Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Actions Speak Louder

Some quotes from a Globe and Mail editorial (subscriber only) on the controversy surrounding Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper which published 12 offensive pictures of the Prophet Mohammed last fall:

"Arab countries have urged the Danish government to punish Jyllands-Posten. Syria and Saudi Arabia have recalled their ambassadors to Copenhagen. Libya says it is closing its embassy. Thousands of Palestinians marched in protest. Bomb threats forced Jyllands-Posten to evacuate its newsroom."


"European governments and media must not cave in to such bullying. The protesters betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how free societies work."


"In the democratic world, things work differently. Newspapers and other media cannot allow themselves to be silenced, cowed or intimidated by the fear of upsetting one group or another. By publishing those 12 drawings, the editors of Jyllands-Posten were aggressively asserting their right to publish, come what may."

So the obvious question is, does the Globe have the courage of its convictions to follow in the footsteps of other newspapers like France Soir which have published the same or similar images in support of Jyllands-Posten?

Update: As always, it's best to see for yourself what the fuss is about, the cartoons in question can be viewed here.


  • Will the G&M publish the photos? No they won't. It's more likely to be another paper which doesn't want to try to be as "respectable". Maybe a Sun paper would publish them. I fear though that a paper may publish the cartoons in Canada would do so for the wrong reasons; they would do it to be deliberately imflamatory, rather than supportive of the free press.

    Religious people of all stripes never cease to be completely threatened when someone makes fun of their ludicrous beliefs (All powerful beings? Magic powers? Sounded plausible when I was 5, not so much now). Apparently, images of Mohammed are not supposed to be shown (which explains why i've ever seen any, I guess). They printed CARTOONS, and not very good ones at that. Oh, the heresy, the blasphemy! Closing embassies, recalling ambassadors? Grow up. You're running powerful countries now, and have chosen to have these types of offices in places where you know the general public does not share your views. No one was killed, injured, and like any other media, if you don't like, don't watch/read/listen to it. Boycott if you want.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 PM  

  • You could be right about the Globe, although the one factor which makes them more likely (in my opinion) to publish is that I think they view themselves as 'defenders of the enlightenment' more so than other papers.

    "Religious people of all stripes never cease to be completely threatened when someone makes fun of their ludicrous beliefs"

    True, but some stripes react more violently than others. Otherwise, we are pretty much in agreement.

    By Blogger Declan, at 1:01 PM  

  • I saw them, and regret it very much. I'd much rather have beautifully ornate imagery in my mind when I think of Islam than of some stupid anthropomorphic corruptions. Respect has been sacrificed in favour of, what, more cultural denegrition?

    By Blogger Art Hornbie, at 3:22 PM  

  • You see the cartoon as a sacrifice of respect where I see it as the only way to preserve respect.

    In most situations, silence can be equated with respect, or at least with a lack of disrespect.

    However, in a situation where there is a very real fear of violent retaliation for any disrespect, silence becomes ambiguous. That is, you can't be sure if someone is keeping silent about someone else out of respect, or out of fear.

    In this climate of fear, it becomes necessary, regardless of how one feels about the source of potential violence, to make an act of disrespect towards that person/group. This act is necessary so that, having proven that one won't be intimidated by violence, any future silence is once again regarded as respect.

    Once this act of disrespect has been committed, the person/group disrespected generally has two possible reactions.

    The first is either to ignore the provocation, to laugh it off, or to make verbal and/or formal complaints through accepted process within the law.

    The second is to bring threats of violence against the perpetrator of the disrespect, their coworkers and their countrymen.

    The first reaction suggest that the disrespectful action was uncalled for, the second reaction proves just how necessary it was.

    There are few things I place higher importance on than living in a society where people are free to say, write and draw whatever they choose without fear - especially fear of religious fundamentalists.

    By Blogger Declan, at 7:15 PM  

  • My central core believe is in personal freedom, and this includes freedom of press, freedom of association, and basically any other along as I exercising my freedoms do not prevent others from doing the same. I'll fight to the death to defend that. But I won't stand up for someone who is trying to start a fight, or someone who is speaking words that are painful. I think the Jyllands-Posten has every right to publish what ever they want, and the worldwide reaction to it is unwarranted. However, at the same time I think other papers shouldn't publish the graphics, as to do so would give grounds to something that is insensitive.

    If we were to open the paper and see pictures really offensive to our society, indecent pictures or something graphic, we would probably call for heads to roll (as in be fired) at the paper. Honestly, I could understand a shock rag or an online site publishing those, but they have nothing to do with journalist. I looked at them and they are no where near as offensive to me as most of the spam I get on a daily basis, and no more graphic than the flash commercials listed on

    I do believe an apology has been given and we should watch what buttons we are pushing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:05 AM  

  • Well, one thing to remember is that in Islam, displaying images of the prophet Mohammed is blasphemy.

    Any images. Even positive ones. It's not really surprising that they've got their knickers in a knot about cartoons that show Mohammed in a bad light (as representing the views of Islamic extremists and terrorists).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:37 AM  

  • Well I already explained why I think that for the Globe (for example) printing the images to show that they are not afraid is more important than not showing them to avoid causing offense, so I won't repeat myself.

    "If we were to open the paper and see pictures really offensive to our society, indecent pictures or something graphic, we would probably call for heads to roll (as in be fired) at the paper."

    A key difference being that we would be using that phrase figuratively. Of course, it would depend on the context as well.

    In my religion (atheism), it is blasphemous even to invoke the existence of God (never mind showing images), yet somehow Harper hasn't been forced to apologize for publicly demanding that God bless Canada and I have managed to avoid calling in death threats to him or his family.

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home