Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Friday, February 03, 2006
The offensive cartoons that ran in a Danish newspaper (you can see them here) have caused these reactions in the Muslim world:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Outrage over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad escalated in the Arab and Islamic world Thursday, with Palestinian gunmen briefly kidnapping a German citizen and protesters in Pakistan chanting "death to France" and "death to Denmark."
Palestinian militants surrounded European Union headquarters in Gaza, and gunmen burst into several hotels and apartments in the West Bank in search of foreigners to take hostage.
....One of the militants, flanked by two masked men with assault rifles, said the governments of Germany, France, Norway and Denmark must apologize for the cartoons by Thursday evening. If no apology is issued, the gunmen said they would target citizens of the four countries and shut down media offices, including the French news agency.
"Any citizens of these countries, who are present in Gaza, will put themselves in danger," the gunman said.
About 10 armed Palestinians gathered later at the French cultural center in Gaza City and warned of a "tough response" to any further disparagement of Muhammad.
...In Nablus, gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a violent Fatah offshoot, went to four hotels and told staff they must not host Europeans from the targeted countries. The gunmen said they searched two apartments for foreigners to kidnap, but didn't find any. Foreigners now have three days to leave town, the gunmen said in an impromptu news conference after their fruitless search.
So, cartoons in a European newspaper lead to threats and violent searches for foreigners to take hostage in the Middle East. It is almost laughable that a society that promotes purposeful slaughter of innocents via the suicide bomb demands an apology over some drawings.
At least cooler heads prevailed in some of the more free parts of the Middle East.
In Iraq, Islamic leaders urged worshippers to stage demonstrations from Baghdad to the southern city of Basra following weekly prayer services Friday. Afghanistan and Indonesia condemned the drawings...
Demonstrations and verbal condemnations, seems tolerance and democracy are taking root.
The Washington Post also recently published an incredibly offensive cartoon. It depicts a wounded soldier who has lost both arms and legs, with Donald Rumsfeld as a doctor, saying "I am portraying your condition as 'battle-hardened.'" The small figure at the bottom of the cartoon says, "I am prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don't define that as torture." You can see that cartoon here.
The reaction? A one page letter from the Joint Chiefs of Staff which reads in part:
We were extremely disappointed to see the editorial cartoon by Tom Toles on page B6 of January 29th edition. Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in a war as central theme of a cartoon is beyond tasteless. Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues - and your paper is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of the readiness of today's Armed Forces. However, we believe you and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds.
Note that the 4-Star generals who authored the letter went out of their way to affirm the paper's right to publish whatever they choose, and simply appealed to their sense of decency, wherever it may lie. But I prefer Wretchard's take on this:
But JCS may have been wrong to think that the cartoon was about "the state of readiness of today's Armed Forces". No. It was far more appropriately an unwitting yet brilliant commentary on the souls of Tom Toles and the Washington Post editors themselves. John Kennedy once observed that "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." One might add that people most clearly reveal their statures by what they choose to mock. Surely there are some who doubled over in laughter at Toles depiction. I am glad I don't speak that language.
Wretchard has been all over this story, for more read this post of his especially.
Michelle Malkin is all over this story, and things seem to really be escalating.
So, the Muslim world is upset at being characterized as violent and they show this by reacting with violence? If Europe allows the threats of Imams in the Middle East to dictate what they publish in their own newspapers on their own continent they essentially cede sovereignty. A lot is at stake. Where are the voices of moderation?