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Thursday, February 14, 2008 

We show Sammenhold today with free speech

Two years ago, the cartoon riots over the Mohammed cartoons published in Denmark took place. Michelle Malkin brings up the subject this week again, rightly stressing that this is something to show solidarity (or, as in Danish, sammenhold) with for the sake of free speech. And, since this is something comic strip/cartoon related, that's why this makes a perfect subject to give mention to here as well as reprint some of the cartoons.

And I guess I'm going to take this time to point out how I'm not sure if much of the comics and cartoonists society ever showed enough solidarity with the Danish cartoonists in this case. As an example, I'm going to point to the veteran Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter, whose own commentary on the subject wasn't very clear. In the entry he wrote two years ago that I linked to, while he does discuss the violence and other abominable actions the Islamofascists worldwide committed in the wake of the publications, he says very confusingly:
7. I appreciate the notion of re-running the original cartoons as a sign of journalistic solidarity, but reprinting the cartoons for the sake of reprinting the cartoons means repeating the stunt, with all of its attendant rhetorical sloppiness.
Reading this, my head is really in a tizzy, because I can't figure out what he means, or what point he's trying to make! An important point to make for starters is just what is the Religion of Peace like? The problem is that Spurgeon was discussing this without a proper knowledge of the history of Islam. I would personally suggest that he read Robert Spencer's book, The Truth About Muhammed. And is this something that people with common sense should have to stand for? That's the really big picture people like Spurgeon, I feel, are missing. And is he saying that they should have just put away the cartoons, apologized to the warmongers, and never done anything about it again? If that's what he's saying, it's a bit rich coming from someone who uploaded some of the cartoons to his own site as well.

I think the point he misses is that, when the cartoons were reprinted by whichever newspapers were brave to do so, it was in order to offer the public their own chance to decide if this is something really worth making a fuss over. And the public does have a right to judge for themselves. Most importantly though, is if anyone should have to sympathise with those who would resort to violence in the name of their religion.

Spurgeon may not have learned much within the 2 years he wrote the above, unfortunately, if what he said in this recent item on his site is any indication:
While I'm sympathetic to the notion that this is an offensive image, I think any journalistic entity is completely justified in running such a thing if by doing so they better inform their readers.
Now granted, he does acknowledge here that informing the readership is important, but I still think that he's bending over backwards a bit by saying the images are offensive, though let me note that Muhammed's past actions in history, including this one, most definitely were.

While we're on the subject, I'm also bugged by a letter sent to him by a would-be retailer 2 years ago too, where the writer says:
What continually strikes me about this situation is that the world owes a tremendous debt to the Islamic world because of their contributions to the sciences, particularly mathematics and medicine. And in less than a century, the convergence of political and religous totalitarianism in the region has almost completely suppresed the once vigorous intellectualism of the culture. (Not that that excuses the West for baiting those forces.)
Wow, talk about someone who really believes what the MSM would want him to. Because Robert Spencer doesn't really agree with him on that. Nor in fact does Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom. Are we going to be hearing next that Muslims were responsible for the invention of Manga? Oh yeah, that'll be the day. And what intellectualism was there, really? Just what intelligence is there in such a Quranic verse as the following:
Sura 8:12- “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.”
Simply put, what we had there was a typically uninformed buffoon who even runs the risk of pointing the finger of blame upon the West, and only the West. If he were smart, he'd do well to take a closer look at some of the info I provided above, as well this item, and this one.

I think it's a shame when even people who're specialists in comics and cartoons fail to look at the details surrounding serious issues like this properly, and thus fail to uphold important free speech issues as well, which doesn't help the comic book medium any more than the newspaper medium. And Spurgeon certainly isn't helping by taking such an ambiguous position as he still seems to be. Many newspapers from the Islamic world have been publishing disgusting anti-Semitic cartoons, and even anti-Christian cartoons that no one says anything about, and he's worried about offending the Islamist scum whose whole idea of how to protest is to make threats of violence? I'd suggest he look for and check out journalist Aryeh Stav's book, Peace - An Arabian Caricature: A Study in Anti-Semitic Image, to see what's really offensive.

I think that the Danish cartoons subject would be perfect human interest story wellspring for a ton of comic book stories, even allegorical, that could address free speech issues and whether violent reactions are justified. You could have a story in Superman where the Daily Planet deals with these issues, or even one in Spider-Man where Robbie Robertson finds himself at odds with J. Jonah Jameson in publishing about important subjects like these in the Daily Bugle. Trouble is that, with the way comics have been so drastically dumbed down in the past decade, there's no telling if the current industry would let it happen, or if they'll even survive long enough for it to happen.

Now, let us take the time to point to others who're courageously covering the subject of the Danish Muhammed cartoons this week, which include: Fullosseous Flap, Black Shards, Right Voices, Neocon News, Residual Forces, The Jawa Report, Andrew Bostom, Urban Grounds, Snapped Shot, Pirates' Cove, Wake Up America, Bookworm Room, The World According to Carl, Macsmind, Outside the Beltway, American Pundit, The Hot Joints, BitsBlog, Yankeemom, In Jennifer's Head, Solomonia, Maggie's Farm, Texas Hold 'em Blogger, Slapstick Politics.

All these fine folk and many more deserve many kudos for their show of Sammenhold. We must not be intimidated by those who would resort to violence as of "protesting".

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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