Sunday, May 23, 2010

Artful ?

As usual the real point has taken a back-seat, both the debates relating to the facebook ‘draw the prophet Muhammad’ page and Zapiro’s cartoon that appeared in the latest addition of the Mail and Guardian pulled out all the usual debates about freedom of expression. However the issue is not really one of freedom of expression but rather one of religious intolerance that highlights both the worst in stereotyping Muslims and islamophobia.

For many Muslims it would be the same if, during the height of the crusades western Christianity was drawing similar racist depictions of the prophet. We would not see them as neutral and free spirited expressions of speech but rather as a conscious ideological and political tool being used in support of the continuing war efforts in the Muslim world.

As usual jibes against Islam and Muslims are not only allowed but totally acceptable, it is interesting how racism and intolerance in the ‘west’ are limited to not being inciteful against Judaism, homosexuality and sometimes blacks – usually only in the hope to camouflage the continuation of past inequalities -.

As Zizek wrote in his article -,‘China's State Administration of Religious Affairs announcing a law covering "the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism."‘

"Culture" has commonly become the name for all those things we practice without really taking seriously. And this is why we dismiss fundamentalist believers as "barbarians" with a "medieval mindset": they dare to take their beliefs seriously. Today, we seem to see the ultimate threat to culture as coming from those who live immediately in their culture, who lack the proper distance.


Rajat said...

I want to ask you are you willing to accept this.

desert demons said...

Accept what exactly?

Azra said...

I’m disappointed yet again at the (what seems to be the proliferation of) irresponsible journalism in South Africa. Its like everyones out looking for controversy or a story to sensationalise. We shouldn’t feed this kind of propaganda. I think Zapiro just wanted attention because he knew full well what he was getting into and his own words “I thought I could get away with it” is testiment to that.

SA media cannot use the excuse of ‘freedom of speech’ to justify blatant disrespect. This is as much about Freedom of Speech as the War in Iraq was about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Islamophobia is on a disturbing rise.

RESPECT and TOLERANCE are all we really have as a nation. I wish we could get rid of all the morons so intent on dividing the country instead of uniting it.

Loshini said...

racial stereotyping's more common than i thought apparently, hence your post

and irresponsible journalism turns a real newspaper into a mere tabloid. dun let it get to you too much

interesting blog by the way :)

Dreamlife said...

I agree with your points; and love the way you've defined 'culture' - as it seems to apply today.

"Fundamentalist" actually isn't a bad word - but it's taken on a negative connotation because of the way it is used in the media. The manipulation of words is an art that's very important to this kind of propaganda.

desert demons said...

Thanx for the visit everyone :)

Azra - the thing is that with Islamaphobia on the rampage it is even more important for media not to feed into the mass global hysteria of the 'war on terror' where terrorists come in only one type... muslim!

Loshini do stop by again :)

Hey Dreamlife - agreed fundamentalist, islamist etc are not bad words it is the way that the media has chosen to define them that has caused the problems.