Thursday, February 9, 2006

Cartoon protests

A few things that I think haven't been mentioned enough in this insanity over the Danish cartoons.

1) Arab newspapers often print hateful, bigoted depictions of Israelis and Jews, comparing Zionism to Nazism, and generally being horrible and offensive. How many Iranian embassies have been burned by angry Jews? Beyond that, how much coverage does the regular and constant anti-Jewish, anti-Israel indoctrination in Arab countries get? Not much, that I can see.

2) A lot of otherwise sensible people have been talking about the free speech rights of both the newspaper and the protesters. I agree that the newspaper had the right to publish the cartoons, and that people have a right to be offended. But that offense cannot and should not justify criminal acts of violence. These extremists, and there seem to be a disturbing number of them in Arab countries, have no conception of free speech, and don't understand that when they demand that these newspapers be shut down for printing the cartoons, they're demanding something that would break a fundamental principle of free democracies.

3) When the hell are we, the 15th century? How is it that in a technological age of science and reason, we still have religious fanatacism threatening to destroy the very fabric of society? Can someone please explain this to me? Yes, it has a lot to do with the anti-democratic and oppressive nature of many Arab governments and their often undereducated populaces. But in our own country, we have religious fanatics foaming at the mouth also. Pat Robertson, Fred Phelps, etc. And we're theoretically one of the most technologically advanced, well-educated societies in the world. So where the heck is all of this coming from?