Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

February 19, 2008

Your Danish Cartoons Hangover Update

* the major action is in Egypt today: four international newspapers were banned by government officials for recent republication of the images, the Danish ambassadors were summoned, and thousands of students protested. Also, two soccer matches canceled.

* Jordan's parliament criticizes the republication. Yemen takes back their class ring.

* here's a criticism of Reuters for calling the youths torching things in Denmark youths instead of calling them something else based on the fact that the three arrested in the Westergaard plot weren't youths. I think.

* here's a criticism of Denmark officials that canceled a trip to Iran.

* one article suggests in no uncertain terms that the recent unrest in Denmark widely credited to the republication of the cartoons is about police harassment, according to what the protesters themselves are saying. They're now back in school, 600 fires or so to their credit this last week.

* another news article suggests that the destruction of a YMCA library in the Gaza Strip was due to the recent re-publication.

* this call to expel the two foreign national being held on beliefs they participated in an assassination plot against Danish cartoons cartoonist Kurt Westergaard intrigues me because I thought officials were planning to expel them immediately. Guess they haven't.

* the BBC describes Denmark's Muslim community as "dismayed but determined."

* Malaysian officials say they won't interfere in the matter out of respect of requests from Danish Muslims.

* I had no idea there was a campaign to get Wikipedia to take their Jyllands-Posten Muhammed images down.

* this Guardian blogger suggests that while some newspapers seemed cautious in republishing their cartoons, others seem to have delighted in doing so, mentioning that Jyllands-Posten actually used the turban-bomb guy as the "O" in "Posten"! I'm sympathetic to that writer's differentiation between the right to publish something potentially offensive and the obligation to publish something potentially offensive.

* as a personal note, I find interesting the debate over whether the re-publication of the bomb-in-turban cartoon is really the cause of some of the recent actions, and/or which ones they might be cause of, and/or to what extent other factors play a role. I think claims of direct causation have to be taken with a grain of salt, particularly when an article tries to paint a picture of a group of people being so upset about the cartoons' publication or re-publication that they take to streets or organize a protest filled with passion and rage about that specific incident. It's a lot tricker than that, and I think that while perhaps for some it could be that kind of passionate motivating factor, for others the publication of the cartoons may simply serve as a trigger incident or a timing factor or even a masking circumstance for a variety of motivations that get shorter shrift. Still, even if the cartoons were simply being scapegoated, that's interesting in and of itself as well. I'm not sure we're even close to nailing down the broader issue of exactly what upsets the people who are upset, for instance to what degree the simple publication angers some people and to what extent the anger is about the hostility they feel is behind a public institution doing this.

* Fox News checks in on Aleksandr Sdvizhkov, the editor in Belarus jailed for publication of the Danish cartoons in March 2006, near the height of the initial international riots and political turmoil.
posted 9:10 am PST | Permalink

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