Monday, February 20, 2006

Cartoon Violence

Recently I received an email from a friend, a visual artist, about the Danish cartoons that have led to violent clashes with Moslem demonstrators in some parts of the world. He wrote:

Is this what all the fuss is about? find attached a copy of the danish cartoons in question. pretty lame if you ask me.

And I replied:

There was a segment about this story on TV last night (60 Minutes). The cartoons included in your email were the only ones that appeared in the Danish newspaper. Apparently an Islamic cleric in Denmark send those along with other ones that were very offensive to his contacts in Iran, implying that all of them had been published. So this hatemonger went out of his way to stir up trouble.

But I can understand why some Moslems are reacting in such a severe way. (I understand why; I don't agree with it.) Look at how a nation's flag, especially in the US, is considered to be sacred by a majority of its citizens. People have been brainwashed by those in power to blindly believe in a particular system, including the veneration of the system's symbol. Fight for the symbol. Carry the symbol into battle. Die for the symbol; never let the enemy gain the symbol in a fight. It's the usual politico-religious mind control crap that has been going on since the days of the caveman. Tribalism lives. The tribal leaders want their followers to be swept up in the emotion to the point that no questions are asked. Look at how W & Co. jingoed the US into an unwinnable war in Iraq. The hypnotic power of flag waving.

So don't be surprised how cartoons can be cynically used to inflame a particular group into violent confrontation.

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