Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It’s not in Denmark that something’s rotten

I realize that living out here in the boonies, I’m not generally going to find myself at the center of violent controversy. The last time Monmouth had anything close to riots was back when I was in grade school, and pretty much our entire country was in turmoil over civil rights. I don’t see that happening here in the next few weeks, months, or even years. But the civil rights battle has been renewed, and this time, the majority are defending freedom from those who would see us under the yoke of religious oppression.

While your congressmen are struggling to see if your rights have been undermined by the electronic eavesdropping on international terrorists’ phone calls, the real thieves of liberty have been working completely in the open, with the support of the politically correct. Finally, what has been obvious to the rest of us has begun to sink into the minds of the world press. And it’s getting uglier by the minute.

Over the past couple of weeks, tensions have mounted and violent protests have broken out in a number of cities worldwide, all because a Danish newspaper asked for submissions from cartoonists, of their depictions of Muhammed. A dozen doodles -- some of them wittier than others -- are now markers of the root dispute said best in some placards shown at a march in London: To Hell With Freedom.

The cartoons were an answer to a call, after the author of a biography of Muhammed stated he could find nobody willing to illustrate his work, due to fear of reprisals by the Muslim community. The Qur'an, they were told, expressly forbids Muslims from making images of Muhammed or Allah, as it is blasphemy and idolatry. Leaders of the Muslim community decided that those blasphemy laws should also apply to the infidels as well. In über-tolerant Denmark, tolerance was to be applied only in favor of Muslims. Anybody who disagreed might himself in the same condition as the erstwhile Netherlands filmmaker, Theo van Gogh. This rage has been the standard, and has led to some serious self-censorship from the media.

So, Jyllands-Posten decided to run an experiment, and print twelve cartoons. That was nearly five months ago. If you look them over, you may note they are not terribly insulting to Muhammed, but more pointedly marking a few of the things done in the name of the prophet. And, lo, the Danish-flag-burnings have begun. The Danish consulate in Syria and embassy inLebanon have been destroyed. Muslim leaders in many countries are calling for boycotts of Danish goods -- and some for boycotts on all Western goods, including and especially medicines (so, perhaps, she said cynically, nature will resolve this for us). There have been personal threats made, of course, against anybody even remotely connected with Denmark for the perceived insult, including those who do business with Denmark or publish articles on the subject of the twelve cartoons. They know where we live, and they’re willing to kill.

Which is probably why so few pragmatic news sources have printed, or linked their sites to, these cartoons. The “surrender monkeys” in France had at least one newspaper editor run these images. Of course, he was fired, but he stood up for his brethren at Jyllands-Posten. Editors of newspapers in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and numerous other countries have followed suit and run the cartoons. Notably absent from this list are most mainstream US and British news sources. So much for “We report, you decide”.

Still, the more the demand increases for the removal of such things, the deeper the freedom-lovers dig in their heels. If you want to see what the fuss is about, there are hundreds upon hundreds of independent-minded persons worldwide who have been making the pictures available on the internet. The most popular sites have been pretty bogged down by heavy visitation, but many of the lesser sites have also offered either direct posting of the drawings or links to secondary sites which display them. The little guys -- including countless moderate Muslims -- have been defending the right to see for themselves, to think for themselves, to believe what their consciences tell them, and not what some remote mullah tells them is right and righteous.

We out here in the dingles have been enjoying our bucolic serenity, but war has been declared upon Western freedom, and sides are drawing up. As usual, Congress and most of our mainstream media seem to be the last ones to see it.

Recommended reading:
Daimnation!: Six sentences I'm getting very, very sick of hearing (HT: Instapundit)
Petrelis Files: NYT's Lame Excuses for Not Running Danish Cartoons
The New Criterion — Muslims: integration or separatism?(HT: Power Line)
The Cartoon Hoax, (HT:Michelle Malkin
Tony Blankley: Cartoons, but not the Funnies
Amir Taheri: Culture Clash: Bonfire of the Pieties

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