Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hypocrisy and Cartoons as I see it

Juan Cole had an interesting post More on the Hypocrisy of the West and Cartoongate

Here is what I see...

Taking one's frustration on innocent is in no way monopoly of the Muslim extremists. If you recall right after 9/11, middle eastern looking individuals and even Sikhs (since they were turban) were target of violent reactions in the US.

For me personally what is more troubling is the coverage of the issue much more so than the cartoons. Here in the fury of comments and justifications, I see deeply racist remarks. Take for example this statement that appeared on many of the news items on the issue:

"We'd take Muslim protests more seriously if they weren't so hypocritical," Berlin's Die Welt wrote as it published a Danish cartoon. "The imams were quiet when Syrian television showed Jewish rabbis as cannibals in a prime-time series."

You think this statement was well thought through, and it wasn't some random off the cuff remark. But did the editor even bother to ask the Imams? The editor seems to have been blessed with gene that "hypocritical" Muslims are lacking. Essentially, I see a superiority complex that has blinded the editor's judgment.

Don't all atrocities start the same place, "we" are good and "they" are for one reason or another lacking that goodness we take for granted? There seems to be two different yard sticks to judge people, one for "us" and anther for "them".

Every time George Bush commits a crime in Iraq, we Americans don't go in the streets to protest it. At times even majority of people support the war claiming it would bring gift of democracy and respect to human right, and Western values to the inferior people. Every nonsense movie that comes out of Hollywood we don't feel the responsibility to be in the street to defend the Muslim characters. At the same time we expect the Muslims to be on the street to oppose the radicals in case of the cartoon incident, or protest Syrian TV shows.

For a mainstream Muslim looking at both side of the issue, what is more ironic is that these radicals for most part behave quite Western, they seems to have learned their lessons quite well, true they do their “Shock and Awe” with rudimentary and inferior tools. But nonetheless the radicals and Westerners believe that violence would bring about the desired political change.

For Editor of the Die Welt every Muslim has to prove himself. As in after 9/11 every Muslim are somehow guilty of the act of handful of people and it is his responsibility to be proactive and clear his reputation. Otherwise it is another indication of their violent nature, and vindication for our own peaceful and civilized gene! Ironically this is just like the Muslim radicals that expect every Danish, or German citizen to prove themselves because of action of few cartoonist. It is for instance expected for the radicals to know that Danish people are for most part tolerant people.

In Western mind set though, hypocrisy has become a family value. For the editor of the Die Welt , without any real data to back up his claim, it is perfectly understandable to justify his action by stereotyping all Muslims, or at least their “imams”, as essentially antisemitic. Even though Muslims have gone to great length to separate religion of Judaism from political ambitions of Zionism in their conflict with Israeli.

In 1945 the Berlin's Die Welt editor would not have seen Jewish Rabbis as individuals, in 2006 it has difficulty realizing that Muslim Imams, just as individual Muslims, each have their own opinions. One can only hope come 2046 we can put these cartoons and editorials in Museums and try to learn about our own faults by communicating with others instead of trying to explain our own prejudices because of our perceived faults of others.

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