Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More Cartoonish Thoughts

You know, when I set out to comment on the "Cartoon Controversy" last week, I quickly realized that, as Nadim Shehadi, identified as "a Middle East analyst at Chatham House in London", said in the February 6 Christian Science Monitor:
"This is not about the cartoons themselves. There was a lot of tension between the West and Muslims because of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Patestine. This is just the spark that set it off."
Of course, even though I've followed this story pretty closely, that by no means makes me an expert on Middle East affairs or Islam, but I do consider my self somewhat of an expert on cartoons, so that is why my comments centered on the cartoons themselves and may have seemed, at least they did to me, a bit shallow. Concerning the deeper issues involved, I feel the readers who left comments on that post, Jack Bertram and Eric Clark, had more insightful things to say than I did.
I certainly don't think that the cartoonist bares sole responsibility for this mess, as I may have seemed to imply. He could not, after all, have anticipated the reaction, though he, and his publishers, must have known there'd be some negative reaction. I mean, isn't Salmon Rushdie still in hiding? Now, this guy's got a price on his head, as I heard recently that a Muslim cleric has offered a $1,000,000 for his death.
The most bizarre development of last week was an Iranian newspaper soliciting cartoons about the Holocaust in response to the Danish cartoons, and one of the first entries received was attributed a famous Australian cartoonist who denied that the cartoon is his work and calls it an effort to discredit him. Or maybe it's the Italian government minister who was forced to resign after parading around in a T-Shirt with one of the cartoons on it. No, that's not bizarre, it's just stupid. Free speech is one thing, but that's incitement.

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