Powered by WebAds

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cartoon Riots

I can't imagine that anyone is finding these riots so shocking. I mean, there is a historical precedent for this kind of behavior:

I remember well the scores of rioting robed choir and altar boys burning flags and shooting firearms outside the Brooklyn museum during the Sensation show, which featured Chris Ofili's depiction of the Virgin Mary with dung smeared on it. The culmination of the violence of that day was when a group of bishops proceeded to smash the windows of local storefronts, and then watched (and in some cases joined in) as masses of seminarians, priests, and pastors looted and vandalized the stores' merchandise. Who can forget the famed photograph of an archbishop running out of Century 21 with stacks of sneakers and blue jeans? A seminal image of that time in history.

And what about the wild groups of Catholic students who stampeded, killing three, during a protest at the Australian museum that exhibited Anthony Serrano's Piss Christ - a photo of a plastic crucifix suspended in a vial of urine? Things really got out of control when a small group of girls in short pleated skirts and knee socks torched some cars and a public bus, causing a team of Australian police constables to come after the teens in full riot regalia.

And most recently, I recall the hordes of Ultra-Orthodox who, during a violent protest, attempted to storm the London museum that was running a show displaying virulently anti-Semitic cartoons . There were scores of injuries, and even more arrests. I vividly remember the footage, caught on amateur video and widely run on national and international news outlets, of a pale, thin talmudic student in a black suit and hat, scaling a two-story building to get at a flagpole where the British flag was flying. Before he was apprehended and restrained by police, he managed to touch the corner of the flag with a cigarette he had been chain-smoking, causing the flag to go up in flames. The crowds of Yeshiva students went wild at the sight, and howls of approval that sounded like "Shkoyach Moyshe!" resounded from them at the sight of the burning flag.

Obviously, none of these happened. Nor would we expect them to. So why is this kind behavior in any way being treated as some sort of rational discourse on the merits of printing anti-Islamic cartoons? Whether or not it is acceptable to do so, this kind of action should be a non-starter when it comes to this kind of discussion. Nuts.

24 Comments:

Blogger Jewboy said...

The world sees the Muslims' true colors, but doesn't seem to realize what we already know: These people are absolute animals.

9:17 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

Glad I'm not the only one who considered paralleled incidents (though still of a much lesser magnitude). The severity of riots in south central Los Angeles is of more comparable nature, except they were in response to the verdict in the case of a beating which was a sorley different provocation than a cartoon, or a statue. The underlying theme here is that all of the reactions to things which are blasphemous in the name of god are in actuality a greater perversion of the respective religion and g-d's name.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol. great imagery.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read in history books that the Christians in Europe used to make pogroms over alleged desecration of the Host by Jews. Not only were we christ killers but we were cookie killers.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and the president of Iran is already claiming that the cartoons are an Israeli conspiracy. How kooky is that?

10:15 AM  
Anonymous J said...

I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that American Judaism and Christianity are far more "westernized" religions that radicalized Islam is right now. Westernized in the sense of some sort of tolerance for other views, etc...

In the middle ages (and even more recently) though, I don't think the reactions of the average Christian would have been that different that the Islamists of today. Many of the pogroms, riots, etc... were started by rumors of "desecration of the host" or other similar situations that the Christians of today would find absurd.

And please, don’t get me started on Judaism. Throwing rocks at people who offend your views by not observing a religion they don’t believe in?! I mean, what’s more absurd than that.

I’m not blaming anyone, its just that there just was no concept of pluralism and respect for other views until very recently.

It's mostly a matter of perspective. If an individual thinks that their religion is the correct one, and other that points of view are definitely incorrect there is no room for tolerance. The correct response in those individuals’ eyes would be to vigorously "defend" it, anyway possible. I’m not saying the reaction of the Muslims in Europe was the correct one. It definitely wasn’t in my eyes. But in the eyes of people coming from a radically skewed perspective it definitely was.

Now, what the western countries are going to do about this problem is another thing. It indeed is difficult to live with a population of people who believe single-mindedly in their own views. And, it is also imperative that the Western countries try to impart their view into the Islamic world. Otherwise, it seems like this is just part of the beginning.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

My thoughts exactly, they've done horrible things for much less, why the surprise that they react so violently now?
I guess it wa s a first for the Danish.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J- i could not disagree with you more. first of all, if you actually read medieval rabbinic literature you will see a tremendous amount of "physical tolerance" for non-believers etc. Intellectual tolerance, is of course another matter altogether. However, the notion that anyone who firmly and unambiguously believes in their point of view must willy-nilly be a radical and dangerous fundamentalist prone to violence is a liberal canard and frankly offensive to people of faith.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous J said...

My point wasn't that someone who unambiguously believes something equals a crazy fundamentalist, but that someone like that who does not have a bit of western sensibility mixed in (like a propensity for tolerance among other things) and has the power or numbers to accomplish things is a nasty combination.

1:28 PM  
Blogger StepIma said...

I think that's a really good analogy.

So many of the "rational" responses to these cartoons have started with "Well, how would you feel if..." and immediately moved to excusing the violent behavior -- rather than making the distinction between the way civilized people (and I know it's a loaded word) register their disapproval at being offended, and resorting to violence.

