Publish or Perish: The Lessons of the Cartoon Jihad

The central issue of the “cartoon jihad”—the Muslim riots and death threats against a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed—is obvious. The issue is freedom of speech: whether our freedom to think, write, and draw is to be subjugated to the “religious sensitivities” of anyone who threatens us with force.

That is why it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist. Click here.

This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship—especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads “Behead those who insult Islam.” What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out.

The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can’t single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we’re all united in defying the fanatics.

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1 Kommentar

  1. Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to think, write, draw, all mean one thing: Anyone, anywhere that such freedoms are in place, can freely think, speak, write, draw, and create anything they want to without the fear of the government telling them, “No, you can not do it.” So, you can do this wherever you’re at.

    Big whoopty-fucking do.

    The ability and the means to do something are not the reasons to do it. Just because someone can do something doesn’t always mean that they should. Especially when one tramples the grounds of someone’s beliefs.

    I’ve seen the cartoons on the internet, and my personal feelings are clear: It is silly and stupid to get angry over poorly drawn, horribly written comics. However, I’m agnostic – I believe god, the devil, heaven and hell, the whole nine yards. I also believe there are reasons, besides the superficial “This is my belief” garbage, that the other religions exist, and that somehow, they’re all interconnected in one form or another. To disrespect one is to disrespect all.

    It may have been a group of muslims that crashed their planes into the Towers and the Pentagon, and it may be a group fighting our soldiers abroad, but they’re a small number of of those who share that belief. There’s no reason to disrespect them in this way. Respect those who hold and harbor no hatred or ill-will towards us – DON’T publish it.

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