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<nettime> the right to be offended [recktenwald, cramer, brownson, hashe
nettime's_emotional_antenna on Wed, 22 Feb 2006 04:33:25 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> the right to be offended [recktenwald, cramer, brownson, hashemi]

Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend
     Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
     Florian Cramer <cantsin {AT} zedat.fu-berlin.de>
     "J. A. Jamil Brownson" <jambro {AT} mac.com>
     Gita Hashemi <gita {AT} ping.ca>

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Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 23:48:17 +0100
From: Heiko Recktenwald <uzs106 {AT} uni-bonn.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend

Dear Florian, she can say whatever she wants, it is an interesting 
topic, but it says nothing on the riots. This is something completely 
different. We had the weapons of massdestruction, now we have the 
cartoons. Bush etc did not tell us the truth, so what, the war in Iraq 
is real. Same with the cartoons, some may have been faked etc, so what, 
the riots are real.  Something has changed, whatever it is, it has 
nothing to do with freedom of speech.


Florian Cramer wrote:

> [In order not to be mistaken, I think there are a quite number of
> problematic points and simplifications in the speech below, such as
> the complete lack of reflection that the Danish newspaper acted sleazy
> and hypocritical, and that regimes like Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist
> without massive Western backing. I also find it problematic to argue
> against religious fundamentalism in a preaching rhetoric.
> Nevertheless, I think she brings up some issues worth reminding
> oneself of in this debate, and her comparison with East Block
> communism and the sometimes appeasing or apologetic rhetoric in the
> Western left before 1989 is spot-on, IMHO.  -F]

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Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 22:12:02 +0100
From: Florian Cramer <cantsin {AT} zedat.fu-berlin.de>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend

Am Sonntag, 19. Februar 2006 um 20:32:38 Uhr (-0800) schrieb coco fusco:

>   There are plenty of right wing protests in the US against abortion,
>   gay marriage and a host of other "liberal issues."Many are carried
>   out under the instructions of Christian fundamentalist ministers. I
>   am not in favor of bombing clinics, but those groups have as much
>   right to protest as I have to express myself, whether I like it or
>   not. 

I was not suggesting that muslims didn't have every right to protest,
although you will probably agree that burning down embassies isn't quite
part of that concept. (But let's just assume for good that there might
have been independent protesters on the one hand, and government agents
provocateurs who set fire to the embassies on the other - because,
realistically, you can't set fire to an embassy without local
authorities permitting it.)

But the both the diplomatic intervention of Arab states in Denmark
before the protests and the protests themselves voiced one clear
political demand to the Danish state: To take action against the
cartoonists and the newspaper. This is a demand that noone should find
acceptable. On top of that, it's founded on an authoritarian
understanding of state governance. Danish Muslim organizations had every
right to sue the newspaper in a Danish court using the Danish blasphemy
law (no that I would be fond of that, but it's their right). But
instead, they asked the Danish government for direct action against the

Over here in Berlin, the (peaceful) Muslim protesters in front of the
Danish embassy held up billboards that said "no free speech for
blasphemists". Sorry, but this goes too far in my book. The freedom to
blasphemy is an important one, and concerns your artistic work, too.



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Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 23:47:42 +0200
From: "J. A. Jamil Brownson" <jambro {AT} mac.com>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend

interesting discussion, & getting more so ... as well as more varied ...
ayaan hirsi ali opens a door similar to what canadian pop celeb irshad
manjii did in her not very well written or researched best seller "what
is wrong with islam" poor irshad wants islam to change & more visionary
or illusionary, muslims to change and accept her as a lesbian, radical,
postmodern muslim ... as the personals say "spiritual but not religious" 

many twists & turns, in the opening rifts in threads between american &
european perspectives ... but so far, i have not received any feedback
from my comments so am wondering if i am blowing into the wind here ... 

forget cartoons, they are no more than lightening rods for problems far
deeper than most of what has been put forward so far ... a muslim world
still stepped in neo-colonial struggles, is not much different from
africa / latin america, only more controlled by fascist-gangster
political forces & with the failures of all post colonial regimes to
bring about material benefit to people, pan-arab-ism, nationalism,
socialism, & now capitalism are all failing & regimes as bad as saddam's
iraq still exist in the us pocket ... the world seems bereft of a strong
left after the failures  of ussr & china & rise of turbo capitalism ...
rightist & religio-fascist powers are ascendent, poland as recent

religion is no more than a smokescreen or a trigger for emotion ..
witness the current mass hysteria in portugal over the 3rd sister of
fatima .. & sainthood, all mixed with nationalism & religious
ethnocentricism, economic & political opportunism,  ...

ignorence is no excuse but rather a reality ... we live among mass
ignorance, whether intentional or fateful, perhaps the film matrix has
the right question ... do you want the blue pill or the red one... most
choose illusions & fantasies over the tough vision of reality, which
sucks, at best, & leads to melencholy & in the direction of misanthropy

jamil b. 
On Monday, February 20, 2006, at 10:16PM, coco fusco
<animas999 {AT} yahoo.com> wrote:

>There is a problem with the logic involved in posting "The Right to
>Offend" as a response to protests. The existence of protests is not
>necessarily equatable with the suppression of freedom of speech. There
>is just as much of a right to protest as there is to free speech. I am
>sure there are many secular muslims who are against the protests
>against the cartoons, just as there are Arab women who are against the
>veil, etc etc etc. Shall we all marvel forever at the diversity of
>opinion in the muslim world or can we just accept that as a given? Who
>presumes all muslims to think one way?

Jamil Brownson, PhD
Historical Geopolitics, Eurasian & Mediterranean Studies

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Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 04:48:34 -0500
To: Nettime <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net>
From: Gita Hashemi <gita {AT} ping.ca>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend

responding as an iranian feminist atheist with an islamic heritage:

i've been reading the exchanges, particularly florian's responses, 
with some amazement.  one can only be speaking from a 
priviledged/hegemonic position to be able to disregard the dynmaics 
of power - locally and globally - and insist on abstract absolutes 
and insist that what's at issue here is "freedom of speech".  this so 
soon following the recent race riots in france and australia!!

1- parody is a deconstructive/subversive form when it takes position 
against the dominant power.  when it is directed against the 
underdog, it is propaganda and hate-mongering.  others have listed 
many historical examples already in this discussion (nazi germany, 
white fascist u.s., etc.)

2- the self-righteous european male bemoaning the absence of freedom 
in islamic countries while neglecting the role of european and u.s. 
neo/colonialism in establishing/strengthening/supporting islamic 
fundamentalism (remember taliban? and who do you think keeps the 
saudi monarchy in place?) doesn't even make me sick any more.  it 
just makes me shut my eyes and ears.  the european "left" is yet to 
account for its failures because, on the whole, it remains racist and 
ignorant of its own history and motives.

3- the concrete effect of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons and their 
re-publication band-wagon is nothing but the strengthening of the 
fundamentalist islamic positions on the ground and renewed siege of 
democratic forces in islamic countries.  this is most useful to none 
other than u.s./european military colonialism in the region.  by 
aligning themselves with or even inciting the popular outrage, the 
puppet regimes in power in most islamic countries manage to quell 
indigenous democratic opposition and stay in power while signing away 
all kinds of resources and rights to western corporations and 
governments.  contrary to propaganda, the "west" actually benefits 
from islamic fundamentalism.

4- "mirrors should think longer before they reflect."  - jean cocteau

5- please clean the shit in your own home first.

be well.


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