Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rocky shows stones

The newspaper publishes a whole section on the mo-toons controversy today, including a slide show that cleverly juxtaposes the Muslim-offending bomb-turban cartoon with others reviling Christians and Jews that are far more offensive but, of course, sparked no riots.

Lots of passingly instructive blather, too, including the portentous lead editorial, and John Temple's contribution, in which he wonders whether newspapers are dumping cartoonists in droves because, well, they're always offending someone, and who needs the headaches? (Maybe partly. Much more relevant is that newspapers are cheap and cartoonists are expensive. Duh.)

Then there's Daniel Pipes' typically unnuanced riff (that's good), and the editor of the Beirut-based Daily Star, Rami G. Khouri, with a ludicrously Saidian explanation for Muslim overreaction: "European arrogance the cause of Muslim anger."
It is too simplistic and easy to categorize this as a clash of civilizations, a very western perspective that explains political tensions primarily through the lens of cultural and values differences. Most Muslims (and non-Muslim Middle Easterners such as several million Christian Arabs) probably see the current tensions as a political battle, not a cultural one. This is not primarily an argument about freedom of press in Europe, much as our dashing European friends would like to believe it is. It is about Arab-Islamic societies' desire to enjoy freedom from Western and Israeli subjugation, diplomatic double standards and predatory neo-colonial policies.
Of course it is. Oh, and while Khouri mentions the lack of Muslim reaction the first time the cartoons were published, he somehow manages to avoid mentioning where they were first published. Nor does he refer directly to the Danish imams' deliberate circulation of fake cartoons around the Middle East.

Anyway, good stuff. And way better than what the Denver Post has managed, which is a feebitorial or two and a link to the cartoons on someone else's site.

(Darwish article via Melanie Phillips)

Update: "dashing European friends?"

Update II: I was wrong about where the cartoons were first published, which of course was in the Jyllands Posten, after which they were reprinted in Egypt.

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