Sunday, March 30, 2008

Recipe for an Insane World

Mark Steyn:
The Internet will keep Fitna alive in odd corners hither and yon, but only to those who actively seek it out. In the wider world, it goes without saying that such a film is unacceptable, and that this time round the pre-emptive rage (as Diana West calls it) was so successful the next Fitna will have an even harder time: no movie theaters or broadcast networks or obscure cable channels would even consider showing it, and Google and YouTube and the other Internet biggies have grown increasingly comfortable with political speech-policing, and now one more small net operation has learned that, unless you want to be a 24/7 crusader on this issue, it's not a business worth being in. In effect, the Islamobullies have been rewarded yet again for threatening physical violence. The best way to end the debate is to make the price of having one too high.

To reprise Douglas Murray's point below, a film such as Fitna might not even be necessary were the western news organizations not so absurdly deferential toward Muslim sensibilities that they go out of their way to avoid showing us anything that might cause us to link violence with Islam. Even that footage of those depraved West Bankers jumping up and down in the street and passing out candy to celebrate 9/11 appears to have been walled up in the most impenetrable vault of the archives these last six years. Both CNN and the BBC could only bring themselves to show the Danish cartoons by pixelating Mohammed's face - the first time this technique has ever been applied to a drawing, as if the Prophet had entered the witness protection program. At one level, they make Wilders' point for him, but, at another, they make it less likely anyone else will step forward to try to make the point next time.

In reality, it's the small band of people trying to resist the de facto universalization of Islamic prohibitions that have to enter the witness protection program.
Wretchard the Cat:
An ex-Muslim cartoonist is authoring the first R-rated cartoon film showing Mohammed and his 9 year old bride according to the Gateway Pundit. The Sugiero blog writes: "Ehsan Jami decided to reject Islam after the 9/11 terror attacks. Since then he has defended the right of religious freedom, with the usual consequences ... "

Jami is in hiding in the Netherlands. Sugiero remarks that Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who "has written a letter to Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in which he says that the views presented in the anti-Qur'an film of populist leader Geert Wilders do not represent those of the Dutch government" will be writing a lot more letters. Yesterday for Wilders, tomorrow for Jami, and the day after for who knows who?

In an earlier post I predicted that European leaders, "Human Rights" committees and all the assorted enforcers of politically correct speech would eventually be trapped in a whack-a-mole mode. They'll be busy fighting a cultural counter-insurgency.

If al-Qaeda is smart it will do the unexpected and refrain from issuing any more fatwas; to quit presuming a veto power over Western cultural and political institutions. If Islamic radicals back off, most people will lose interest in these Mohammed parody cartoons, which frankly have a limited market on their own merits and whose attraction is principally that of symbols of resistance. But if groups like al-Qaeda continue with a campaign of intimidation and terror, they will be met with a campaign of blasphemy the likes of which they never imagined possible. And who knows where it goes from there?
And my guess is that the instruments of political correctness will shatter under the effort of waging a sustained cultural counter-insurgency. They will use up their own jihadi cultural fifth column in futile attacks against never ending targets. Political correctness works when applied in small, gradual steps. What the Mohammed cartoons have done is force political correctness to overreach.

One of the enduring lessons of history is that the worm, tormented long enough, always turns.

People's Cube:
Following the misery inflicted on Islam by a toy bear that ended up with calls for the execution of an English woman, more Muslims are stepping forward with stories of long-suppressed emotional trauma imposed on them by so-called reality. This has led to the creation of support groups and social networks that help followers of the Prophet Mohammed cope with the agony of learning about life outside of their immediate environment, offering assistance with technical resources, practical guidance, and strategies for early intervention and punishment of those who offend Islam.

And there's more at the Cube
Claudia Rossett:
At least Kofi Annan considered it sufficient to style himself merely as “Chief Diplomat of the World.” Ban Ki-Moon has just taken that a step further, offering his services as World’s Chief Film Critic — or, more precisely, Chief Internet Censor. Following the internet broadcast of Geert Wilders “Fitna,” Ban lost no time in personally denouncing the video as “offensively anti-Islamic” and stating — (whatever this quasi-diplo-speak is really supposed to mean) — “I acknowledge the efforts of the Dutch government to stop the broadcast of this film” and “Freedom must always be accompanied by social responsibility.”

For the Secretary-General of the United Nations to start vetting individual video productions seems ill-advised at best. According to the UN charter, Ban’s job description doesn’t actually extend beyond serving as chief administrative officer of the UN — a role in which he has already failed at matters as basic as protecting whistleblowers or fulfilling his own promises of financial transparency. But if Ban insists on exercising the freedom to pipe up from his stage-center UN podium with his opinions on individual broadcasts, then is it responsible — “socially,” or in any other sense — for Ban to focus his attentions so narrowly on Geert Wilders?

If Ban has now appropriated as part of his UN portfolio the job of vetting broadcasts that he thinks might disturb viewers somewhere around the globe, where are the rest of his critiques? Following his targeting of Wilders, surely we now have every right to expect from broadcast-critic Ban a flow of daily, specific, individually targeted condemnations of the videos, TV shows and films emanating from places such as Egypt, Hamas-controlled Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. Where, for instance, is Ban’s statement deploring the grotesquely offensive Iranian TV cartoon propaganda series for kids, translated recently by the monitoring service, MEMRI TV: “The Child and the Invader” — ?

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