Feb 7, 2006

CNN will not offend.

Recently a Danish newspaper ran satirical cartoons that blasted terrorists even going so far as to depict the prophet Mohammad in less than flattering situations. The Muslim community blasted the paper calling for boycotts and threats of violence. Bomb threats were called to the newspaper offices and mass protests were held burning the Dannebrog. Other European papers, in a show of solidarity, decided to reprint the cartoons. They wanted to make it clear to everyone that they will exercise free speech and will not be intimidated by any religious sects.

The story goes on as Iranian leadership ordered all businesses to stop importing Danish goods. More protests still go on and even some were killed outside Danish embassies in Persian and Arab nations.

I actually salute the European newspapers for not allowing themselves to perpetuate a culture of fear. They should always take the side of free speech before allowing themselves to be harassed by intellectual cowards. CNN; however, will no longer offend Muslims.

Yes the Ted Turner owned network has stated that they will not reprint the cartoons out of respect for Islam, or so they claim. I can imagine the board meeting behind this decision:

Editor: People shall we print these cartoons? I mean really we must be sensitive to religion as we've always been.
Journalist: Hell no. We admire all religions. We will never print something that may offend people. It's just not worth it.

My ass. They made the understandable decision to turn tail. Rather than risk their journalists being kicked out of Muslim theocratic nations and face a possible call of boycott in a growing market, they decided not to print the cartoons out of fear and not out of respect for Islam.

If they had such respect for religion they would never have printed Piss Christ or Chris Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary. Then again they would never have to fear the Vatican calling for death warrants for them. (Although I do think it crossed some cardinals' minds.)

I was curious about the cartoons so I went to another source to view them. I understand that it is blasphemous to depict the prophet Mohammad, but free speech must prevail. Anyone who calls for violence or censorship of this nature has no place in civilized society.

"The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome." - Winston Churchill

"CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam." - CNN

Fresh rioting in cartoon protests

1 comment:

Chitney said...

Big issue lately!

Here are my thoughts:

Though I don't agree with the violent insurgence, I think there is a much bigger issue at stake here. For some reason, people are blinded by the "blasphemous cartoons" and aren't examining true problem. This level of reactionary aggression is clearly rooted not in a few caricatures, but in Europe's general clime of intolerance. That is, European nations aren't quite as culturally sensitive or accepting as North America (in particular Canada), perfecting the concept of "othering" to the point of severe oppression. The cartoons were merely the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

For example, currently in Paris, Islamic women live in fear of being murdered, raped, or brutalized in horrible acts of "honour killing/retaliation" by their male counterparts. Yet Parisian police do nothing to stop this ongoing atrocity. In contrast, ONE such incident happened to a Canadian girl a few years back, and there was national outcry on her behalf. Recently, her father who killed her has been brought to justice.

Furthermore, Parisian schools have banned all religious gear in a sweeping act of secularism, and for what? Oppression is the only word that comes to mind. Seriously. In Toronto, our 180+ cultures and countless religions co-exist in harmony--and nothing of gut-wrenching ignorance has ever been an issue here. Hell, we even deported white supremacist Ernst Zundel. Nice. Culture, religion, and diversity are taught to our kids from kindergarten, and reinforced in our school systems and communities throughout their lives. I think that's a huge factor in really living freely and harmoniously.

In short, a country/city that is truly "liberated" and respectful of other cultures wouldn't print "blasphemous" crap about ANY religion or culture to begin with. Any and all such press only serves to promote ignorance and a negative approach to one another as fellow human beings. Actually, Canadian law even states that we have freedom of speech as long as it doesn't promote hatred. Which may be why we don't ever see cartoons of the Danish calibre in our papers. If respect for diversity was also rooted in the laws of other countries, I think a lot of simmering resentment from the marginalized could be avoided.

Thanks for listening! I think I'll post this rant on my blog. :)