century. Just try claiming any veracity in the blood libel or Protocols and see what reaction you get from groups like the ADL. Arguably today their most powerful tool in such rebutals is the Holocaust which is why many people are unaware of the other groups like the Roma, gays, disable, Catholics etc who were also part of the massacres. It is also a powerful protection against criticism of Israel.

      Most muslims in currenly in Europe are from farily recent immigrant families. To take those in the UK, the vast majority are from Raj India who have come since Independence and are from poor backgrounds. Again as an example, those in the East End of London are from families whose first arrivals were connected with the shipping trade. Virtually all are from Shylhet in Bangladesh which was a very rural downtrodden area. As recently as the early 1980s you could say with a degree of confidence which village the family came from by looking at the housing block they lived in. In France, again most muslims are immigrants from former colonies, especially North Africa, and have has similar experience of comparative poverty.  Neither of these are to deny that there are also muslim citizens of both countries who are exceptionally well educated and highly successful businessment. What I am trying to convey is that the skills of effective public relations for the group and learning the "western way of doing things" are  very under-developed compared to the smaller Jewish minority. (Some of this also has to do with the different organisation of the two religions. Islam for example has no formal equivalent of a Chief Rabbi so an Imam may claim religious authority without having to refer to a central organisation)

      Without these central voices Muslims have become "fair targets" for all sorts of accusations. There is even a book of dubious authenticity known as  "The Project" that is being publicised by fundamentalist Chrisitian groups. That purports to be a plan for a muslim take-over of the world in very much the same vein as the Protocols.

      Once muslims acquire these defence mechanisms and respond to provacation in political ways the West considers appropriate, the licence to libel will be removed.      

    •  ohmygod (none)
      President Wacky Ass of Iran!

      I'm sorry, I still have a Beavis and Butt-head sense of humor, and that is the funniest thing I've read in weeks.

      Jack Abramoff: Directed $3M in donations to both parties. Charged his clients $100M in fees and funnelled it all to the GOP.

      by daria g on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 09:44:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. Two recommendations ... (none)
      ...too many for this Diary.
  •  Have the newspapers in Iran been fearful (none)
    of publishing anything critical of jews because if they did thier throats would be slit and the Torah pinned to their dead body with a knife ?

    Because if they did the jewish world would rise up in protest and burn embassies and demand press censorship in Iran (as if they had a free press) ?

  •  Appropriate? (none)
    I don't see that joking about a figure from some religious cult is at all comparable with joking about the deaths of 6 million people.
    •  umm (none)
      Islam is now a religous cult? That's just offensive

      You have the power, so start using it. http://www.RussForPresident.com

      by peacenik23 on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:30:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another proud post... (none)
      for the Daily Kos.

      "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

      by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:35:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Proud indeed! (none)
        A lot of people around here think we all should kow-tow to religion, but I prefer to exercise my Constitutional right not to.

        Credulous types are allowed to believe there is a "god" and to talk about it whenever they want.  I claim the equal and opposite right for myself.

        •  There's a difference between... (none)
          having an opinion, and feeling the need to deride the opinions of others, in order to state your own.

          "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

          by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 06:53:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Get down off your high horse. (none)
            Your initial response, "Another proud post for the Daily Kos" -- that was NOT sarcasm, then?  You were NOT actually deriding my opinion in order to state your own?

            Of course not.  You wouldn't be such a hypocrite.

            •  I took (take) offense with your... (none)
              deriding Islam as a cult. Atheist or not, you're smart enough to know the difference between a religion and a cult.  

              Intolerant posts don't magically become acceptable simply because you feel one way or another about an issue.  

              I'm not a Muslim.  But I'd wager it's pretty unnecessary to call Judaism or Christianity or Islam, etc. a cult, simply because I didn't belong to them as religions.

              "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

              by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 07:01:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  In your view, what IS the difference (none)
                between a religion and a cult?

                I'll explain my position.  To me, there is no difference between a religion and a cult; they are all worshipping some deity or another, the existence of all of which I obviously deny, being an atheist and all.  I don't see that worshipping one deity is innately any better than worshipping any other.

