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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Dirty Dozen (Plus Another Two)

Moved on! Check TheCairoCalls

I have been quite tight lipped about the whole “Boycott the Denmark” thing. Everything has been said, and I felt that I had nothing more to contribute to the subject. And frankly, at some level I felt that I wasn’t quite sure of where my stance is. This has been one of those stinking situations, where not only the two sides are in fault, but worse, you are expected by everybody to take a side. Also, I really think that the worst thing one could do is to try to reason things out when tempers are raging, as they have been for every side of the argument (read the comments on this).
Here is the 10 seconds summary of the whole issue: A Danish newspaper publishes 12 caricatures of prophet Mohammed in an effort to test Muslim tolerance, some people fret about it, but all in all the matter passes peacefully. A month and a half later, out of the blue sky, the issue is raised again, Arabic governments lead the calls for an apology from the Danish government, the Danish PM says they won’t apologize because they simply didn’t do anything; it was a private entity entitled to free speech that published the cartoons, and they are the ones who should be addressed, hell breaks loose, every body is calling for a boycott of Danish products, the movement is stronger in the gulf, but has considerable following elsewhere, a Norwegian newspaper publishes the cartoons, nobody takes notice, calls for targeting Danish targets everywhere in the world fills the internet, Arab government are giggling in closed rooms, and angrily urging the Danish government to punish those responsible in public, the newspaper apologize, nobody gives a damn, the Norwegian government apologize, nobody cares, a church is bombed in Iraq, some Danes are beaten in Saudi Arabia, and some people are preparing themselves for the end of the world. (Well, that was a little bit more than 10 seconds)
Only with us (Arabs) a sentence can start with “12 caricatures” and end with “the end of the world”. You get the idea?
I am not going to start pointing fingers at people, for the simple reason that I hate playing God. Even from a religious perspective it doesn’t make any sense, for the simple fact that everybody (absolutely everybody) has the option of repenting even as his soul is leaving his body, and everybody else has a whole life ahead of him, during which he can do all kinds of sins. So if I think that I am religiously right and that somebody else is Kafir, infidel, or whatever they’re calling them those days, it can very easily happen that we switch places at the very last moment. So you know, there isn’t one point in life when it is appropriate to judge the righteousness of anybody else. QED
But what’s more important, I guess, is how the whole thing oscillated. I might seem every bit of a conspiracy theorist now, but bear with me. I think that the whole thing is a result of an unholy, unspoken alliance between the forces of political Islam, and the Arabic, secular governments.
It is easy; it goes like this:
Islamists want to rise to power. They try violence but they discover that they’re playing the military-governments’ favorite pastime, so they retreat. They start directing their efforts at the grassroots. They condemn violence, because it didn’t go well with the masses. They know that we’re people who believe that “El Nearafo Ahsan Men El Meanrafosh” (what we know is better than what we don’t), so they don’t try to clash with the existing governments, because they know that people would prefer what they know rather than experimenting with anything new. Also, they have no real solutions to any problems the people are facing in their life, so they, in the manner of every good politician who doesn’t have the solution to a certain problem, invent another one and try to solve it. So they go “forget about life, let’s focus on death”. And then they go on with the very largest implementation of the “carrot and the stick” technique in history. In every satellite channel, sits a sheikh (not even an approved or educated one) who speaks about paradise and another one who speaks about hell. In every cassette, book, email, website, and sms message, the same occurs; paradise is promised to those who do so and so, while hell is promised to those who won’t. After a while the people are conditioned to think of the world as a two-way street (paradise and hell, righteous and infidel, halal and haram, us and THEM). And this way, the mission becomes much easier for radicals (some help from divisive, enraging, polarizing westerners won’t harm either). All they had to do now was to get into the political scene and tell people you’re either with us or against us. You’re either with the righteous, or the infidels. You’re either with the right, or the wrong, etc…I guess you all know what the choice would be. The Egyptian parliamentary elections are the best example. A movement with no real plan to do anything (at least none that any of us know about) is now controlling 20% of the parliament (not that the other 80% are any credible, but at least we know how they came)
So, this is the radicals part, what about the “secular” governments?
After years and years of practice, they finally understood that politics are moved by what people want, not what they want. Unluckily for us (or luckily, I can’t make my mind on this yet) they became aware to the fact a bit late. They missed the needs for democracy, reform, proper education, clean streets, inhabitable cities, efficient governments, etc, etc…and only caught on when people, disillusioned by the hopelessness of their conditions, were demanding religious salvation. Not to be outdone by radical religious groups, the Arabic governments went in full force trying to appear as the defenders of Islamic faith. They agitated people and were the first to demand the unreasonable apology of the Danish state! (On several occasion, Mubarak was asked by the Israeli government to apologize for what the Egyptian newspapers were saying against Israel, which is stupid—demanding apology, and he responded by saying that we have free press and they have every right to write whatever they want…fair enough….so why demand it from Denmark who has real free press!)
And so, for the very first time, through their mutual greed for power, the “secular” governments and the “islamist” groups find themselves in the same camp. It is only a pity that what they’re fighting is tolerance, acceptance, art, writing, freedom, fun, civil discourse, books, good times, and life. And as for people? They’re finding themselves between a rock and a hard place; they have to either follow suit or burn eternally in hell. Combine that with chronicle cases of inferiority complex, and paranoia, and you have a really explosive cocktail!

