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Re: <nettime> publication of "Jyllands-Posten" cartoons is not "freedom
Florian Cramer on Fri, 10 Feb 2006 11:16:25 +0100 (CET)


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


Am Donnerstag, 09. Februar 2006 um 14:27:51 Uhr (-0800) schrieb Ayhan Aytes:
> No I mean the violence in its literal sense, in this case through
> cultural means of political oppression of minorities. We should remember
> that Muslims in Denmark are minorities. The Atheist response to
> Christian majority culture can be supported when they use the Jesus
> cartoons to stand against this oppression. But when the majority uses
> the same method against Muslim minority it becomes a totalitarian tool
> to oppress Muslim minority. 

Allow me to disagree. "Totalitarian" implies that it's more than just symbols, but
a physical oppression program. If the latter were the case, then there would be a
justified reason to consider it political oppression of minorities.

In any case, I am an atheist, and I wouldn't consider it "oppression" if
Christians in Europe, Muslims in Arab countries or Jews in Israel would depict
atheists in the way Muslims have been depicted in Denmark - although I might not
be amused.

Protest against these caricatures is fine by me, but it's never okay to deny other
people the right to draw such caricatures, or even worse, hold whole nations
responsible for them.

> You may support the Nazi era propaganda
> cartoons but I hope not in the mainstream media for the purpose of
> oppressing Jewish people in Europe and creating the propaganda platform
> to exterminate them. 

See, I consider the politics of extermination the crime, but not the propaganda.
Of course, I find the propaganda despisable and would criticize it in every
aspect. But it's a difference of considering something unethical - but not illegal
- and considering something a crime that should legally prosecuted.  This is why I
am opposed to the fact that a film like "Triumph of the Will" is banned in my
country.

> If this is the case then I hope Muslims are not the
> new Jews of old Europe. 

I agree. But banning caricatures doesn't help a bit - in fact, it makes matters
worse because it would camouflage those sentiments. 

> Yes. Denmark has a law providing for fines and up to four months in jail
> for anyone who "publicly offends or insults a religion that is
> recognized in the country." 

Sorry, I probably mixed it up with the Netherlands. I am strongly opposed to such
laws - and even more to the fact that some religions are "recognized" by the
countries and apparently some others not.

> If this newspaper had earlier rejected
> publishing Jesus cartoons based on the same law they should have acted
> consistently in this case too. 

I agree. But this is a matter of editorial policy and its ethics - which might be
questionable -, but not of legal prosecution.

> Their double standard is the sign of
> their insincerity in their excuse on behalf of freedom of speech. 

I agree, too. I know that they aren't a good ally for my own views. But as Rosa
Luxemburg said, "freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently,
too".

> "To believe that a drawing oppresses the freedom of people means to
> leave the grounds of rational discourse."
> To believe otherwise with no discrete sense of the political use of
> representations is welcoming Nazi era propaganda as freedom of speech.

Not "welcoming", but tolerating. That's a very important difference.

> The freedom of speech can only be protected when its meaning is
> preserved against this erosion through Orwellian totalitarian rhetoric. 

Not rhetoric, but politics. If freedom of speech can be eroded through rhetoric
alone, then the concept is meaningless.

> If you want to capture the true meanings of things always mind the
> subject. 

I find the concept of a "true meaning of things" highly problematic by itself.

-F

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