                The major religions have acquired that status as a result of acquiring large memberships over the centuries.  But in my view the value of a thing doesn't derive from quantitative factors such as how many people participate in it.

                So if you're not saying that one deity is better than another, and if you're not saying that one congregation, being X times larger, is better than another, then what ARE you saying is the difference between a religion and a cult?

                •  I guess size... (none)
                  as well as a propensity for the 'gathering' to encourage suicides & isolation from previous lives and family members, as well as fostering a belief that 'non-believers' are doomed to an eternity of suffering.

                  I do see where you're coming from though.  And it does seem to depend on what your definitions of the two (religion v. cult) are.  The characteristics up there I'd ascribe to a cult, instead of to a religion, although various sects/denominations/mini-religions (could we call those cults? perhaps) within a large religion can easily violate the different characteristics I mentioned.

                  But I can see how one man's cult may be another man's religion, and vice-versa.  It depends on a person's definitions.  But with that said, I do believe it's more polite/conciliatory/diplomatic not to refer to 'large' religions/gatherings/etc as 'cults', simply due to the inflammatory nature of the word.  Then again, one might mean it to be inflammatory.  

                  "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

                  by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 07:25:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  With all that is going on in the world (none)
                    in my lifetime, I guess I am not feeling too polite or conciliatory or diplomatic towards religion.  I must have been cursed to live in interesting times indeed, if you believe that sort of stuff, which of course I don't.  Anyway.

                    Uninvolved observers like me never see large scale demonstrations of the GOOD things that these religions are supposed to stand for.  All we are ever shown is the hatred they have for each other, and the hatred they have for people like me, who cannot believe what they believe, and the hatred they have for anyone who contravenes their interpretation of the meaning of their scriptures.  And we simple atheists are caught in the cross-fire of clashes between them arising out of this hate, when all we would say to any of them is "WHY can you not just all IGNORE each other?  Go to your god damned corners and stay there!  For ever!!"

                    Honestly, even if I weren't naturally the skeptic I am, at this point as a rational human being I'd be starting to become VERY skeptical of the perceived value of religion in general.  Just as a result of observing all this warring, it strikes me that a thinking person has got to question what overall common good is served by worshipping anything in public or en masse.  I understand what you're saying about the comfort of gathering, but that's on a very local, individual level and doesn't seem to extend to a broader sense of community with all mankind.  In fact, different ideas about what "gathering" should entail seems to be the very source of the problems between all these different groups!  Religion just seems self-defeating and hypocritical and hollow to me.

                    I don't expect you to forgive, or suddenly start to enjoy, my unabashedly undiplomatic language about religion, but I hope I've at least partly justified its being my preferred manner of expression on this topic.

            •  But you are correct in that... (none)
              I did use sarcasm in my original post.  

              "The last thing people want is an opposition party vigorously opposing things." - jasonwhat

              by the new yorker on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 07:04:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Jeez (none)
      With friends like you, do the Jews even need enemies?
  •  I'm glad that you posted this diary (none)
    My initial reaction was one of mirth. But I'm thinking about it, and it's not really appropriate, is it? To think something so tasteless is funny.
    Having said that, I'm glad the paper has embarked on this venture. If this is really a dialogue about free speech, well then, let's have at it, and the best way to understand what if feels like to be marginalized and extremely offended, is to suffer the offense in kind. Only when everyone's worn the same shoe will this dialogue be just.

    I would amend the diary to remove the inference that the response comes from the President.

  •  I don't see a parallel (none)
    Making fun of a religious symbol and ridiculing a genocide during which 6 mln jews were killed are not exactly comparable things. Having said that I don't see why european newspapers should not publish the cartoons, after all they are not going to reflect poorly on jews, Israel or Europe, they are going to reflect poorly on the Iranian government, the paper that sponsored the competition and its participants. It will certainly not cause violence and riots in Europe, Israel or the US.
    •  You obviously don't understand what place (3.00)
      Mohammed holds within Islam and how even nice portrayals are forbidden.
      •  it happens (none)
        that strictly speaking, traditional judaism isn't crazy about representations of the sacred either -- that's why the art you might see in, say, Italian synagogues from the time of Michaelangelo, are filled with geometric shapes and whatnot, instead of statues of David.

