Violations as a Response to Insult, Is it Constructive?
Q & A with my self
What is happening in the Muslims countries during the last weeks about the Danish cartoon? Today at the Arab voices class, Hani Shokrollah, former editor in chief of Al-Ahram weekly, led a sort of round table at the School of journalism. we had more than 20 observers from the school who probably were interested on this topic. Najla, calls it “Cartoon Gate”. I am very confused about saying my opinion on this complicated issue, but as many friends of mine, some of my blog’s readers and journalists from Germany, Denmark and Austria who asked me about this topic, I am going to write down some points about this huge media covered and critical issues. So perhaps it is better to talk about it in a Q & A form. Does is make sense?
Q: Does reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoon, display emerging the clash among the civilizations?
A: Reaction of the Muslims, not. But the action of reprinting the cartoon by other European papers, maybe.
Q: So, you mean the clash among civilizations is something real?
A: The answer is yes and no. Yes, if intentionally focus on the provoking the controversial differences between cultures and civilization, do not respect the differences and judge the “others” with our values. But the answer is no, if we try to understand the differences and respect the other cultures and beliefs. In this way, it is better not to think that the whole world is living with liberal democracy values and/or Muslims values.
Q: Do you think the reaction of the Muslims was led by ordinary people or the governments?
A: I think, mostly by government. Because, lack of strong civil society does not let people in these countries to protest or come to the streets-- like what we see in the Muslim countries. Beside, civil society in many of these countries is entirely secular. Moreover, in these countries, if governments do not agree with something it never –or seldom—happens. So, as we see in Iran, Syria, Palestine and so on, strong mobilization and violence, without any governmental intervention, is impossible.
Q: Which countries in particular?
A: Just look at Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. The outrage of Muslims has appeared basically from these countries. In Iran, government normally supports these kinds of activities. I read something in somewhere by a Finish journalist who mentioned 99 percent of Iranian population are against any violence or attack in response to any kind of insulting. I am sure it is not an exaggerated number. In a country which a critic to government policies lead the journalists and writers to jail, torture and so on, how some people can attack to a embassy without the green light sign of the regime?
Q: What is its benefits for the Islamic government?
A: Apparently, after sending the Iranian case to Security Council by the IAEA, they are expecting some other changes in the International community’s tune. If the Islamic regime does not accept the Russia’s nuclear proposal, Iranian case will face different sort of sanction. So, they are just preparing fire for their propaganda against west. Syria is under pressure of International Community about the Murder of Rafigh Hariri. Some of the American sources talk about attack to Syria. So they are going to send a message to their people and say, “here it is! That’s western values which accuse. They are insulting Islam and or values.” That’s why I think they have provoked the Muslim’s emotions in a political ways.
Q: So, you mean the cartoon has not problem but that’s the reaction of the Muslims, which must be controlled?
A: I believe in what Robert Fisk has said about “Childish of civilizations”, which printing and reprinting of the cartoon has promoted.
Q: Do you think cartoonists of writers must censor themselves because of Islamic taboos?
A: I think, the freedom of expression is not without limit. For example in case of denial of Holocausts, why European countries have established rigid policies about it?
(End of Part One)