Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoonifada Continues

The uproar over cartoon caricatures of Mohammad continues unabated; in the Muslim World, there is death, violence, and destruction, while in the West, we wring our hands and question the limits of press freedoms, and the reticence bordering on fearfulness of many American press outlets (barely any major newspaper has published the cartoons so far in the US).

Many in the West, however, fall back to the patrimonial habit of looking inward, and blaming our own society for the outrageious response in the Muslim world to these cartoons. A classic example of this is Canada's own Antonia Zerbisias who recently wrote an editorial where she wondered

"who the real hate-mongers are: those [muslims in the developing world] who are cut off from modern communications technology and are more easily subject to the machinations of ignorant clerics — or those that should know better and who claim to be morally superior."

Human beings made a choice to riot and to destroy property in response to an idea they disagreed with, and yet it is the fault of those who put pen to paper? This is the "Did you see the way she was dressed, she was askin' for it" logic, which is no logic at all.

Meanwhile, more European magazines are now reprinting the fabled cartoons, so the story will continue to arch for a little while longer.


1 comment:

JuliaMazal said...

yeah... just bought The Economist's "Cartoon Wars" issue to see what their take is.
There's a condescension, I think, in Zerbisias' take, though I didn't read her column.