The Offending Cartoons

Well, so far as I can tell from this image, the twelve cartoons (on the subject of fear of censorship and/or reprisals regarding representations of Mohammed) are as follows:

  • One appears to be mocking the editor who commissioned the illustrations. It shows a beardless bespectacled nordic looking fellow in a turban with an orange or ball on it labelled ‘PR STUNT’ holding a page on which a stick figure of a bearded man in a turban is drawn.
  • Another has a similar figure holding a sign as one of seven in a police lineup including several bearded turbaned individuals, one of whom has a halo.
  • A third has a young dark haired student named Mohammed pointing to a blackboard on which the text apparently translates to say that “The Jyllands-Posten’s journalists are a bunch of reactionary provocateurs”
  • Another has an apparently fearful cartoonist trying to hide his sketch-in-progress of an unidentified bearded arabic-looking figure.
  • One has some kind of caliph or prince calming a couple of enraged soldiers with words to the effect that it’s only a stupid Danish cartoon
  • Two are apparently straight-up illustrations suitable for a children’s book. One of these has a heavily bearded turbaned peasant leading a donkey across an arid landscape.and the other, which also seems not intended to insult, is a slightly more cartoonish scholarly looking fellow with a crescent-shaped halo.
  • Two incorporate star and crescent into human facial features – one without comment and one with several such characters and a text that I haven’t seen translated.
  • Then there’s the oft reported immam on a cloud turning back burned bodies with “Stop! stop! we ran out of virgins”.
  • An angry looking man in a turban with a sword has his eyes blacked out (as if to protect id) by a rectangle that matches the cutouts in the black chadors of through which the eyes of two women behind him are the only visible details.
  • And then of course there’s the man with the bomb in his turban

Certainly probably a stupid exercise given the circumstances – although the intrusion of restrictive sensibilities into an open culture is something that I hope will be effectively resisted.
Perhaps the organizer should be shot – not by those enraged but by those who are suffering the consequences for his exercise of freedom.

Mohammed the Prophet should be vastly more insulted by the actions and assertions of those who claim to represent him – especially the sleazy characters posing as religious leaders who have added some truly offensive cartoons of their own devising in order to inflame those who find the real thing rather tame.

Actually, despite the inflammatory news reports on all sides the demonstrations of outrage and calls for boycott etc have in many instances been just the kind of exercise of free speech that Europeans should be defending. And where things have gotten nasty the atmosphere has only occasionally gone beyond the level of subhuman savagery demonstrated from time to time by British soccer fans when their colours get accidentally trampled on.

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