Well, dear readers, it has been a while. Since my last posting about my illness, I have indeed recovered almost completely, but my time has been absorbed with catching up on missed school work and major bouts of studying. I have reached a period with a little breathing room, thus, I blog. Many things to comment upon, so I will start with the Muhammed Cartoon Saga:
I'm not going to go into great detail on this issue, but I will say that while I am not one to want to promote the offense of any group of people, I must come down firmly on the side of the newspapers on this one. Offensive? Sure, I understand why Muslims would find several of the images offensive. Irresponsible of the offending newspapers to purposefully run the cartoons knowing that it would stir up trouble? Probably (though I am sure no one would have predicted the extent to which this debacle has elevated). But they do indeed have the right to do it. It's fundemental to the concept of fredom of speech. And in the grand scheme of things, they're not THAT horribly offensive. Click HERE to actually see the cartoons. (Be aware that the site hosting them can get a little obnoxious, though to his defense he hasn't burned any consulates down to the ground.)
Of course, the "offense" is only part of the issue, the other being the simple fact that an image of Muhammed was created at all. To those who call for beheadings and such, I have this to say: to understand another culture and respect it in co-existence is one thing. If we are to respect Islam, the norms of other cultures should be at least tolerated, if not approved of. To expect people to follow your rules even when they don't adhere to your belief system is quite another. (This could go for many groups of people, some in the US, by the way. Happy Holidays!! But I digress...) Simplistic, yes, but it really is at the crux of the matter.
With that being said, the newspapers who printed this are not spokesmen for the Governments of there respective nations, and it seems that this is a simple, obvious point that many in the Islamic community refuse to acknowledge. The press may indeed be a governemnt mouthpiece in many of the Midddle Eastern countries, but this doesn't change the fact that it is different for many democratic nations. I respect the government of Denmark for refusing to alter the reality of the situation in order to appease the cries for a full-fledged apology for DENMARK printing the cartoons. The sovereign country did not. And I ADAMANTLY hope that the EU doesn't apologize becasue they had nothing to do with the whole deal, and an apology would be setting a dangerous precedent.
Perhaps it is my cynical nature, but I fear that this is the other side of the globalization coin. We may find a "common language" in the flow of capital (which is in itself debatable), but the speed of media and the increased contact allowed in the modern world has created new ways for opposing cultures to face-off in conflict, whether it be a war of words or a war of guns. I hope this settles down sooner than later, but couple this with a history of often off-the-mark Western foreign policies, the victory of Hamas, and Iran's increasingly combative stance on EVERYTHING, and I think it's going to get much worse before it gets better.
Do I think Muslims are crazy? No, I don't. But SOME of them are. Some Christians are crazy, too. And i think in regions where there exists poverty, instability, and poorly educated citizenry, you will find a population easily influenced to rise against any target that can be construed, correctly or not, as a potential threat.
As per usual, Gashwin has some very good remarks on the whole ordeal.