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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Making a clear choice

Conservative US commentator Andrew Sullivan publishes some "liberal" thoughts on the Danish cartoon controversy. Take this example:

"I'm honestly starting to suspect that, before this is over, European nations are going to have exactly four choices in dealing with their entire Moslem populations - for elementary safety's sake":

(1) "Capitulate totally to them and become a Moslem continent."
(2) "Intern all of them."
(3) "Deport all of them."
(4) "Throw all of them into the sea."

Such hysterical, racist nonsense may occupy the minds of supposed internationalists, but calmer heads must, and will, prevail.

21 Comments:

Blogger Aaron Lane said...

It is perfectly clear that those comments were written not by Sullivan himself, but by a reader of the blog emailing Sullivan his thoughts. Why did you not make this clear in your post, instead of using murky word "published", which would lead any casual reader to assume that Sullivan had made the comments himself?
Also, it is obvious that the emailer made his comments with some flippancy. Sullivan's post, however, quotes Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, as making even more extreme comments, and his were made with the utmost seriousness, yet you refrained from making any criticism of him. Why do you continue to ignore Islamic extremism, while harping on about the most trivial examples of Western extremism?

Saturday, February 11, 2006 4:35:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

The reactions in the Muslim world were not spontaneous, but the result of incitement by Saudi government-controlled newspapers, with the aim of deflecting criticism away from the Saudi government over the death of 350 pilgrims during the Haj in January. We must also not forget the initial incitement by right-wing Christian newspapers in Europe.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 7:33:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

Aaron Lane said...
"It is perfectly clear that those comments were written not by Sullivan himself"

True.

"Why did you not make this clear in your post, instead of using murky word "published", which would lead any casual reader to assume that Sullivan had made the comments himself?"

True. Reading Sullivan's post also makes it clear that he completely agrees with the statements made. If anything, given that he characterises the words as coming from "the left" whereas he is from "the right", one can infer that he not only agrees with them, but endorses them completely because they are essentially the sort of idiocy eminating from conservative circles these days. There is no hint of disapproval in his post whatsoever.

"Also, it is obvious that the emailer made his comments with some flippancy."

False. There isn't a hint of flippancy, sarcasm, irony or whatever other tone you want to imagine. (Sheik Hassan Nasrallah's comments are just as "flippant" if one applies the same interpretative "rule".)

"Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, as making even more extreme comments, and his were made with the utmost seriousness, yet you refrained from making any criticism of him. Why do you continue to ignore Islamic extremism, while harping on about the most trivial examples of Western extremism? "

Everyone knows about Islamic extremism - the news is about nothing else. What does NOT get into the news (or at least doesn't get named as such) is the ideological and propagandistic drivel from the likes of Sullivan and still bigger fish: drivel and propaganda that serves one overriding purpose - to prepare electorates for human rights abuses at home and overseas and the destruction of entire countries in the name of "The Good". Put in context, Nasrallah has made inflammatory statements that have had very little effect in terms of relative death and destruction, whereas Sullivan & co. make ideologically prepatory statements for an Administration that, with full public approval thanks to his efforts, has destroyed two entire countries in the space of 5 years. Which would we be more concerned about?

Saturday, February 11, 2006 8:47:00 pm  
Blogger James Waterton said...

The intial incitement, "Progressive Atheist"? What would that be, then?

Sunday, February 12, 2006 4:33:00 am  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

James Waterton said...
"The intial incitement, "Progressive Atheist"? What would that be, then?"

That would be the cartoons which are nominally of Muhammad, but are of course, as everyone with a brain knows, really about spitting in the face of The Inferior Ones.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:04:00 pm  
Blogger Mr Whippy said...

Antony, just wanted to drop a note to say that the quality of debate in the comments has improved dramatically since you turned moderation on. A wise choice.

I have become greatly disillusioned with the idea of "free speech" over this whole cartoon controversy. It seems to me that "free speech" is interpreted by some as the right to slander, abuse, and spread lies about anyone they see fit, simply because they can.

Free speech was intended to be a defence against the encroachment of fundamentalism and fascism on democratic countries, and has been twisted by the pathological mentality into something that can excuse all kinds of racist and intolerant attitudes.

