Friday, February 03, 2006

Because we "Can"

Spain's leading newspaper became the latest European paper to publish a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammad today, publishing a cartoon previously published in France on it's front page. The cartoon in question portrayed Mohammad's head made up of lines which say "I must not draw Mohammad" in French. Is it me, or is that taking the piss, just a little? Freedom of speech and expression are fundamental to our society, but human decency is vital too. Printing cartoons that will obviously cause massive offense, just to show we "can" print them, is not what freedom of speech is about. In fact if doing so is supposed to show how 'great' our free & democratic society is, then it is a shockingly poor advert for it. Both sides have taken an extreme stance on the issue, demanding the other to accept their values absolutely. No attempt has been made to see the others point of view. Are Western and Muslim cultures so different that dialogue cannot find a compromise? And should the more "culturally advanced" West continue to pour salt into the wounds by republishing the cartoons over and over, until Muslims get the point?

6 comments:

Simon said...

I think it was done to sell papers. Look at the sales of the hearld news paper over the verdict of the robert houlihan case. The papers pry on peoples willingness to spoil for a fight.

Tuathal said...

Well if it was done to sell papers, that's even worse.

CK said...

Taking the piss is putting it mildly, us becoming more secular as a people is hardly grounds to dismiss the concerns of those who take their faith seriously. This is nothing but a sad reflection of the complete lack of understanding between these polarised groups and certainly a mild form of the imposition of our views and practices on Islam values causing offence thst leads them to undertake acts of terror. I wish I could say this editorial policy undermined the steps that are being taken in reaching consensus between these world views, but there are no such steps to undermine, this only serves to make a terrible situation more impossible.

Simon said...

Here are some of the comments that have disappeared due to blogger.com muppetness
Frank
I agree with the post. We tend to forget that the great majority of media people are vain boorish cretins.

Sliabh
I would disagree with you there CK. You say the west it imposing it's views on Muslims. It isn't. Papers here print the pitcures, but that does not directly affect Muslims. However they are saying that we may not use such images, effectively telling us what we may or may not do. The reason being because it is offensive to their religion, but we are not muslims.

And Dossing I don't think you can equate the "extermists" on both sides. One group is (re)printing some cartoons that are in poor taste. The other is looking for people to be put to death.

Wulbeorn

I'm afraid I must disagree with the general thrust of the above post. I don't think there should be a dialogue or compromise with people who want the media to be controlled and will use violence if their demands are not met. If Islamists cannot get the point that people in the West are allowed to say whatever they want, they should go live in Saudi Arabia, Iran or suchlike, where they can rest assured that anyone who says anything that might offend them will be harshly punished.

Or, if they choose to stay and enjoy the freedom of our liberal democracies, they should accept that a legitimate form of protest against media they don't like is to refuse to buy/read/view it, not to threaten with murder anyone involved.

Daedalus
Right, every time someone publishes one of those images is another moment longer this nonsense will continue.

my reply

First Sliabh.
They are because they are responding to the violence and provoking these people even more. They may not be out attacking but they are saying bring it on. I don't think the west should apologise for the cartoons but I also do not think they should republish them just to say F**k you.
wulbeorn
I don't think there should be a dialogue or compromise with people who want the media to be controlled and will use violence if their demands are not met.
so are you saying people must never negociate. we either fight them or talk to them. There is no third way.

CK said...

To claim to have a right we must also recognise corresponding obligations, I said publishing these pictures is a mild form of the imposition of our views on followers of Islam, our ideas on democracy, human rights and equality which we haphazardly apply ourselves are deeemed the correct way for Middle Eastern states to reform. I would appreciate an example of the liberal democracies that can be held up as a voice of balanced reporting and values that Arab states should aspire towards.
Violence is never an acceptable way to respond, nevertheless this is how these people have chosen to respond, attacks on Embassies will always get more coverage than angry press statements. This is the extent to which they have gone to show their faith and we should learn to be more respectful.

There is no suggestion the media should be controlled but merely reflect its responsibilities and influence it holds.

Tuathal said...

I think both Daedalus and CK have pretty much summed up my feelings on the issue.

Just to Sliabh, I was not equating the actions of the extremists on both sides. I was merely stating that both sides had taken an extreme and stubborn stance, both refusing to negotiate or see things from the others point of view.

cheers.