        Where it gets tricky is when one group goes after another group for not following the rules they set for themselves.

        Doesn't matter what religion you are, what country you're in, what the history is.

        Lots of death in that direction.

        Political satire, all-free, all-mp3 | http://monkeyvortex.com | now playing: John, Paul, George, and Ringo

        by cecil vortex on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 07:12:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Forbidden to whom? (none)
        Pork eating is also forbidden in Islam, so is alcohol, muslim women are not allowed to drive and are forbidden from showing their faces in public. Are there any immediate plans to enforce all these bans... on non-muslim danish citizens and danish newspapers?
        •  A religious minority is being persecuted and they (none)
          stand up for themselves and all people do is criticize them if they are muslim.  The original printing was ignored by most muslims.  It was the reprinting just because some people chose to express in writing that they were offended that goes beyond the pale.

          Women driving is forbidden in Saudi Arabia, the good Muslims nation (home of the 9-11 hijackers).  They are not trying to hold non-Muslims to Muslim standards.  But the Danes had no good reason to make fun of Islam and Mohammed in the first place.

        •  Myths (none)
          Muslim women are allowed to drive. Even in the one state, Saudi Arabia, where there are official rules forbidding it, women in rural areas do drive as a practical necessity.

          Head covering is another area full of myths. The object is to preserve modesty and, though difficult to understand in the west, is intended to be two-way. If women do not display themselves inappropriately, men will not be tempted. Agreed this has echoes of a defence against rape that "she dressed like that so she asked for it" but that is not the intent. Head covering is one interpretation  in the Sharia, not the Koran and is widely ignored. Ataturk agreed that it could be repressive and initially tried to ban it in Turkey.(Turkey by the way gave women the vote before Belgium) You are also conveniently forgetting that head covering by women is part of the tradition in all three Abrahamic religions. This has been diluted to the extent that women in Christian societies only usually wear hats to church and only some Jewish sects require the hair to be covered, usually by wigs in the west these days. Christian nuns on the other hand both cut their hair and covered their heads to prevent the sin of pride until very recently.

          Claiming muslim women MUST wear head coverings is as ignorant and someone claiming all Jews are required to maintain modesty in marriage by making love only through a sheet with a hole cut in it.    

  •  Time to call for (none)
    war on cartoons!
  •  Why would a liberal enjoy mocking the holocaust? (none)
    I bet your two jewish pals sure love that.
    •  I do not mock the holocaust! (4.00)
      I have not only viewed horrifying Nazi films from that era but I have visited sites in Germany and Poland.  I do take a wider view than some on many issues.  That Jews were only some of the people murdered alongside the Roma, communists, gays, and catholics rarely is mentioned.  The Roma are still persecuted to this day in Europe.

      That Stalin killed twenty million people of all stripes and no one really makes a big deal out of it.

      That the same thing goes on in Africa everyday with slavery and such and we still focus on Israel.

      That the Palestinians are currently experiencing a genocide and the West refuses to deal with it for fear of being labeled anti-semetic.

      That a people who were nearly exterminated in the holocaust would visit that on other people probably disgusts me the most.

      •  Yet (none)
        You admire someone for mocking the holocaust.
      •  The irony is you effectively did (none)
        Not with the diary but with this post. Look, the simplest, biggest and most often forgotten "lesson" from the Holocaust, if something of that magnitude can even be considered a teaching exercise, is that some things are so big that the entire world needs to stop and respond. That for more than three years, upwards of 12 million people, including as you rightly mention gays, communists, Jews and any other enemy of Hitler were subjected to a mechanized killing machine while the world hesitated is the disaster.