There is no freedom without responsibility - no "free lunch" - and it is high time that the media be held accountable for irresponsible and inflammatory material. Since it seems that we have no "planetary moderators", it looks like the job is up to us, or at least, those who care about a creative, sustainable future for the planet.

If you stand for Truth, then lies cannot be permitted to drown it out. Sacrificing the principal of unrestrained free speech in the name of Truth seems like a small price to pay as far as I'm concerned.

Keep up the good work.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 2:45:00 pm  
Blogger Progressive Atheist said...

Mr Whippy, well spoken.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 7:21:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"That would be the cartoons which are nominally of Muhammad, but are of course, as everyone with a brain knows, really about spitting in the face of The Inferior Ones."

Crap. They're about the fact that every religion is open to criticism. Why should Islam be raised on any special pedestal, immune from scrutiny? The arab media has been publishing comments critical of Christians, Jews, and the US for a long time. Yet when the dubious favour is returned, riots are unleashed and it's the fault of the evil west for their dastardly provoctaion.

This was an opportunity for muslims to prove that they're tolerant of differing opinions.

They've failed.

Dismally.

Sunday, February 12, 2006 10:38:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

HisHineness said...
"They're [the cartoons] about the fact that every religion is open to criticism. Why should Islam be raised on any special pedestal, immune from scrutiny?"

Crap. Good cartoon-work directs its attention at those at the top. Nasty and opportunistic cartoon-work picks on those at the bottom. Anyone can poke fun at authority, people and institutions in positions of power, and the values they hold. That's traditionally what political cartoons are about. This was not one of those times. This was originally about the singling out of a relatively powerless minority by a widely read right-wing Christian newspaper for "special treatment".

We now all know that the "free speech" ruse was just that: a ruse. Why? Because the very same paper refused to publish caricatures of Jesus. Why did the supposedly unbreachable wall of free speech crumble in that case? Simple: the paper didn't want to cause offense. By the paper's VERY OWN STANDARDS of decency it should have, in the case of the Muhammad cartoons, RESERVED the right to free speech in order to foster social harmony. But it didn't do this. It didn't apply its own stanards fairly and impartially. It singled out a marginalised group because it knew it could get away with it in the current climate (just as all unprincipled media entities do, from Sydney talk-back radio to the Saudi press).

Monday, February 13, 2006 1:44:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

Hishiness,

You might want to explain then, why when Iran asked for cartoons depicting the holocaust, they were not able to commission cartoonists from at least 7 European countries, who would have been open to charges of hate spoeech and holocaust denials laws.

Monday, February 13, 2006 2:50:00 am  
Blogger orang said...

The Copenhagen Post explains: “Jyllands-Posten called for and printed the cartoons by various Danish illustrators, after reports that artists were refusing to illustrate works about Islam, out of fear of fundamendalist retribution. The newspaper said it printed the cartoons as a test of whether Muslim fundamentalists had begun affecting the freedom of expression in Denmark.”

Now let me understand this, they couldn't find an illustrator to draw stuff to do with muslims for a childrens book, but they COuld find illustrators to draw insulting stuff about muslims for a national paper.

Something smells in the state of Denmark.

Monday, February 13, 2006 9:41:00 am  
Blogger smiths said...

honestly,
its really nice to think that little isolated events 'just happen', and to believe the main story supplied with each event,
but it doesnt work like that, there is method in the increasing madness,

the cartoons were never about freedom of speech, and they are not about clashing religious 'values' either,
today in the news is an 'unfortunately timed' release of a 2004 video of british troops kicking the shit out of rock-throwing iraqi teenagers,
2004 video, so why now, unfortunate my arse,

the links of the culture editor to daniel pipes, the links of the papers owners to oil and gas interests, the actions of the danish prime minister who could easily have averted this incident, and the very convenient posturing of england and america about how insensitive it was to publish all suggest to me that it was orchestrated and executed by plan, right on time,

Monday, February 13, 2006 1:30:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

Edward,

"Nasty and opportunistic cartoon-work picks on those at the bottom."

So Islam shouldn't be placed under scrutiny by a bunch of cartoonists, simply because muslims are "powerless" and downtrodden? By that rationale, are any cartoons of Mark Latham also opportunistic? I wouldn't think so. The opportunity exists because the idiot keeps creating it and making a news item of himself. Islam is very similar.

