Thursday, February 09, 2006

Don't have a cow, man

I wonder if this post title will offend certain religions who see cows as sacred creatures: cartoon Bart Simpson's infamous retort about not getting overly stressed out over something. Which is a rather ingenius segue into the content of this post: the Islamic demonstrations after the publication in European print mediums of 'offensive' cartoons; damaging the holy image of Mohammed, their God.

Since the publications, the Islamic protesters haven't helped their image in this country by marching through the capital carrying placards proclaiming: "Behead those who insult Islam". Lord knows that's all the Sun readership need to be persuaded to sign petitions about taking away Asylum Seeker rights and whatnot. I think these Islamic radicals wandering through London have overestimated the effect, certainly the intent, of the pubished cartoons. Would they have really been published as anything other than cartoons, when this is the reaction they get? Quite dryly, a leading Irag newspaper announced today that it is setting up a competetion for anyone to enter; drawing cartoons about the Holocaust. Quite what this tit-for-tat game will achieve is not clear. When it comes from the Holocaust though, it seems that Kate Winslet's (Extras) opinion on it would be appropriate: "We get it, it was grim, let's move on."

However, those who are hysterically outraged at the extremity of the Islamic protests would do well to take a balanced viewpoint. Sure, no one can go around freely announcing all Europe's impending decapitation. But simply saying 'That's too extreme, they can't do that' is too biased. From an Islamic point of view, publishing cartoons caricaturing their God is something that wouldn't even be dreamed up in Islamic countries. There's always another side. Incitement to terorrism, as an effect of the protests, is something more major than a 'jokey' cartoon, surely? But a cartoon to you or me is someone else's call to arms. Reluctance on both sides to negotiate, apologise or stand down from the conflict isn't helping. But each side is in the wrong to the other, so diffusing the situation before it comes to a head is the crucial next step needed, quickly.

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