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Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not "freedom
Florian Cramer on Fri, 10 Feb 2006 11:13:58 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not "freedom of thepress"


Am Donnerstag, 09. Februar 2006 um 12:32:37 Uhr (-0800) schrieb Ayhan Aytes:
> 1. Christians criticizing Christianity is one thing, Christians
> criticizing, Jews, Muslims, Gypsies is another. 

I disagree. Freedom of speech means that everyone may criticize everyone. Besides,
we don't even know whether the people who drew those caricatures were Christians.
Maybe they were atheists and disliked all religions alike.

> Europe had learnt that
> with one of the hardest lessons of the history. 

You mistake "criticizing" for "annihilating".

> 2. The representation code is different in different religions and
> imposing the codes of Christian iconography over other cultures is a
> violence that is an extension of Orientalist motives. 

I hope you mean "violence" in a metaphorical sense. Otherwise, anyone in the world
could claim to be the victim of violence for any made-up reason and draw (really)
violent conclusions from that. Maybe the caricatures are symbolic violence - just
as there is symbolical violence of Moslems against Jews and mpst religions against
other religions -, but if we ban symbolic violence, we no longer live in a free
culture.

> 3. Larger context. Denmark is one of members of the holly alliance that
> is currently invading Iraq. If this caricature had published somewhere
> else its effect would have been different.

But still the newspaper is not the country. The protest in Islamic
countries are just a proof that people there have been deprived by their
governments (for whose existence, no doubt, the West is to be blamed)
from free media and therefore think that something that is printed in a
newspaper is the official voice of the state.

> So, let's drop this freedom of speech pedantry 

No. Never.

> what is really happening. Our concepts of discussion should be based on
> the examples of Nazi era caricatures that represents Jews, 

I agree. Such caricatures are outlawed in my own home country (Germany),
and while I dislike them, I also strongly disagree with the laws that do
ban them. Denmark doesn't have such laws, btw..

> which also could be discussed under the terms of freedom of speech,
> but we don't do that. 

I do.

> Because freedom in democratic countries is not the freedom of the
> powerful to oppress the weak. 

Again, you mix up symbolic and physical action. Yes, it is the flip side
of freedom of expression that it may be used for the powerful against
the weak, and abused for purposes we consider morally wrong. 

> The meaning of democracy is to give the
> weak a voice and secure it in every condition. 

No, this is not the meaning of democracy. Democracy means that any voice
may be heard.

> In Denmark the freedom of
> minority is being oppressed with this example. 

To believe that a drawing oppresses the freedom of people means to
leave the grounds of rational discourse.

-F

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