        We sort of learned that lesson, but recently we have absolutely forgotten its corrolary. If we are to know to leap out of our chairs when a true epic crime like this is to occur, then we cannot exxagerate the smaller issues. Stalin's and the Soviet Union's decades-long massacre of people is in this same category. Darfur is in danger of approaching that category. Israel and Palestine? Regardless of your position on the settlements or Sabra and Chatilla or the wall or the old city or the new city, there is simply no way to add the numbers and approach anywhere near the scale of these other true crimes of humanity. (In fact, I once did the numbers and found that the deaths caused by Israel per capita is lower than the murder rate in Baltimore or Washington DC). Criticize Israeli policies if you want, criticize the entire nation, hell criticize every Jew you ever met for all I care but to cheapen great historical lessons will only speeden their reoccurrence.

        •  Nice post. (none)
          I was saying that leaving 600,000 people in refugee camps because you fear being outnumbered is genocide too.  Deliberatly bombing their clean water.  Restricting their arable land.  Just because they are not using poison gas doesn't make the end the same eventually.
  •  hummmmm (none)
    The Iran prsident may be a nut but he's crazy like a fox....leading the hounds over hill and dale.

    I hope it has occured to everyone involved in and commenting on all this that every player in this is playing right into the other one's hands.

    And all the sponsors of this culture beauty contest are observing with glee all the peons running around fighting each other to make their dreams come true...it's exactly what they want.

  •  Roberto Beghnini? (none)
    That Italian Movie was a comedy about the holocaust.   Plenty of dark humour there.  Plenty of gallows humour with bombings too.  

    I remember a brand name joke about Lockerbie:

    How do you know the passengers of Pan Am 800 had no dandruff?

    They foud Head N' Shoulders everywhere.  

    Arbeit McFries  is a chuckle too.

     

  •  admire? (4.00)
    I don't get the admiration?  It isn't courageous for any newspaper in the Muslim world to publish anti-semitic cartoons.  It's done all the time.  It is offensive, but the difference is between the cultures is that there probably won't be any newspaper bureaus burned by radical Jews afterward.  

    I disagree with George Will on about everything, but he was right about the rioters. There is a common thread among radical Islam, that there is an inherent right to "not be offended."  

    It is also a bit hypocritical that there are huge protests about how Allah is depicted, when there are not the same protests over beheadings in His name.  

    If these protestors were radical Christians, would people viewing this site have the same response?  I doubt it.  I think they would conclude the radical Christians were nuts and dangerous.  They would be right.  

    We on the left should not sacrifice our ideals to call one wrong, even though that party is the "underdog."  

  •  Go fuck yourself (none)
    Altscott, go fuck yourself, really.

    I'm not even Jewish. I'm Catholic and I'm offended.

    I'm getting God-damned sick and tired of all the anti-semitism here at DKos. It's fucking disgusting.

    And now, this. <sarcasm>Yeah, nice. Let's praise Iran for more anti-semitic bullshit that has nothing to do with what some papers in Denmark and Europe did.</sarcasm>

    The Jews had nothing to do with the cartoons. Israel had nothing to do with cartoons. All Iran is doing is heaping the usual anti-semitic bullshit onto an issue which had nothing to do with Jews.

    I know there's no hope to be had on the right. It's crap like this that makes me wonder if there's any hope at all left for the left.

  •  I have relatives who died (none)
    in the Holocaust.

    You Jackass.

  •  Not an appropiate (none)
    response at all. So an appropiate response to a few hateful cartoons about Islam is some hateful cartoons about the Holocaust?  How does that make things right?

    Here is the real appropriate response:  Call on rioters to stop and be a voice for calm and peace in  Islamic world on this controversy.

    Fight. Just Fight. Fight until you feel you have nothing left. Then fight some more.

    by EMKennedyLucio on Mon Feb 06, 2006 at 09:46:07 PM PST

    •  The Prophet (none)
      Please understand that the counter-attacks are in response to perceived attacks on Islam, not on either the followers or particularly at the mere representation of Mohammed.