The fact that many of the more civilized, rational fundamentalists (and it is very hard for me not to put quotation marks around those adjectives) are registering their nonviolent disapproval by making highly offensive cartoons against Jews -- who have nothing at all to do with the original cartoons -- is still really hard for me to wrap my head around. There is such an absence of sanity in this whole problem that it truly defies belief.

I understand wholly how those cartoons could be considered offensive in the first place. But what's going on now is insane. Where are the intelligent, moderate Islamic voices? This isn't a knee-jerk issue like Israel, where you can't expect to see two sides because the Arab press and history is so poisoned... I just can't believe what I'm seeing every day...

1:29 PM  
Anonymous charliehall said...

Christians insult Muslims and Jews get blamed. What a world we live in!

For an example of an prominent anti-fundamentalist Muslim, check out http://www.gusdur.net. He is the former President of Indonesia and before then was the head of the largest Muslim organization in the world. But he doesn't have the money the Saudis have, so his message doesn't get widely disseminated. Hopefully we will be hearing from him soon on this issue.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Ger Tzadik said...

Your imagery is priceless OrthoMom! There's so much resentment and anger in the Arab Muslim (Note how no embassies are burning in Indonesia)world that this kind of boilover should be expected by now. The leaders of most of these countries do an excellent job of turning the anger from neglect and poverty outwards to protect themselves.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On ABC's Good Morning America, Charlie Gibson interviewed some Muslim Iman, and Gibson asked him "doesn't the Muslim world see the hypocracy? In the Muslim countries, they have newspaper after newspaper with cartoons depicting Jews in a most nasty form, and that is ok? And Muslims kill and behead innocent people,
but one cartoon of Mohammed and these riots are ok?"
The iman tried to explain it away by saying that muslims do not make fun of jesus, or of Moses, and that is why making fun of Mohammed is off limits. He also went on to say the usual "not all muslims agree with the violence it's against their religion". There were 180 Muslim leaders who met in July and came out against this type of violence. Unfortunately Gibson didn't ask him where are all these "leaders" now?!?!?

2:23 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

scary pics here

http://muqata.blogspot.com/2006/02/insane-islamic-hatred.html

5:04 PM  
Anonymous REReader said...

If there's any silver lining to all this, at least now European governments have some visceral understanding of the problem of Islamic fundamentalism. Not that it's likely to change their position on Israel, but I suppose it's possible...

5:44 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"...at least now European governments have some visceral understanding..."

yeah, yeah, yeah....that's what people said after 9/11. If you don't want to learn, you won't learn.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous REReader said...

9/11 was way over here. (Whereas earlier terrorism was way over there, so the US didn't get it.) The riots are right there.

In any case, as I said, I don't suppose it's likely, just possible. I mean, if someone actually punches you in the stomach it has more of an effect that if someone punches a perfect stranger in the stomach, especially if the perfect stranger lives on a different continent.

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There were scores of injuries, and even more arrests. I vividly remember the footage, caught on amateur video and widely run on national and international news outlets, of a pale, thin talmudic student in a black suit and hat, scaling a two-story building to get at a flagpole where the British flag was flying. Before he was apprehended and restrained by police, he managed to touch the corner of the flag with a cigarette he had been chain-smoking, causing the flag to go up in flames. The crowds of Yeshiva students went wild at the sight, and howls of approval that sounded like "Shkoyach Moyshe!" resounded from them at the sight of the burning flag.
"


Priceless, mom. totally priceless.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Wow, this seemed so real that I was scratching my head, trying to figure out why I couldn't remember any of these incidents. After all, I was living in Brooklyn at the time of the Sensations exhibit.

Wow-- so I'm not actually losing my memory.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

Actually, I can recall that just recently, when the Israeli government tried to enforce Israeli law on a bunch of Orthodox Jews illegally occupying an "outpost" in the West Bank, said orthodox Jews reacted very violently.

Muslims aren't the only crazy religious people in the world.

1:31 PM  
Anonymous flag trivia said...

I am trying to find information about how families use flags around their home. I am especially interested in flags that might be passed down from generation to generation. That is how I found your post on Blogger.
Thanks�flag trivia

4:40 PM  
Anonymous us flags said...

Wow�this blogging thing is really interesting. I am looking for information on holidays and how people celebrate using flags and found your post. It is almost like you spin the wheel and where it lands is what your read with Blogger.
Regardless�enjoyed your blog�us flags

7:51 PM  
Anonymous flag trivia said...

Wow�this blogging thing is really interesting. I am looking for information on holidays and how people celebrate using flags and found your post. It is almost like you spin the wheel and where it lands is what your read with Blogger.
Regardless�enjoyed your blog�flag trivia

1:38 AM  
Blogger 贝贝 said...

Microsoft Office is so great!
Office 2010 –save your time and save your money.
The invention of Microsoft Office 2010 is a big change of the world.
Office 2007 is so powerful.
Microsoft Office 2007 is my love!
Office 2010 key is for you now!
Office 2010 download is available now!
Microsoft outlook 2010 is convenient!
Outlook 2010 is powerfull.

8:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home