Bullies and Appeasers

15 04 2008

David Thompson has a great post on what the proper response to Islamic intimidation after publication of Mohammed Cartoons should’ve been. David finds some great quotes. This one is from Robert Tracinski:

The answer is to show that we’re all united in defying the fanatics. That’s what it means to show solidarity by re-publishing the cartoons. The message we need to send is: if you want to kill anyone who publishes those cartoons, or anyone who makes cartoons of Muhammad, then you’re going to have to kill us all. If you make war on one independent mind, you’re making war on all of us. And we’ll fight back…

This is the final lesson of the cartoon jihad. The real issue at stake is not just censorship versus freedom, but something much deeper: the need to recognise the real essence of the West. The distinctive power and vibrancy of our culture, the source of our liberty, our happiness, and our unprecedented prosperity, is our Enlightenment tradition of regard for the unfettered reasoning mind, left free to follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Another quote is from Salman Rushdie speaks of where the cowardly tactics of Western governments ultimately lead:

When people said they didn’t publish [the cartoons] out of respect for Muslims, what they meant is they didn’t publish them because they were afraid of their offices getting bombed. And when you create that kind of climate of fear, when you concede… you don’t as a result have less intimidation… As a result you have more intimidation…

[T]he question is how do you respond to intimidation, and do you give in to it or do you not give in to it. I think that when the intimidation became as heavy as it did, the only proper response was everybody should have published the cartoons the next day. And not to do that was a way of showing that threats work.

Which calls David to conclude:

It’s a strange, though common, logic that leads a person to believe handing over his lunch money will keep the bully from calling again.

How true…

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One response

10 12 2008
adam

I love how this analysis is entirely out of context.

Journalistic ethics states: Minimize harm.

It is not the job of the media to provoke any particular group of people unless it brings about some form of good. Offending a group of people, just because you don’t agree with their beliefs, does not do any good. It’s the same reason we don’t publish pornography in mainstream media.

How many fundamentalist Muslim fanatics do you think exist in the world?

100,000?

1,000,000?

Maybe, but there are 1,000,000,000 Muslims in the world.

What is the point of offending a billion people just to provoke (and in the end give public legitimacy) to one/tenth of a percent of its make up?

I’d like to see you give legitimate answers to these questions. But I’m sure you do one of two things: either ignore them and brush them off because they don’t fit with your worldview, or just change the subject.

Adam,

Thanks for your comment.

Journalists have no problem routinely offending Catholics, Born Again Christians, conservatives, Americans, leftists and just about any other group. In this context Muslims are treated very differently (Ever heard of Christianophobia or Yankophobia as equivalents of this terrible affliction called Islamophobia?). Sorry, but I don’t see much of a thought given to offence of Christians, for instance. What makes journalists so timid and sensitive when faced with Islam? You can dress it it in noble motives, but I suspect it has a fair bit to do with fear of being on the receiving end of the “Religion of Peace”. What journalist wants to end up like Theo Van Gough? There is also a fear of being ostracised by the rest of the profession who are oh-so enlightened and multicultural and hip with the whole Muslim thing. Muslim is the new Black, innit? Peer pressure is a powerful thing.

Islam is a very special religion. Its prophet was not just a religious figure but a statesman and a warrior. Mohammed killed people and fought wars. His followers can draw on his personal example to justify violence and murder. Jihadists may make up “one/tenth of a percent of its make up” today but you tell me how pretending they don’t exist for the fear of offending others helps anyone or prevents Jihadis from bullying other Muslims towards their murderous ideology?

It is often and rightly said that only Muslims themselves can reform Islam and defeat Jihadi ideology. But what Muslim would want to stick his or her neck out when no Western government or mainstream media outlet supports their fight? How can we stop Jihadist taking hold of Pakistan or Indonesia when we cannot even stop the spread of this murderous ideology through the mosques of Europe all in the name of tolerance and respect. Why should moderate Muslims face off with Jihadis when we in the West prefer to look the other way?

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