When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

05 February 2006

The cartoon riots

So, here I was, getting all set to write a long, thoughtful post on the carefully manipulated, trumped-up riots and protests currently spreading through the Muslim world based on some cartoons that originally ran in a Danish newspaper last September...

Muhammed drawing newspaper
Quite mild, all things considered.

But, as it turns out, one guy in the mainstream media (Tim Rutten, at the Los Angeles Times) and blogger and old friend Chap of Chapomatic have nicely and succinctly covered everything that I would've wanted to say anyway.

Here's Rutten, on the toxic double-standard currently in play in the West:
By week's end, papers and magazines across Europe had republished some or all of the cartoons in a gesture of solidarity with their Danish colleagues and in defense of their refusal to be intimidated out of free expression. Muslim outrage mounted. Palestinian gunmen surrounded the European Union mission in Gaza and others threatened to kidnap Westerners in reprisal. Violence spread and Western diplomats including Kofi Annan and the British foreign secretary began falling all over themselves to apologize for their news media's insensitivity.

All this would be slightly more edifying if it didn't reflect the destructive and dangerous double standard that the Western nations routinely observe when it comes to the government-controlled media in Islamic states. There the media is routinely rife with the vilest sort of hate directed at Jews and, less often, Christians. The "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" remain widely available in countries where nothing is published without government permission, and quotations from that infamous forgery are a staple of commentaries published across the Middle East. In recent years, government-owned television stations in Egypt and Syria have broadcast dramas that repeat the blood libel.

Where were the united and implacable Western demands for apologies?

Drawn into a religious conflict - Los Angeles Times

And then Chap homes right in perfectly on the pol-mil angle, taking Instapundit's analysis (that the "riots" are a carefully staged and manipulated projection of force by Islamists, created solely to frighten and intimidate) and observes:

One can take this farther. Assume the Newsweek flap-ex was a smaller scale test, and this current flap a second set of fires. You now may be able to know:

  • A path to actions re Syria, which directed the embassy burning
  • The flow of information and logistics (where did the flags come from? How did the information flow? How was it perverted by that imam in the Netherlands who added fake cartoons to stir the pot?
  • The character and limits of possible agitation
  • The beginning of effective counterfires.
New weapons systems are disruptive until the adversary reacts. We are that adversary, and we must be reacting by (1) connecting the dots to explain how the riots happened worldwide and (2) finding tools to affect the outcome, whether by attacking the root or stem of the logistics and information path.

Now who’s going to do that?

Chapomatic: Shows of Force
Excellent question. At least in terms of finding and pulling the strings to trace the manipulation of the "Muslim street," that sounds like a worthwhile blogging project; I don't think we'd better hold our breath for the mainstream media to go after that story--unless we look good in blue.

In the meantime, if you'd like to do something immediate and practical, Andrew Sullivan suggests that you go buy something Danish. (Hey, we're already ass-deep in Legos over here, but I'm sure we can come up with *something*.)

Update: There's already quite a fascinating string of comments on the cartoon graphic above posted at Flickr. Extra points to the outraged Muslim who addressed me as "Barny Fife" (sic) - terrific, if misspelled, North Carolina reference; you get an "A" in 20th Century American Pop Culture.


Muslim said...

I really was upset about the cartoons. Why make such cartoons when they are infactual and false?

If people really read about the prophet peace be upon him they would realise he was a mercy to mankind.

Moreover, as Muslims we aren't allowed to draw pictures of Prophets, furthermore, we aren't meant to disrespect someone elses religion. We respect all prophets, Moses, Abraham, Jesus, so why not respect our dear Prophet?

Judy said...

Something is going on here, besides genuine outrage. What the Muslim population should be up in arms about it the fact that their leaders and Imams think they can be so easily manipulated. I'm sure if we searched the archieves of many newspapers and magazines we would find articles that were inflammatory and insulting to Christians, Jews, and Muslims at different times, and yet no one staged riots over them.