Though I began my last rant on this subject on a less than serious note, I certainly didn't take the Western party line, which appears to be "We're right, those stupid Arabs are wrong and to hell with them!"
The more I think about this story, the more it upsets me. This whole thing is riddled with hatred, racism, intolerance, ignorance, misunderstanding. I have yet to hear anybody point out the Mullahs who can be seen quite clearly on news video footage trying to stop the rampaging mobs from their destruction.
Though I do not for a moment support the way SOME Muslims have reacted to the publication and republication of these grotesque cartoons, I can understand why they are so angry.
One thing this really shows is how little the non-Muslim world understands the Muslim world.
We really cannot expect all humans to be alike and we certainly wouldn't want that.
Though I would never support censorship, having seen these cartoons, I remain convinced the newspapers were arrogant, pig-ignorant and stupid to have published them.
To claim the act is an important exercise in free speech is cynical in the extreme. Upsetting people by insulting their most sacred beliefs is not an important exercise in free speech.
Muslims hold the Prophet Mohammed incredibly close to their hearts. Just because most Westerners have lost any real passion or devotion to any belief system (apart from money, Playstation, iPod, BMW and Big Brother, perhaps) should we expect others to follow suit?
Maybe it's time that we started getting back to some of the basic principles we used to hold so dear. Things like respect other people, do unto others as you would have them do unto you (not the modern American version - do unto others before they get a chance to do it to you), don't lower yourself to the other person's level, etc.
Yes, it appears there are many idiots in the worlds of Islam and the Middle East but that doesn't mean we should show no respect for others and act with no manners. There are plenty of idiots in the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh worlds. They are all human, after all. Does that mean we can only exercise our right to free speech by publishing cartoons that are extremely insulting to those groups as well?
The definition of good manners is that one avoids anything that could cause others to feel uncomfortable. It has always been bad manners to upset people. Few things in today's world could be so perfectly expected (or crafted?) to upset people as these depictions of Mohammed.
So a bunch of idiots think it's appropriate to storm the EU office in Gaza? So some morons think the answer is to have a go at the likes of Sweden and Denmark, perhaps Arabs' last "friends" on this planet? So some fools think setting fire to embassies in Syria and Lebanon is a justified response? Does that mean we, too, have to be such debased and ignorant beings?
I deplore of much of the Arab and Muslim worlds and think they are, for the most part, incredibly ignorant, useless, narrow-minded, glory hounds who couldn't tie their own shoes but I let that be their own choice.
There are plenty of good people in those worlds, too. Unfortunately, they don't make such good TV.
These cartoons (what I have seen of them) appear to me to be no different from the awful racist depictions of Jews published in European newspapers last century. Was that also an important exercise in free speech?
The actions of these newspaper publishers and editors is despicable. They have displayed a callous disregard for the profession. Publishing these cartoons serves no useful purpose.
Most of Europe has legislation making it a crime to incite people to violence and/or to hate crimes. Though that body of law was undoubtedly intended for dealing with budding Hitlers and the like, surely the same laws could be used against the publishers of these cartoons. After all, couldn't publishing these cartoons reasonably be expected to incite voilence?
Why not take that tact? Let's apply the existing laws the way we're always castigating so many other peoples' for their (alleged by us) failure to do so. Lead by example.
Unless further upsetting the Arab world in the middle of difficult and critical negotiations with Iran and Hamas serves a purpose, of course....