This is not a clash of cultures but rather a political clash. The arabic-islamic world seemingly wants to get rid of Western and Israeli subjugation. Perhaps, as the Beirut newspaper in English, Daily Star, claims, this is a new version of the colonial struggle that characterized the 19th Century. The Muhammed drawings were just the long awaited fuse to ignite the tension and pressure that are due to much more serious problems. We have seen something similar in the 16th Century where the Christian Church was very intolerant and burned those who were thinking differently. "We" were not that different. As the Nobel laureate of literature José Saramago contemplates [Politiken, February 11, 3rd section, p. 7]:

"What really surprised me was the irresponsibility of the cartoonists or their originators. Some claim that the freedom of expression is an absolte right, the only existing absolute right while other rights are relative. But reality imposes certain boundaries."

Imagine a cartoonist bravely portraying his editor-in-chief as an idiot. Probably, despite his braveness, he would be sacked the following day. Common sense should have prevented JP from publishing the Muhammed drawings in times when things were already very sensitive. This has obviously been a concious and planned provocative act from the right wing newspaper, perhaps even thinking strategic about advertisement funding. And JP was even already warned by an islamic expert not to publish the meaningless provocative drawings. As Günter Grass puts it [ibid.]:

"We live in times when violent acts are answered by violent acts. Firstly, the West invaded Iraq. Today we know that the invasion was a break of international law and was realized on the wrogn premises. From Bush and his followers (Blair, Fogh Rasmussen…), fundamentalist arguments were marketed that this was a fight between good and evil. What we are facing now is a fundamentalist answer to a fundamentalist act."

This opinion does not apologize acts of mad Muslim street gangs and the crazy imams. It simply explains. Interestingly, Grass calls attention to the famous Nazi-German newspaper, der Stürmer, publishing anti-semitic caricatures in the same style; "You cannot invoke freedoms of expression without analyzing its state in the West." [ibid.]


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