Tuesday, February 07, 2006

WTF Hamshahri?

Um, so in retaliation for European newspapers publishing and republishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, Iranian newspaper Hamshahri has announced a contest in which it will award a gold coin to each of a dozen cartoonists who produce the best cartoon lampooning the Holocaust and/or American and Israeli "crimes of aggression." Hamshari editors are already daring European newspapers to republish the winning cartoons when they appear.


So, on the one hand, there is a kind of logic to this: you publish offensive cartoons, we publish offensive cartoons. As long as nobody's setting other peoples' buildings on fire or beating people up, the Hamshahri contest falls under the header of free speech.

But, like the original Danish cartoons, it also falls under the header of stupid speech. It's especially dumb because the "you" who published the offensive cartoons that started all this was a Danish newspaper--not a Jewish newspaper, not Israel, and not America. So instead of it being "you do this, we do that," it's actually "they do this, we blame you."

If this kind of stuff didn't tend to lead to violence, it would just be amusingly childish.


At 11:05 AM , Blogger Ideasculptor said...

More to the point, it shows that they really don't understand their 'enemy.' Even if there wasn't an explicit challenge to not overreact, there is absolutely no way in hell any number of offensive cartoons are going to raise the kind of response that we've seen in the muslim world, especially the violence and threats of violence. Sure, individual jewish groups may complain, and even protest some, but it is highly unlikely that secular folks are going to care much, or that anyone is going to get violent over them. We'll see some newspaper editorials, and that's about it, at least until another muslim leader accuses us of 'cheating' because we knew we would be judged in advance of reacting. Of course, wave a challenge in anyone's face, and there's a near guarantee that they won't react, if only to prove the challenger wrong. The whole thing is beyond childish. Second graders already understand much of the psychology involved here.

Last time I checked, there are numerous neonazi groups that publish vicious anti-semitic, anti-african american, anti-native american content all the time. There's no need for some kind of challenge, since the evidence already exists and is easily verifiable.

Dumb. You'd think anyone smart enough to rise to a position of influence in a large population would have the intelligence to try a tactic with more potential for success. But then, I guess our own president is something of a counterexample to that argument, eh?


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