Monday, 13 December 2010

Yet more defiance

This is the now famous picture drawn by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks for which many believe he should be murdered. I have reproduced it because the more people reproduce it, the more targets there are for this vile intolerance. Then the true absurdity of the overreaction becomes more apparent. The picture is now widely available on the web on many sites and blogs. It has received far far more publicity than if it had been ignored.
What are they going to do, kill us all?



    Originality? No still?! ... and Wikileaks, weakione?! No?!! ;-)

  2. As someone of Irish origin, I recognise the type of cartoon above. You'll find some examples here;

    Maybe you think this is about freedom of speech, Dr Z. I respect Vilks right to that, but I would no more have his cartoon on my blog than I would a leaflet of the BNP.There's a difference between informed critism and gratuitous insult and I think Vilks is a racist of the most vile kind. He's also a third rate artist. I suppose he can always go for notoriety..

  3. ZI, you seem desperate for me to comment on wikileaks for some reason. The documents you refer to run into thousands and I have not the time to wade through them. Bear in mind that someone felt strongly enough to risk his career by releasing them to Assange. Is there some specific area of the documents that you would like me to comment on?

    Julie, perhaps I am looking in the wrong place but, although I can find several sites accusing Vilks of racism, I can not find any evidence to support the allegations. I can understand however that you would not publish the cartoon yourself as you blog openly under your own name and that might make you vulnerable. Personally I agree with P Z Myers; “I think it's only appropriate that Vilks' sketch of Mohammed as a mangy cur should receive wider circulation because of the vileness of their response.”

  4. The racism there in the cartoon, Dr Z. In Islam, a dog is a ritually unclean animal. He is portraying Mohammed as subhuman and by implication (as Mohammed is represents Islam)all Muslims as subhuman. You might say the mature response to this is to ignore it, but the question remains is why Vilks drew it in the first place.

    As to myself, I would have no problem printing this out of fear. It's just that I recognise the sentiment behind it and I think Europe is extremely unwise to fete people like Vilks and Geert Wilders. They are very good at turning peoples' fear into hate and revel in it. It means that we are not having the discussions we should be having about what exactly is going on with oil in the Middle East and what is the West's part in it.
    Up here in Scotland when oil was discovered, a whole lot of American companies moved in. They wouldn't let the men join trade unions, didn't pay compensation when they got injured and didn't do proper health and safety checks. It was only when Piper Alpha blew up and a whole lot of people got killed that anything was done and even then, the men that were trying to organise a trade union (called Oil-C after Solidarity) found management turning up at meetings and taking down the names of all the attenders. Now that's in Scotland, in Europe proper. What do you think is going on in the Middle East? I think the source of most of the trouble there is to do with trade, but it suits them to portray it as a religious problems. I think there's a lot of crap going on there that we never hear about and fundamentalist Islam is not going to stop until it's sorted out. Israel is part of the problem as well, but I think the real gripe is the oil. And that is why I think Vilks and Wilder are unhelpful because they are distracting attention away from the real issue.

  5. Your second paragraph I would agree with entirely and I have to say that I am increasingly seeing a similar belligerence creeping in in NHS management.

    "I think there's a lot of crap going on there that we never hear about"
    Whatever you think about the latest furore this is something Assange was trying to address when he set up wilkileaks.

    I still however think that the drawing of the cartoons alone is not enough to label Vilks as racist. He, Geert, (and Rushdie) live in a society where freedom of expression is what they have lived with all their lives, and if they choose to exercise that right they should not be restricted because others might use their work for their own ends.

    We can all be misrepresented. We should not be gagged because of it.

  6. Mind you, you are right about him being a third rate artist. It is a crap drawing. The sort of thing you might expect from an adolescent. Does he make a living doing this?

  7. Julie - you say the intentions of the cartoon put it on par with the BNP.
    You are perfectly entitled to express your opinion and I'm sure you would engage in debate if an alternative point of view was offered?

    But what worries those who genuinely believe in freedom of expression (however abhorrent these views may be) is that there are some who apply all manner of rationalisations, in this case an extreme interpretation of Islam to justify violence.

    Now for those of us who believe in the concept of freedom of speech we must learn to accept that we are providing a license for some to express all manner of unsavoury points of view - but's that's just the price we have to pay if freedom of speech is to mean what it says on the tin.

    I don't even have to look at the cartoon, or understand any of the politics informing it - all of that is an irrelevance because the author's right to produce his/her take on the world should trump any offense taken by the audience.

    BTW I do not think Dr Zorro should have censored his resident troll.

    the a&e charge nurse

  8. I know that it is a commonly held principal that trolls are not barred and I have expressed amazement on Dr Aust's blog about how tolerant he was of cybertiger. However I view my blog much as I would my home. I am happy to invite people in and engage in conversation and debate. But if someone abused the invitation by abusing me I would show him the door. If ZI wants to vent his spleen let him start his own blog, not hijack mine. I am not stopping him expressing his views, but I don't have to provide him with a platform.

  9. I don't think we're in disagreement here, A&E nurse. I believe in freedom of expression as well, but I also believe we are responsible for the choices that we make and I think the fact that Vilks chose to portray Mohammed as a dog says something about him and about the company he's keeping. There is a rise in white supremist movements in Europe and this is what he's tapping into. I don't like it when entire races are dismissed as subhuman in this fashion. Taking it from the NHS point of view, from its inception we have relied on the medical colleges in Pakistan and India to make up the numbers. Yet we won't give them the dignity of a proper debate about what's happening in their countries and our part in it; instead we fete a guy whose drawing pictures them as subhuman.

  10. Julie, I still think you are making assumptions about Vilks’ motivation that appear to be conjecture. He could have been motivated by any number of reasons. Putting myself in his shoes I would have done it simply because if someone tells me I can’t do something which is perfectly within the law, it makes me that more determined to go and do it. The race of those telling me I can’t do it is immaterial. In fact that is exactly why I reposted his cartoon. Pig headed I may be but I don’t think I am racist. I will happily offend anyone, within the law. It is no good having such rights if they are not exercised.