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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Danish paper prepares to publish a NEW set of controversial cartoons

Before I go much further with this post - an apology. I apologise for publishing a non 'Syrian' post. But I feel that this issue has affected Syria - and Damascus in particular - that it deserves mention.

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper has decided to publish a series of cartoons satirising the holocaust. When they published the Mohammed cartoons, they said they were doing it because they didn't believe they should respect any red lines, any self-censorship. And I agree. But I felt that they chose an easy, dangerous and racist stereotype to make their point.

Europe has its own red lines, Iranian newspaper Hamshari said, and so it would test their 'freedom of speech' argument by publishing a series of cartoons making light of the holocaust.

And now the Danish paper wants to publish them on the same day. And I support their decision to do so. It is easy to use your right to free speech when it only hurts a distant 'other'. But much more difficult, and uncomfortable when you challenge your own views.

It is vital for the paper to publish these new cartoons to show that they are not racist hypocrits, only willing to exert selective freedom of speech.

I know many people - moderate, liberal, tolerant Syrians, Europeans and Americans - are going to disagree with me, and disagree passionately. But I stand by this view, and I encourage you to disagree with me in the comments section.

This blog has always stood for freedom of expression ("I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy") and I defended the Danish paper's right to publish the Mohammed cartoons. I disagreed with their choice because I felt it was gratuitous and religiously stereotyped muslims as terrorists. I felt that their defence of freedom of speech was a thin veil for racism: especially because they chose not to publish a series of Jesus cartoons 'because of the widespread offence it would cause'.

Maybe their decision to publish the holocaust cartoons has been prompted by the revelation about the Jesus cartoons yesterday. But even so - well done to Jyllands-Posten for showing that freedom of expression does not only extend in one direction.

They have made their point. Let's hope that the holocaust cartoons are not replicated across Europe. Let's hope that this REALLY is the end of the argument.

As someone once said about themself: I'm not racist, I hate everyone.

It seems to me that neither the muslims or the jews want their issue to go away. In the end this cartoon situation may just be about chosing up sides for WWIII. Lets hope not.

I will never understand why people have to burn things down. I am against anyone that defames a religion, but I am for freedom of speech. I am a Chritian, but I respect every religion. Have they forgotten that all religions have the same goal. GOD. I have read the KORAN and it a very peaceful in it's writings. There are other ways to protest without violence.

When Christians are attcked we do not burn embassies. Yes they can say that the Crusades were brutal but that was over 1800 years ago and it is a time for forgiveness

I don't understand why this is a good thing. Why do we support hatred?

I don't support hatred under any circumstances. But for the newspaper to publish cartoons offensive to Jews would vindicate their argument that they were simply exercising their right to freedom of expression.

By rejecting cartoons offensive to Christians. And then rejecting cartoons offensive to Jews, all it proves is that they are prepared to defame ONLY Muslims.

For their freedom of speech argument to be their real justification, they must be willing to let any voice be heard, regardless of who it hurts.

But they aren't - they are only prepared to hurt Muslims. Calling it freedom of speech, a noble value, is a thin veil for racism.

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About me

  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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