The Cartoon Controversy
A lot of water has passed under the bridge following the tasteless stereotypical and shocking ‘Danish cartoons’ and the not less shockingly violent response in the Islamic world. I haven’t really broached this topic as I was waiting for things to cool down and also too much ink ( or for that matter megabytes) has already been devoted to it.
This is not an Islamic-Christian conflict because Christianity in the West is just as badly handled as Islam ( in terms of caricaturing etc…). Even in so called ‘democratic’ countries, freedom of expression is not absolute but is governed by laws. Claiming the right to publish Islamophobic caricatures in the name of democracy is the best and shortest way to discredit this very democracy in the eyes of millions of Muslims and to pit peoples against each other.
Neither society nor civilization can live without freedom but at the same time they cannot live without interdictions . Hence, the West is currently living in a crisis - a spiritual crisis; while the Muslim countries -characterized for years by failure and impotence would still be deserving of respect despite the reactions. Maybe we would like to make the West ponder about its own society?
However, does that mean that one of the two camps should concede, abandon freedom of expression or accept to be insulted in the wave of such a ‘freedom’? A freedom which if not properly guided can hide the greatest intolerance of all. We have to think deeply of the significance of this crisis. If the cartoons have hurt it is a demonstration of an ignorance of the multiple complex reality of the Middle East.
If the calls for censorship have shocked , they show ignorance of the history and values of the West.
So the clash is that of ignorance on both sides and NOT of civilizations. The solution is not in mutual renunciation of our identity, but lies in discovering each other in hearing each other in understanding what brings us together but also what distinguishes us from each other. Knowing each other is UNDERSTANDING, understanding means ACCEPTING each other.
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