Danish cartoons - continued...
It is strange to see what some (simple) drawings can lead to in this globalized world. I don't think it happened before that the publishment of some cartoons in a magazine lead to such enormous waves of reactions. So in this third post related to the Danish cartoons in this blog, I would like to post some more reactions that were posted at Orkut, in reply to my text about Western arrogance. At the end of this week I will also add part of an online philosophy discussion (in Dutch) about this topic.
Here's a list of some of the main comments that were made:
- Orkuter 1 says: I agree that danish news paper should not have published that article. But the problem is not only this. There is serious problem with followers of Islam. wherever they go, they create problems. wherever their population is more, they create problems to minorities. Wherever they become sufficient in number they starts demanding for seperate country.Tolerance is good. But it should come from both sides. Why it should be preached only for other communities when the real culprits are Muslims. One can easily see in case of Pakistan, Bangladesh, how minorities are being treated there. In India itself, in whatever parts they are in majority they create problems. In Kashmir, they are in majority and they tortured hindus there nad hindus had to leave kashmir and now hey are living in camps in Delhi. They are living like immigrants in their own country!! There is surely something wrong with how muslims treats others. Whatever you call it, you may say that not all muslims are terrorist or whatever...I am not saying that all are terrorists but my question is that why is that muslims always creates problems to others in society? Why they torture other communities whenever and wherever they can do so? My opinion is that those who will not oppose strongly to such tendency, they will pay the price one day or the other as even if you are tolerant, they are not going to be like that. Though I do believe in humanity but I can not support tolerance to those who are intolerant. If they will not have strong opposition world over they are not going to understand what tolerance is. It is not about those cartoons. I remember that some years ago..one of Muslim painter made nude photos of a Hindu goddess then for these Muslims, it was matter of freedom of expression. It was Afghanistan where they demolish all the buddhist idols..where was the respect for others? One can not built a temple in Banladesh, where is the respect for oher religion in Islam?
- Orkuter 2 says: 1. I do not think that 'Islam creating problems for minorities' is generally applicable - and therefore attributable to Islam - at all. Pardon my inability to manipulate history to my own purposes and enumerate examples, but Salahuddin Ayyubi ("Saladin") is a good example - of a benevolent ruler and pious Muslim. Yes, there were difficult times for non-Muslims, too. There is no doubt that minorities (whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Ahmedi/Qadyani) are mistreated in the sub-continent – India being no exception, in this regard. But I beg you to not forget the Hindus and Muslims (the two largest communities) in India had been living peacefully with each other before the British colonialist arrived in India. There is a credible theory that the British sought to aggravate Hindu-Muslim differences to be able to manipulate the diverse social fabric of India. Now, I am not going to put the blame on the British for problems today. It is, no doubt, our failure, as South Asians, to not be able to ensure communal harmony in our localities. But I strongly feel that blaming one community or the other for inciting hatred or promoting intolerance is NOT the solution to any problem. Such a generalization is likely to aggravate member of that community – tolerant or not. Instead, given our common origin as Indian (and neglecting the North-South distinction), our understanding of our differences with each other, is it not inevitable that either we all completely kill each other or live peacefully. Honestly, I’d rather die struggling for the later. And it doesn’t matter at whose hand – Muslim or Hindu – as long as that hand shall affirm that it is Indian.
- Esther says: "But the problem is not only this, there is a serious problem with followers of Islam. Wherever they go, they create problems." I propose to change this text in a more specific defined one:"There is a serious problem with the extremist followers of the political Islam."For them this counts, but not for moderate and peaceful Muslims (the majority).
- Orkuter 1 says: If minorities are being tortured in your countries (Islamic countries) and you say that only few extrimists are responsible for that. If majority muslims population believe in peace (as you say that Islam means peace). But if minorities in your countries are being tortured and majority of muslim community just watching that and not doing anything. In my views they are also equally responsible. If majority of muslim population believe in peace then donot allow Islamic rules in your countries as other communities are also living there...why to force Islamic law on those who donot believe in Islam? Is it tolerance ad believe in peace? There is problem and you, majority of muslims, (who claim that they believe in peace) have to deal with it. Otherwise you will also suffer as well as the rest of world.
