Saturday, February 4, 2006

By all means, be offended, insulted, angered by the racist cartoons that were published five months ago (when we didn't manage a squeak over them)... Free speech is sacred, yes, but I also recognise that The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." and now the collective noses of millions of muslims are smarting...and suddenly the match is lit under our lazy behinds by this wildfire of a controversy which has everyone shocked and shaking their fingers (and their guns) at the offensive depiction of the prophet as a terrorist...
So.... how do we, in our infinite imaginativeness, defend his honour? How do we prove that the Prophet was sent as a 'mercy' unto nations? How do we show the Islamophobes that they are wrong? Hell, we torch the Danish and Norwegian Embassies! We threaten peaceworkers from Scandinavian countries! We make death threats...and publish fatwas! We threaten London with another 7/7! Bravo...Where do we come up with these brilliant ideas? When an ignorant cartoonist unfairly and idiotically depicts the Prophet as a terrorist,is this the way we disprove the stereotype that has be hounding us ever since 9/11?... the one that says that all Muslims are somehow hardwired for violence and savagery...
It does hurt to wonder why an invitation to "members of the Danish editorial cartoonists union to draw Muhammad as they see him" ended up with cartoons that portrayed him with such ignorance and hatred... And yet what are we doing to change that image? How does our violent lashing out help? Doesn't it just mean we might as well have drawn the cartoon ourselves? And how does the flurry of European papers publishing the cartoon help the cause of freedom of expression? Couldn't there have been a more noble example used to further the cause of free speech? This escalation on both sides is serving no one ...
The ironic bit about the hoopla here is that the very same Kuwaitis who use the word Hindi/iya to mean servant.... who have spent the last 15 years spitting and sputtering about Iraqis and Palestinians and whoever else was not on the best of the best of God's creation list, namely the one millionth of a percent of the human species known as the Kuwaiti citizen...the same people who accept the racist depictions of Jews and Christians let alone people of the non-monotheistic faiths that are vomited all over the pages of so many Arab newspapers....these very same people are suddenly enraged, indignant and inconsolable at the insult hurled at a man who, even when someone urinated in a mosque in front of him, had the decency, the tolerance and the self-control to tell the enraged worshippers not to harm the man, because "you have been raised to deal with people gently and you have not been raised to deal with them harshly."
But, unfortunately, we today have not been raised with gentleness and we may never be able to behave gently with those we disagree with...
Where is our outrage and our suddenly efficient boycott-muscle while hundreds of thousands are killed in wars we are deaf, dumb and blind to? Where is our huffy moral indignation when millions upon millions starve unnecessarily, and millions upon millions of others are enslaved?...where is our disgust at our choking planet? Where are our bleeding hearts at all the suffering and wretchedness that fills this world? Aren't all these gifts from the very Creator these outraged masses are foaming at the mouth to impress, by going crazy over cartoons? Would the Prophet, seeing his followers today, be doing so with pride at what we have reduced ourselves to? I am sure that many must believe that their defense of his honour, in this wild frenzy of vengeance, would somehow ingratiate themselves to the Prophet(PBUH)..and to God...But I don't know...maybe if we had shown some moral rectitude when it came to all the insults hurled at every single gift this world has been filled with...maybe if we had the same staunch spines when it came to defending all the other outrages on this weeping planet, it might have been more convincing to hear these cries...
But after all, perhaps this is the last straw that broke the targeted Muslims' backs...Maybe too many years of feeling marginalised and demonised and ridiculed has reached tipping point..and here we are...spilling all over the map...but I can't help but wish that we knew better ways to express the well deserved feeling of disgust at having our faith so flippantly desecrated...maybe I wish we had a better track record being respectful, tolerant and never insulting other faiths ourselves...maybe I just wish that this world wasn't hurtling towards confrontations we have all been guilty of ignoring, inciting or committing...
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The Observer
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The Independent
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Slate
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FT
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Al-Ahram
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Peace be upon you...isn't that the way it goes?

10 comments:

Shemsi said...

Well said, kwtia!

3baid said...

Off topic:

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kwtia said...

Thanks for the comment Shemsi..
3baid..Hi, how did you spot it? Is it doing something on your end? Or do you just check everyone's source? :)Thanks for the tip.

Sarah said...

I longed to hear someone else say what I felt. I'm studying abroad at the moment and the current events stirred up the most pain I've felt over something in the news since 9/11. Well said.
Now what do we do...

kwtia said...

I am not sure how to calm people down, when so many have so many different feelings stirred by the event...The extreme reactions are not a logical result of the cartoons, but of the many different and confusing feelings and situations so many people are feeling..This feels like the little spark that lit up a huge gas filled room..the work has to be done on the gas leak more than on the spark..although both are dangerous. I resprt to analogies when I don't have a clear answer...sorry..what do you think Sarah? How is the whole thing affecting you guys abroad? What kind of things do you hear in the press?

Ms.Baker said...

Kwtia-

What an extremely well written, powerful, and astute post. You have echoed my own feelings and thoughts on the matter exactly.

Any recovery or repair that had been achieved for Muslims and Arabs after the damage of 9/11 has been demolished after this whole sad fiasco. All of the chaos that is occurring now is just blind, mob-driven hysterics, that's all.

Two steps forward, a hundred steps back... as usual...as it has been and may always sadly be for Muslims and Arabs because of this nonsensical and shameful behavior.

I think the Prophet (PBUH) would have been horrified to see what has happened to his Legacy and the Message he brought to the world (no blasphemy intended)... Of course I am being presumptive, but I don't think he would have thought he needed defending from silly drawings, having survived much worse malignment and character assassination during his own time.

You have my sincerest admiration for your way with a pen, and your most excellent blog :)

Ms Baker

kwtia said...

Ms. Baker..Thanks for the very kind words...Yes I agree it's very sad and doesn't really do any service to the prophet or to Islam...what to do?

Gary said...

Good post, good discussion...see my latest post with a quote from Abraham Lincoln - that's the sort of leader we need these days...

Auntie Willow said...

Yikes!
I'm late to the party!
What a wonderful post!
Can I do some cut and paste and send this (maybe with the words Jesus thrown in here and there) to oh, about 34% of the American population?
There's too much of this going around today, and not just with Muslims!
Maybe if everybody started trying to love each other and learn from their religions (which all seem to talk about love and forgiveness) instead of worrying about all those other....
No, sorry, I'm talking crazy talk again!
Love you, and hope you're not mad at me being late!

kwtia said...

Hello Hello! Gary and Auntie Willow, so nice to see you both in these parts! Thanks for the support and the love and right back at u...I am pretty late in replying as well since I've been a bit lazy recently..Keep up the great work you two!