Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Five Excellent Posts

Scott, doing what he does so well.

Shuggy's back. "I guess I'm just not leftwing enough." Comes to us all.

Christie Davies at the Social Affairs Unit looks back at Bezhti and rioting Sikhs.

S.J. Masty at the same place, reporting from Afghanistan.

And how could I leave out Mick Hartley.

"So, the fuss about the Religious Hatred Bill was all for nothing. It's not needed. As this cartoon affair clearly demonstrates, no one, and certainly not the UK press, is going to do anything to offend Muslims from now on. Muslims have set the terms of the debate: they decide what it is that offends them, and from then on it's a line we can't cross - ostensibly because of our civilised concern for their delicate sensibilities, but in reality because we're scared."

"But what's been most depressing this past week has been the abject performance of the British press. It would have been one thing if they'd come out with it and said, well, frankly, yes, there is a question of freedom of expression, and it would be appropriate perhaps to show solidarity with our Danish colleagues, but there are people out there with violence in mind, and we have families and safe secure lives, and really, who needs the aggravation. Not very inspiring perhaps, but at least honest. But this smug weaselly self-righteous whining about how the cartoons weren't very good anyway, and how freedom of expression comes with responsibilities etc. etc. - it's been a fairly nauseating experience all round"

As a commenter points out, the British press and the BBC were quite happy to inflame Muslim sensibilities with stories of flushed Korans, Guantanamera 'torture', fake snaps of abuse, Abu Ghraib, secret renditions etc.

But of course, the consequences of such stories were for squaddies in Basra or Afghanistan to face. Not for them.

UPDATE - he's done it again ! Another Hartley classic, on the famous baby-eating Sharon 'toon.

It's perhaps worth recalling Tim Benson's words at the time his society decided to give the Cartoon of the Year award to the Sharon baby-eating picture:

Mr Benson said the cartoon was a criticism of Mr Sharon and his policies, not a harangue against Jews ... do they not want people to have the freedom to express themselves? ... You couldn't meet a nicer guy than Dave Brown. Cartoonists depict George Bush and Tony Blair in exactly the same way ... you can like or dislike a cartoon, but how can I censor a competition in which cartoonists submit their work? The cartoon was chosen because of its impact.

Stirring sentiments, and one can indeed sympathise: how can you censor cartoonists in a society based on the principles of free expression? Well in this society, as it turns out, it's very easy. You threaten them.


Via Dutch blog Zacht Ei, news of a cartoon competition. Links from the story are NOT guaranteed work-friendly.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Seen this one:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4689314.stm

Nigerian MPs burn Denmark's flag.

lol, crazy world.