- Orkuter 3 says: If the law of a country, as in the case of these European nations, allows such publication, then it is a law that needs to be amended. This debate is not so much about subjective civil values that countries like Denmark hold in high esteem, as it is about acknowledging others’ values. It is not enough that these countries pass legislation against racial discrimination, slander or incitement to violence — for some of us blasphemy laws are equally important!
- Orkuter 4 says: I disagree because when it comes to freedom of speech the liberals and the West should not sacrifice their values one inch to those who seek censorship on religious grounds, whether Evangelists, Catholics or Muslims or whoever.But I would partly agree with you that the right to freedom of speech equates to neither an obligation to ofend nor a duty to be insenstive to people. There has never been any contradiction between supporting someones right to do something and condemning them for doing it. The right to offend must come with at least one consequent right and one subsequent responsibility. If newspapers have the right to offend then surely their targets have the right to be offended as Muslims surely have been.
- Later in the discussion, Orkuter 5 says: Muslims are indeed submitted to discrimination in Europe, and their religion far too often associated with terrorism. That is why the cartoons were so offensive – not because they were true, but because they seemed true. They joke with a real issue. I am all pro freedom of speech, but the motivation behind the Newspaper was hateful. The cartoons brook a Muslim taboo not in defense of Human Rights (as Theo Van Gogh´s films), but simply as a provocation. A way to shout: here your beliefs don’t rule. As for “sense of humor”, here's an example: It offends me to hear racist jokes against black people, northeasterners and other social groups that are indeed discriminated. I can find humor in the anti-Portuguese jokes very common in Brazil though. Not because I don’t like Portugal or its people, but simply because the gags aren’t based on real hardships. The police don’t mistreat Portuguese teenagers here. Portuguese don’t hear their hair is “bad”. Portuguese don’t learn their regional variations of speech are incorrect and ridiculous. Portuguese are not portrayed as cleaners and housekeepers in elementary school books.
- Orkuter 6 says: I agree. It seemed to me that the Danish newspaper took advantage of the Freedom of Speech principle to insult directly a minority whose identity is on the spot, specially those who live in Europe. The publisher did know that the Muslim community would feel insulted and did predict how they would react. Not taking these facts into consideration impplies a level of naïfness not expected in a publisher afterall, and I really think that is not the case. There is another tiny - almost unconscious - unuterred truth behind the *harmless tricky* charges: we are talking about a newspaper, a press coorporation. We are referring to people who care about their money. They don't want to ruin their business at all so they are really careful about what is being published. Therefore if a scornful charge appears on the news it means that it has been previously authorized by someone who wants give what their readers want. Among other things,they want something funny to laugh at and that *so called prophet*, who is so precious to those Muslims, serves the purpose. It means that Muhammad is laughable and so are the Muslims and the Danish population dont give a damn about either their culture or values. I think this is where the problem relies.Finally I'm not stating that this is faithfull to the major Danish opinion. I'm concerned about what an atittude impplies. Thus I imagine - and probably so does the Muslim community - that a publisher's decision is concerned about their readers, which happens to be the harmful assumption.
- Esther says: I agree. I am surprised how little the people I speak to in my surroundings are willing to put themselves in the shoes of Muslims. We had a discussion during the lunch break at my work and people were only making sick jokes themselves about both the Danish cartoons and the holocaust jokes. I hear people say so often that immigrants / Muslims should adapt to "our culture" and that it's stupid that they get so angry and don't have any sense of humour and that they would have a violent and backward culture or something. And when I defend the peaceful Muslims who felt insulted they look suspicious at me as if I could say anytime that I converted to Muslim. People think simplistic, completely locked up in their own perspective / background of atheism, irony / cynism, indifference, and casualness. They think that because they wouldn't really care if jokes were made about what they find important, Muslims shouldn't care either, and certainly not if it's about something THEY don't find important. Always the emphasis on assimilation of non-natives, very little recognition of the fact that in cultural diverse societies and in a globalised world, everybody needs intercultural skills to be able to understand each other and live together. Everyone has to do some efforts to understand people who are completely different, to respect them and to accept differences. Not as a way of giving up your own identity, just as a way to improve communication and cooperation.