      For those with Judeo-Christian backgrounds it is difficult to understand the central place that The Prophet holds in Islam and for Muslims. The Koran is considered the direct words of Allah given to Mohammed. I suppose the nearest comparison is the 10 Commandments. Traditionally, because they are the words of god, they should not be translated but reproduced in the orginal Arabic. By receiving these words, Mohammed became like vessel of God and should be revered - but not worshiped like Jesus. That's why you will almost invariably find a devout muslim will refer to "The (Last) Prophet" or where the name is spoken add a formula like "Peace be unto Him" or "May the blessings of Allah be given to him". In writing the abbreviation "(PBUH)" would be used.

      Although Mohammed is referred to a "The Prophet", Muslims recognise the other Judeo-Christian prophets as such. They are worthy of almost as much reverence but do not perhaps invoke the depth of devotion. The simple response that attacks on Mohammed should be responded to by attacking Christ or a Jewish patriarch is therefore moot.

      I'd also like to point out that the "bomb turban" cartoon is the most offensive and the one that has aroused the passion. On the bomb in Arabic is the central creed of Islam and part of the opening words of the Koran "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger" The attack is therefore not only seen as offensive to Mohammed but an attack on the faith itself. The cartoon is read as saying that the bomb is the word of Allah, i.e. that Islam's message is simply violence.

      Now the reason I mentioned the Blood Libel on the Jews above is that it too misrepresents the religion. That though only(!) says that one Jewish ceremony requires the use of a murdered Christian child's blood. The cartoon equates the whole message of Islam with the killing of others. I would suggest that this is several orders of magnitude worse than the lie the Christians used to oppress the Jews. If the Blood Libel led to the deaths of millions of Jews, what could this Bomb Libel lead to for Muslims? Well the obvious link is the current US rampage and support of their repressive governments plus (I am afraid) the treatment of Palestine.  

       

      •  Oh for fuck's sake (none)
        You don't know what the hell you're talking about.

        First of all, your code words are pretty damn telling.  The blood libel doesn't 'misrepresent' Judaism; it is a bold-faced lie, with no basis in any fact whatsoever.  Not that I am defending the cartoon in question, but there has been a follower of Muhammed who used a bomb.  No Jew ever killed a gentile baby to use their blood to make matzoh.  Second, you don't know what you're talking about when you say that the blood libel is about "one Jewish ceremony" - the blood libel is nothing less than Jews eat babies blood.  And for you to minimize the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews who have been murdered over the blood libel, because of some possible future where this cartoon (which, whatever may be said about it, it not masquerading as fact but as tasteless parody) causes harm, is reprehensible.

        •  An obvious visceral reastion (none)
          First of all, have the courtsey to read what I said and my earlier post in this same thread and you will see I set out the original Blood Libel that directly links the use of the blood with the Passover. That is a perversion of the Passover story and the marking of doors and there seem to be other elements to the origins as well. That's what I am referring to as a misrepresentation of the religion, the lie that it is part of Judaism. Equally this bomb is not the start but a continuation of a long tradition of claiming Islam is an inherently violent religion. Sure the Blood Libel was broadened so that the original Passover connection was lost and the murder of any Christian child was presumed to be the work of Jews so they could consume the blood.

          That you obviously have strong Jewish links is evident in your visceral reaction to not reading my post fully. Yet you denegrate the reations of Muslims to the cartoon without understanding how it fits into a series of attacks on the Islam, both covert and overt. I find it amazing that you do not comprehend how the neocon Christians are using this libel on Islam and have adopted the world domination libel used in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion forgery to a claim that Islam is bent on world domination. Exactly the same lie Hitler used in his justifcations for anti-semitism and eventually the Holocaust and there is even a similar manifesto being circulated claiming a sort of Islamic "Protocol" exists.

  •  Wow! A subject important enough (none)
    to generate 156(+) comments, but not important enough to generate more than two Recommends.

    Fascinating.  I guess we only REC things that unambiguously agree with our point of view, rather than interesting topics.

    Progressives encourage dissent to improve society through constructive engagement. Conservatives encourage dissent to identify and silence the traitors.

    by sxwarren on Tue Feb 07, 2006 at 08:17:51 AM PST

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