A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, February 03, 2006

Buy Danish: Update

Refreshing, though distressing, to hear a spokesperson for fundamentalist Islam speaking plainly. As Sullivan notes, the entire point of a free and independent press escapes them. Or perhaps it doesn't and they just don't care. Either way, it is important to recognize that many of the most culturally intolerant socities in the world today are headed by fundamentalist Muslims-- not by Bushitler McChimpskie as much of the far-left would like to believe. Tough place for the left-- do you support "multi-culturism" and Islam's "needs" or do you support freedom of expression-- the nearly sacred 1st amendment here in the U.S.? Can't really have it both ways, though I'm sure some will try. Certainly many Muslims enjoy being able to express themselves freely by advocating for the beheading of others expressing themselves-- pretty much pegs the irony meter, donchatink?

Tolerance can not be a one-way street. Or, rather, it cannot always be a one-way street. The Netherlands learned that the hard way when Theo van Gogh was murdered. France is learning it the hard way in at least two different social arenas. Now extremists from half a world away are testing Denmark to see if they've learned from that lesson or no-- to date, Denmark has stood firm, to which I can only say, Bravo!

So, continue to buy those Legos folks. Personally, I recommend the 500 brick packs where you get a mixed bag of various types of Legos rather than the kits that generally only make one thing, but whichever. Have a kringle this weekend. Buy direct from Denmark, and when you do, let the seller know that you're buying to express your support for Denmark and for freedom of expression.

UPDATE: Wow, am I bummed. The State Department is siding with Egypt and Saudi Arabia and against the newspapers and cartoonists. It is hard to express how disappointed I am in President Bush and the State Department. The simple fact that CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations-- a US PR arm of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations) endorses the U.S. position is reason enough to immediately repudiate it and strongly back Denmark. Good grief, this is pathetic. Tell you what, here's a quote from Bush's SotU speech THREE FRIGGIN' DAYS AGO:
In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom -- or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life.
Dead on balls accurate (it's an industry term) George-- and you just started the year by opting for retreat and the hope of an easier life. This is how we're going to lead the world? By backing down to people that threaten to kill us if we don't appease them?

Ye gods. Spineless bastards. Just once, JUST ONCE, I was hoping that Bush wouldn't just talk the talk but would actually walk the damn walk. I mean, if Le Monde gets it, how in the world does the administration NOT get it?

What a depressing way to start the weekend.


In the first two links of your update, Sean McCormack is quoted as saying, "Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images or any other religious belief." He did say this, but let's continue on past that first sentence:

"Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images or any other religious belief. We have to remember and respect the deeply held beliefs of those who have different beliefs from us. But it is important that we also support the rights of individuals to express their freely held views."

Also stated in the press conference was:

"Our response is to say that while we certainly don't agree with, support, or in some cases, we condemn the views that are aired in public that are published in media organizations around the world, we, at the same time, defend the right of those individuals to express their views. For us, freedom of expression is at the core of our democracy and it is something that we have shed blood and treasure around the world to defend and we will continue to do so. That said, there are other aspects to democracy, our democracy -- democracies around the world -- and that is to promote understanding, to promote respect for minority rights, to try to appreciate the differences that may exist among us.

"We believe, for example in our country, that people from different religious backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, national backgrounds add to our strength as a country. And it is important to recognize and appreciate those differences. And it is also important to protect the rights of individuals and the media to express a point of view concerning various subjects. So while we share the offense that Muslims have taken at these images, we at the same time vigorously defend the right of individuals to express points of view. We may -- like I said, we may not agree with those points of view, we may condemn those points of view but we respect and emphasize the importance that those individuals have the right to express those points of view.

"For example -- and on the particular cartoon that was published -- I know the Prime Minister of Denmark has talked about his, I know that the newspaper that originally printed it has apologized, so they have addressed this particular issue. So we would urge all parties to exercise the maximum degree of understanding, the maximum degree of tolerance when they talk about this issue. And we would urge dialogue, not violence. And that also those that might take offense at these images that have been published, when they see similar views or images that could be perceived as anti-Semitic or anti-Catholic, that they speak out with equal vigor against those images."

U.S. State Dept. Daily Press Briefing, 3 Feb 2006

Every article I have seen fails to note that Mr. McCormack also states that we need to support freedom of expression, that we should urge dialog instead of violence, and that the Muslims taking offense at these cartoons should speak out just as vigorously when images that are offensive to other faiths are published.

Pat Curley has probably summed it up best by saying, "[W]e can defend their right to publish the cartoons without saying, 'They're right to publish the cartoons.'"

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Dept. of Defense recently objected to a Toles cartoon in the Washington Post. There were also similar objections of cartoons regarding Condoleezza Rice by Jeff Danziger, Ted Rall, Pat Oliphant, and Garry Trudeau. It isn't the first time that the administration has objected to an editorial depiction while, at the same time, accepting the right of individuals to have free speech and expression.

You have noted the duplicity of Imams who are offended by the Mohammed cartoons, but who don't object to similarly offensive anti-Israeli, anti-American, and anti-Jewish cartoons. I agree with you on that, but I don't think that the administration has opted for "retreat and the hope of an easier life" by expressing objection to the cartoons in question while affirming the rights of individuals to freely express themselves.

Back in July, you noted that we don't need to act in like manner to our opponents when you stated that, "The fact that your enemy is devoid of compassion does not mean you need to be likewise devoid of compassion." In a similar vein, just because the Arab/Muslim press publishes offensive cartoons, does that mean that the West should respond in kind simply because they can? Probably not.

All of that said, I would not have made the statements that the State Department did. I support the publishing of the cartoons, and I personally couldn't care less if Islam is offended. Truthfully, the cartoons and the resulting Muslim rage put a smile on my face because I get a chuckle out of the cartoons and I think that the threats and acts of violence from the "offended" help to show the true face of Islam.
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