Monday, February 13, 2006 5:43:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"Now let me understand this, they couldn't find an illustrator to draw stuff to do with muslims for a childrens book, but they COuld find illustrators to draw insulting stuff about muslims for a national paper."

From the first half of your comment, it appears that the "they" you refer to, orang, is two separate "theys". Artists were having trouble finding illustrators. The newspaper, presumably with an entirely different network of connections, recruited the cartoonists.

It is not a case of the same group of illustrators having knocked back the first offer, only to accept the second.

Monday, February 13, 2006 5:59:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"Free speech was intended to be a defence against the encroachment of fundamentalism..."

And in the cartoon case, I think this point is very well illustrated.

"...has been twisted by the pathological mentality into something that can excuse all kinds of racist and intolerant attitudes."

Do you include the intolerance exhibited by those who have torched embassies and taken to the streets calling for the beheading of those who insult Islam?

Monday, February 13, 2006 6:06:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"You might want to explain then, why when Iran asked for cartoons depicting the holocaust, they were not able to commission cartoonists from at least 7 European countries, who would have been open to charges of hate spoeech and holocaust denials laws."

I'm sorry addamo, I'm not familiar with this example or the "hate speech" laws in Europe. If they're (the laws) anything like the ridiculous examples seen in Victoria, I'm opposed to them.

I've posted a few comments here today. In summary...

If you're opposed to the publication of cartoons of the prophet, are you also opposed to the cartoons of Bush, Christians, Jews, Sharon, etc. that appear regularly in the arab media?

As much as they were insulting to Muslims, the drawings were also a test to see exactly how tolerant they are. There are many legitimate forms of protest available without burning buildings and staging riots.

But as usual, it's all the fault of the evil West, and tolerance is only a one-way street.

Monday, February 13, 2006 6:20:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

hishineness - you mean the paper took the line - "OK, all you cartooning Mo Fo's out there, are youse men or are youse mice, we want (and will publish) any mofoing parody and guffaw cartoon about the muslim religion - feel free, we will publish it - and pay youse money...go for it!"

..nothing to do with illustrating a childs story book.

..oh.

Monday, February 13, 2006 7:02:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

"So Islam shouldn't be placed under scrutiny by a bunch of cartoonists, simply because muslims are "powerless" and downtrodden?"

You write insightful critical pieces, you don't draw "ner ner dee ner ner" cartoons. The same goes for single mothers..... Unless of course your model of human decency is the schoolyard bully.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 12:34:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"You write insightful critical pieces, you don't draw "ner ner dee ner ner" cartoons."

I really don't see these cartoons as being like that, Edward. You're making them out to be "Ha ha, you're getting you're arses kicked, and here's some blasphemy to rub it in!".

That's stretching it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 12:47:00 pm  
Blogger HisHineness said...

"hishineness - you mean the paper took the line - "OK, all you cartooning Mo Fo's out there, are youse men or are youse mice, we want (and will publish) any mofoing parody and guffaw cartoon about the muslim religion - feel free, we will publish it - and pay youse money...go for it!""

Not really, no. The paper heard that illustrators would not draw the mighty Mo for a children's book, for fear of some maniac pulling a Theo.

The paper set out to determine exactly how far this fear had permeated, and commissioned the Motoons. Of 50 cartoonists, twelve responded.

Why so much analysis of their intentions? So what if they set out to piss muslims off? They have every right to. The arab media sets out to piss Jews, Christians, and Americans off every week. They did nothing illegal. They drew pictures.

Muslims have every right to get offended and pissed off, just as the paper has every right to publish the drawings. Just as Christians had a right too feel angry about the Piss Christ, and the artist had a right to create it in the first place.

The issue is the response. There are legitimate forms of protest, and then there is violence.

*Preview function isn't working. Sorry if the formatting of the above turns out ugly. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:03:00 pm  
Blogger orang said...

Well, I reckon its a good thing anyway you look at it. If they had a bit more of a sofisticated sense of humour they would have really laughed at the cartoons. (I thought they sucked)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 2:45:00 pm  

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