The relevance of the Cartoons to NI…

As Gonzo mentioned earlier this morning, the Blanket is majoring on the Cartoons controversy, and going to some lengths to dig into the context for the international discussion that it seems is only now settling in Northern Ireland. From early discussion on Gonzo’s thread it seems the decision may unite some unusual allies in Northern Irish debate. However, arguably the best grounding of this controversial ball, is Mark Kerr (who often signs himself in as the Stray Taoist these days). In particular:

Allegiances by birth, unquestioned and unquestioning, never advance anyone’s causes. Unthinking adherence to one viewpoint your entire life seems insane to me. Unthinking opposition to themmuns on no other grounds than because it is themmuns is cowardly and, well, just plain unthinking. But it seems to be a common denominator in what we can euphemistically call trouble spots around the world. Herd mentality, backed by generations of reinforcement. Where intrinsic opposition to the perceived enemy is elevated to lifestyle. Where colours are appropriated for sectarian ends, where projection onto other struggles legitimises contact. Symbols and emblems to hide behind. Hatred fed with mother’s milk. Easy to see in the riots recently in Dublin to the AK-47 wielding protests in the Middle East.

Stop. Despite the differences in freedoms and outlooks, the cartoon reaction out there isn’t that an alien reaction, and us over here have been watching it in our own backyard for years, without even realising it. We have looked away from the denial of our own freedom of expression, and been aghast at the extreme reaction to some silly drawings from continental Europe. Offended? Me? You better believe it. Offended by the thought that people demand protection of their own sacred cows. Offended by those whose speak of freedom and repress their own. Offended that there is pandering to those who practice both. Offended that I even have to write this piece.

  • Gosh, I am chuffed. 🙂 Cheers, Mick.

  • Harry Flashman

    Lord luvaduck! I just read the statement condemning the publication of the Mo-toons by Barbara Muldoon of the Anti-Racist Network, Jee-zus, you couldn’t spin the issue in completely the opposite way if you tried.

    There is racism in this story, very clear racism, and it is directed against a peaceful race of people who inhabit a small country in northern Europe, they are called the Danes. This race of people have been insulted and threatened with mass murder by a group of anti-semitic, woman hating, homophobic, religious fanatics who have murdered dozens of people around the world over this manufactured controversy. Particularly so in Nigeria where the cartoon controversy has been used as an excuse to murder people of a different race because they happened to be Christians also. In my day this was called racism pure and simple or has the Anti Racism Network redefined the term racism?

    Memo to the ARN:-

    Islam – unlike the Danish people – is not a race, got that? NOT A RACE, it’s a religion. Just the same as Catholicism is a religion and not a race. So to lampoon Islam is just the same as to lampoon Catholicism, it’s an attack on a political-religious belief system and not on a particular race. However when you threaten to behead Danes of whatever political or religious viewpoint they might have simply because they are Danes then that is racism – real actual racism, got that?

    As yeez would say yerselves – NO EXCUSES!

    – Harry Flashman –

  • Leonard

    Perhaps one day the author of this “unthinking” rant will learn the reality of cause and effect. He may even discover that there are political realities that transcend “herd mentalities” as the actual the cause of “trouble spots.” He may learn that Palestinians, for example, have legitimate political grievances; he may learn that they were displaced from the land by violent force. He may learn that invading Islamic countries and butchering their citizens in vast numbers with any remorse has provoked a violent backlash from those who tend to object to such practices by any means possible. He may even learn that the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq has been the direct cause of an escalation in the scale of international reprisals (terrorism). Then he may “think” that cause and effect is the actuality; and not seek the solace of fools in the “unthinking” notion that the effect is merely something that has lain dormant in the Koran until stirred by the “mob.”

  • Harry Flashman

    Not sure if Leonard is having a go at me, but rest assured there is nothing unthinking about my “rant” as you call it. I am a huge believer in the Enlightenment mate and I take people as I find them, when people behead schoolgirls or stone homosexuals to death I don’t look for root causes. I condemn them there and then as I happen believe very firmly in the notion of individual responsibility as do most of my very good Muslim friends too by the way who loathe the Islamofascists even more than I do.

    On a few of your points however, yes the Palestinians do have legitimate political grievances and when they stop sending teenage girls into Pizza joints to blow themselves up or sending in emotionally unbalanced women into hospitals to blow up the doctors who have been treating her then the Palestinian cause might get regarded as a noble cause rather than a suicide cult.

    Th government of Afghanistan colluded in a direct attack on US soil which left thousands dead, that was an act of war and the US was perfectly justified in responding. In doing so the Americans liberated millions of Afghans who were living under a mediaeval terroristic regime. Those same terrorist fanatics recently beheaded a schoolmaster in front of his pupils for having the effrontery to educate girls. I know what side I’m on in that struggle, whose side are you on?

    As to Iraq, yes Muslims are being butchered, daily, but guess what? It ain’t the Yanks who are doing the butchering, it’s the Islamist fanatics. Odd that you seem to sympathise with these butchering scumbuckets, what’s wrong with you don’t you like Muslims or something?

  • RmC

    Just to add to the above post. There’s been so much sophism out there since this thing blew up.

    It’s the usual guff like Milosovic was fond of spouting during his trial. It all sounds so plausible, until you stand back and look at the real situation.

    Which is this: There’s a bunch of intolerant people out there who are trying to mould the world in their own intolerant image. They want to turn back 200 years of European Enlightenment, and tell us that their primitive patriarchal system is as valid as ours.

    No, it isn’t.

    The tragedy is that the usual suspects are queuing up to express their “understanding”. Mary McAleese saying sorry to the Saudis, that the Danes were wrong. That’s like apologizing to Attila the Hun for Cicero’s poor grammar.

    Let us PLEASE have no more bleeding hearts (or bleedin’ idiots if you like) throwing sophistry in our faces.

    Good on the Blanket!


  • heck

    3 cheers for the blanket. At least they stand for something.


  • wild turkey


    ‘He may even discover that there are political realities that transcend “herd mentalities” as the actual the cause of “trouble spots.’

    right on, there are historical political realities that transcend herd mentalities. These include Danish resitance to german occupation and the behaviour of individual danes in protecting jews during WWII.

    back to the current issue.

    why the shitstorm over cartoons but nothing comparable on Abu Ghraib and Gitmo?

    a mullah has offered $1 million and a car as a bribe for the murder of “the cartoonist.” if i find this offensive, can i torch his mosque?

    this situation has little to do with racism but a lot to do with intolerance. seems fundamentalist sky-god religion rather political realities is the primary motivating force here.

    harry flash, heck and rmc and leonard. u might want to check out article in slate mag by hitchens. link below ( if it works)

  • We’ve been covering this on Samizdata as well and are strongly supportive of the Danes against the forces of darkness and barbarism.

  • *cough*

  • RmcC

    Whoever it was posted that link to the slate, many thanks. Christopher Hitchens makes the case more eloquently than most.

    This part was on the money:

    “And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let’s be sure we haven’t hurt the vandals’ feelings.”

    He’s organizing a rally outside the Danish embassy in Washington. I wonder how much support a similar protest in Dublin or London would get.