Friday, 3 February 2006

Those cartoons

I've been mulling over how I feel about the uproar about these cartoons but was struggling to put it into words until I read Tim Ireland's take on the situtation here. He's said, far more eloquently than I could, much of what I was thinking.

The right to free speech and the right of people to have their beliefs respected is being banged together to no useful purpose other than to incite both sides. In a world where religion is driving both sides do we really need this being dragged out? I have no problem with the cartoons but I'm not a Muslim. I have no problems with anyone worshipping any god or none. I am far from a paradigm of anything but it doesn't take a degree in rocket science to see that both sides are going to use this as an excuse to carry out yet more acts of violence. And today
Griffin and Collett walked out of court with some charges still outstanding but acquitted on others. We need this all sorting out boys and girls or the world we leave our children will be that little be nastier than the one we inherited from our parents.

12 careful considerations:

kat said...

It's a mess, isn't it? I don't have a problem with cartoons depicting and making fun of terrorist or religious extremists but I can understand why the cartoon depicting the Prophet with a bomb is seen as offensive. It implies that all Muslims are potential terrorists and this isn't fair or true. Responsibilities come with free speech and I don't think the newpapers concerned have exercised those responsibilities. It does seem to have escalated beyond all reason though. The extremists on both sides are having a field day.

Angie said...

Funny thing is, you don't really see atheists ever threatening violence on anyone.

Echo Mouse said...

This is the first I've heard of it. I confess, I laughed when I saw that cartoon capture on the site you linked.

I'm with him, Gary Larson is the cartoon God. Or one of them.

And lately, I'm feeling like the world our parents had was wayyyyy better than what we've turned it into. I worry about how much more evolution we're going to have because it seems like the more we progress, the more we're fighting.

kat said...

Angie - No, not on our own religious grounds but there are those who help to incite racial hatred by ridiculing others. That can't be a good idea.

Many people are talking about the old 'free speech'. Free speech doesn't give anyone the right to deliberately offend and I think that once we are down to the 'free speech' excuse it is because we haven't got any other justification. In my opinion, National newspapers were not the place for these cartoons.

Nogbad said...

I'm with you Kat - the "myth" of free speech is exactly that, a myth.

For very sensible reasons we have a series of checks and balances aimed at protecting everyone. There are laws about what any of us can say regarding the colour, creed, age or gender of someone and although I think it's sad that we need to enshrine that in law, rather than assuming that people would have the intelligence and maturity to take it as self-evident, I am grateful we have those statutes.

If I know that poking you in the eye offends you but I have the right to poke people in the eye as part of my right to free speech I have to take an adult view about poking you in the eye don't I? I don't think my right to poke people in the eye is degraded because I chose not to exercise it. I also think that the image Ang has posted hits some real truths - in the west we are sensitive about offending other groups, Robinsons dropped the golly logo for example, but we seem ignorant to the sensibilities of Muslims - a factor that the Bush/Blair war on Afghanistan and Iraq is playing on. I the State of the Union speech Bush said that radical Islam was a bad thing but made no mention of the equal dangers inherent in radical Christianity or radical Judaism. If you have the stomach for it check out this site run by the AFA - or check out the main AFA site at

Angie said...

Actually, on other sites I did compare this to yelling fire in a crowd. Yes we have the right to do so, but you can bet if someone got hurt, we would be taken to court for causing a panic.

At the same time, we are not required to live by the rules others set for themselves.

Two ways of looking at it. And there are cartoons out there of the christian god/jesus and you don't see this uproar over it.


No easy answer for this one. But I do think those that are threatening violence should take a good hard look at their reaction to a cartoon.

Nogbad said...

And there are cartoons out there of the christian god/jesus and you don't see this uproar over it.

A big difference here is that Christians allow icons, images of their god and his prophets but Islam doesn't. Images of Allah are strictly forbidden to ensure that muslims don't commit idolatry, something mentioned as a "no no" in the ten commandments but ignored by the mainstream Christian sects.

I agree that we shouldn't be bound by rules that others adopt for themselves but I think we should be careful about causing unnecessary offence - things like invading someone's country might also cause offence but I'm not a politician so I'm not sure :-)

Angie said...

But then this comes back to living under someone else's rules that they set for themselves. You cannot expect that of others. It's fine for you to set rules for yourself. But dont' assume others to live by your rules.

If you wish to boycott products over this, fine. But violence? That is a bit extreme.

I was reading this one article where it stated that eons ago even doing this for the christian god was cause for death. Just over time it became more acceptable. So this is nothing different, just another group of people that needs to adapt to changing times.

And yes, I realize I'm insensitive when it comes to religion. But the bigger picture is that it is still a cartoon, and there was a time when the christians would have reacted the same if you said anything negative about their god. Times are changing. I'm all for being respectful, but at the same time, I won't live under someone else's rules.

kat said...

......... but from where I've been sitting, over the years, it looks like the US expects everyone else to live by their rules and by their morals. Other countries and other people don't want to.

We have to learn to live together.

Nogbad said...

I'm with the Katster on this one. A good example is the ongoing jive between the US and Cuba. Hardening entrenched views can only lead to conflict - "jaw jaw" rather than "war war"?

Angie said...

Ah but I'm siding with you two on that one. Nog, you've read my blog, you know my views on what this administration is doing.

I have always said we cannot force others to live by our rules. It's their country, not ours.

kat said...

Ah, but I go further than that. Muslims live all over the world and I think that if they are allowed to live in what any of us might describe as ‘our’ country then it is not a case of them having to adjust entirely to our rules and morals. They are not second-class citizens and the adjustment sometimes has to be both ways. They are part of the community and the democratic process and I do think that we need to be more understanding and tolerant. They are also a big part of the human race and the world community.

Personally, I would much prefer it if all religions disappeared into the woodwork but it is not going to happen in my lifetime. Come to think of it, I don’t think it could possibly happen until people do learn to live together. Whilst people feel persecuted, they will cling to a religion.