P.S. You came here looking for my opinion on what should have been done in the Denmark case? Well, here it is: sue the hell out of the newspaper, if you can take them down playing with their own rules, nobody else would dare do such an outrageous act. It would be clean, civilized, elegant, devastating, and to the point. You won’t be asking for the enmity of a whole country, and you’d have made your point in a very clear manner; money!
Why do I think that should have been done? Because I know that any attempt to speak about tolerance now would fail miserably, and frankly—as much as I hate lawyers—I am willing to put up with a thousand of them, rather than hearing a single death threat thrown around so easily.

update: I have a suggestion to end this raw. Check it out here.

Moved on!


Hey man, that's what I have been saying. get the lawyers involved. get that money son. But noo, nasret el rassol, el moqata3ah, death threats, bombs, blah blah blah ekhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I urge you to buy danish movement, because you know what? Egyptian companies import this stuff. Egyptian workers work in those factories. Let alone that muslims who live in denmark are about to face a very rough couple of months if this doesn't stop escelating.

So, for their sake, and for the sake of those cute danish cows, buy danish!

By Blogger The Sandmonkey, at February 01, 2006 4:51 PM  

well...i can hear you...but there is something you have to take into consideration, which is "mob mentality"...
what i mean is when people are over agitated as is the situation now, you dont just go in front of them and shock them with ur opinion (which might be quite reasonable)...but rather to cool things down...appease the different sides, then educate them to what should have been done, so that we won't fall for it another time...(do you remember the abdelkarim thing a couple of months ago...thats the same all over again although on an international level)...
win the ppl...then educate them...it doesn't go the other way around

By Blogger Tomanbay, at February 01, 2006 5:04 PM  

so do we know anything about danish law? does it actually have clauses against hate speech?

assuming you can convince a judge it was hate speech to begin with.

you see in some countries you are legally allowed to publish such cartoons and no court of law will be able to do anything about it.

By Anonymous Alaa, at February 01, 2006 9:05 PM  

Denmark has "hate"-laws and it was tried in court but dismissed as there was no case.

By Blogger TomZ_Am, at February 01, 2006 9:22 PM  

Well, we don't and thats the whole point!
Most probably a judge won't rule in favor just for a cartoon...but maybe for incuating hate against followers of other religions...most European countries would be sensitive to those issues, especially that there are a lot of precedents with jews in that regard...off course i am saying that this should've been done...now the thing moved to 3end phase; so i think it would be much harder to get a ruling...but here is a bit of news: Arla, the Danish food manfacturer is actually suing the newspaper for damages, so, you know, I guess this can work out after all

By Blogger Tomanbay, at February 01, 2006 9:23 PM  

i agree with your opinion there Tomanbay. Even if the boycott triggered more 3end about the cartoons, now they know that there are a bit of a limit or boundaries to which such stupid irresponsibility use of freedom of expression have to stop. The same way they know there are things about Jews or others that they cant talk about. My point is, on the long run, they will think again and again before they take steps to such offenses.

By Blogger Jimmy, at February 02, 2006 3:08 AM  

although you're agreeing with me, I think you're missing the point....who are "they" that you're talking about??
Cartoonists, Danish People, the west??? Why do we have to group people in such large groups??? For me, it is the guy who drew 2 of the 12 cartoons that I have an issue with, not even all the cartoonists, and certainly not all the Danish people!!

By Blogger Tomanbay, at February 02, 2006 3:15 AM  

Ok. Can Muslims stop. Start thinking about the reasons behind all this, think for a sec, why the hell that guy decided to provoke, why most european countries followed suit (Germany, Spain, France to name a few) and so on....By God he is obviously PISSED, yes the freakin editor, why??Coz all he and most other Europeans see coming out of Islam is well, highly related to blood, in diplomatic terms...Now how do we work on fixing our inner misfortunes, well, we need a pope, first of all or some fuck resembling a unified moderate leadership, coz by God ur in for somethin tryin to reform 1 Billion + people...nyway this whole thing just made me pissed, thinkin of the magnitude of it, pathetic...nyway tomanbay buddy ive linked u on me shitty blog;)heh later....

By Blogger Deltron Blonde, at February 02, 2006 1:12 PM  

well said blondie (here are words I thought I'll never say!!) but really it is so weird that you spoke about an issue that I am writing about right now...which is the absence of moderate leadership...
this had been El-Azhar...and the radicals knew it, thats why they tried to undermine the grand sheikh, first on the bank interest thing, and then picking on him for his remarks to the Danish minister, and all this talk about how he is a government agent, and hypocrat and all...
u were right on, well done...check here in a couple of hours for more about that...

By Blogger Tomanbay, at February 02, 2006 2:00 PM  

One thing I have been wondering. There are fifteen cartoons, the twelve that were actually printed in J-P, and three FORGERIES that were apparently concocted by Abu Laban, the Danish imam to further stir things up. (These are the really offensive ones, the pedophile, the dog, and the pig-face one.)

Now I wonder how much the differences in response are being caused because people are tlaking about different things. Had the forgeries actually been printed, then I would understand the outrage better. Because they were not, people in the West are highly puzzled at the claims of the prophet being insulted by what were fairly banal cartoons.

Do you know if the three forgeries were in fact being seen in Egypt, and if it is their vileness that is causing much of the complaints. (I know Abu Laban himself can't come to Egypt, but he could still have seen they were circulated there.)

By Blogger Prup (aka Jim Benton), at February 22, 2006 4:32 AM  

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