Sunday, April 02, 2006

Revenge of the Cartoonists

After weeks of rioting, vandalism, bodily harm, threats, and outright murder, Egyptian cartoonists have finally gotten around to something resembling a proportionate response to the Jyllands-Posten cartoon contest: they've published they're own set of cartoons! In the interest of promoting free speech, I'm linking to them below.
We'd periodically checked out the online Arab press for a few years before this episode and had some familiarity with Middle Eastern cartooning themes; I'd say this selection is pretty typical of the style. What is discouraging to me (aside from the prepubescent "I know you are, but what am I?" attitude displayed by most of them and the relentless antisemitism) is the real lack of recognition that there just might be another side with valid objections to their ideology. The Jyllands-Posten cartoons tended to fall into three thematic categories:
1. Neutral. This includes plain or logo-style illustrations of the Prophet devoid of recognizable political or religious messages.
2. Cartoons deploring Islam &/or the Prophet's violent reputation, some of which were a little rough though no worse than what gets published in most newspapers on an average day.
3. Cartoons on the theme that launched the competition in the first place, namely, that Western members of the media are genuinely afraid of portraying the Prophet or Islam (sometimes even in neutral or positive terms) because of possible reprisals by the mercurial Muslim populace.

You be the judge; what I saw as I skimmed these cartoons was an awful lot of wound-licking and zero introspection. The Middle Eastern press could use a little training in self-loathing from its U. S. and U. K. counterparts: it's about time somebody besides the West mulled the question, "Why don't they like us?"

The Egyptian cartoons are posted on Sandmonkey

The Jyllands-Posten cartoons for anyone who still hasn't seen them or wants a refresher are posted at Zombietime's Jyllands-Posten page in the Mohammed Image Archive

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