Thursday, February 02, 2006

Political Correctness: 1 - 0 :Freedom of Speech

The latest development is that a handful of newspapers across France, Germany, Italy and Spain had the balls to publish the Danish cartoon's that enraged millions of Muslim's worldwide. Unfortunately, the owner of France Soir newspaper caved in to political correctness:

France Soir originally said it had published the images in full to show "religious dogma" had no place in a secular society. But late on Wednesday its owner, Raymond Lakah, said he had removed managing editor Jacques Lefranc "as a powerful sign of respect for the intimate beliefs and convictions of every individual".
Now if that isn't a case of double-speak, I don't know what is. When you fire an editor, it shows you have respect for the beliefs and convictions of only one side. And that is the side of an intolerant religion which demands death from anyone who dares to draw the prophet Mohammed.

Please note that I have not commented on the content of these cartoons. The fact that they have offended people is beyond question. But in the civilised world, we write letters to the editor, not burn flags and declare war on Denmark. I myself have been shocked by the stream of anti-semitic cartoons from the Arab world and from local communist ratbag Michael Leunig. But they all have the right to say and draw what they please, just as readers have the right to say and draw what they think in response.

An amusing quote from the BBC article contains an illuminating quote:
The president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), Dalil Boubakeur, had described France Soir's publication as an act of "real provocation towards the millions of Muslims living in France".
Drawing cartoon = act of real provocation ? I think he reveals how volatile and aggressive large parts of the Muslim community is within France with those words. It doesn't take much more than a cartoon to set off racial tensions and violence from one particular group. It would be hard to imagine a world where Jewish leaders respond to anti-semitic cartoons, or gay activists respond to homophobic articles, by saying that they would lead to provocation (i.e violence is coming). No.. instead, they reason and destroy the cartoons on an intellectual ground, not through violence against its authors.