Friday, February 03, 2006
I may detest what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it-- Voltaire.
If you want a closer look at them individually, you can do that at this site (hat tip to indyvoter).
Now, I find these cartoons, which first were published in a Danish newspaper last week and caricature the prophet Mohammed, pretty disgusting. Even though I am not a Muslim, I can understand why they are so angry at cartoons depicting, among others, Mohammed wearing a turbin which is shaped like a bomb. And that cartoon certainly does nothing to fight the image that all muslims are terrorists, or that Islam itself is a violent religion, which in general is not true. And they are not even good cartoons; they look kind of goofy and not very well drawn. So why am I publishing them on Deep Thought, where I have in the past been outspoken against prejudice and stereotyping?
I'm publishing them because as a defender of free speech, I feel an obligation to publish them. I'm publishing them because once a death sentence was issued by a bunch of fanatics, it became the right thing for defenders of freedom to do. I'm publishing them in solidarity with the people throughout Europe who have been threatened with death for publishing them. A fatwa, or declaration that those who publish these should be killed, has been issued. I find this kind of thing to be repulsive in the extreme. And so I believe that the best way to fight it is to publish them as far and wide as possible. Make it clear that a handful of cartoons that probably would not have made it far from the lunch counter in Copenhagen, absent the fatwa, have now been seen by people all over the world. In their rage, they defeat themselves.
I believe in freedom of speech, even for speech I deplore.
NOTE: Bloggers on the right have taken the lead in this here in the U.S.; Now, granted, it may be easier for someone who actually agrees with the point of the cartoons to post them, but if there is anything we should be able to agree with them on, it is free speech.