The Chained Duck [Le Canard Enchaine] on European Union Pusillanimity facing the Cartoon Riots
AND WHEN IS THERE ZERO INTOLERANCE?
We can't say whether Muhammad is rejoicing among the virgins of Paradise over the course taken by the affair of the Muhammad caricatures. But, most assuredly, his most radical zealots can feel happy. That these extremists have succeeded, in Syria, in Iran, in Palestine [sic!] or in Lebanon, in dedicating themselves to appealing for murder or massacre --almost without punishment-- and have left embassies to burn, is certainly not very surprising, if we agree that (see the previous Canard) these demonstrations took place with the blessing of those countries that have instrumentalized the "just anger of the believers." On the other hand, what is more surprising is the attitude of the European states, including our own, which are reacting in this affair as if they were guilty.
Even our great specialists in martial boasting and the warlike chin are not raising their voices. Chirac has kept on about the "wounding" character of the drawings but has not said one word about the attack on the French embassy in Teheran. Villepin [French prime minister] did not make a speech about it at the UN. He is saying nothing. Douste, the foreign minister, does no more, and we are still waiting for a diatribe from the minister of religion, Sarko [Sarkozy], about zero intolerance!
On the part of Europe [that is, the EU], things are not, if one dares say so, much brighter and shinier, Visiting the Gulf countries, before hearing the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian [sic!] leaders on this subject, Javier Solana, high representative of European Union foreign policy, did not come with his words strong and high but with his head low. Like the accused in a court. Not one word of protest, no legal demand, as is ordinarily done for less than that [the cartoon riots against EU embassies]. Before he had even opened his mouth, the Organization of the Islamic Conference proposed to him right off that he have the European Parliament vote "laws against Islamophobia," a "code of conduct for the European media," and "a code of international communications that would define the limits of freedom of expression in the domain of religious symbols." Nothing less! He barely escaped a demand for excuses.
In short, a Danish newspaper publishes twelve not very good newspaper cartoons, which unleashes the delirious chain reaction that we are familiar with, which has caused ten collateral deaths, wild destruction of embassies, has obliged Denmark --not to recall its ambassadors to the abovementioned countries, but-- to evacuate them for "reasons of security," and the only European [that is, EU] reaction, is to look like it's beating itself mea culpa, and letting itself be preached to, to be called to religious order. To be sure, the trip [Solana's] is not over yet. And, beyond the old debate over freedom of expression and freedom of religion, it shouldn't mean unleashing a war, further poisoning the affair or adding more to it, but defusing a crisis and calming the game. For all that, it is far from certain that the low profile, the timorous attitude, the lack of a clear, determined position facing Islamic fundamentalism and unacceptable threats, are the most appropriate method.
On account of Iraq and of his personal religiosity, this position is that defended by Bush, who calls for a "responsible attitude by the European countries." But if this "responsibility," under the pretext of calming "a feeling of uncontrollable anger," is to turn the other cheek after having taking a violent, undeserved slap, it is as ineffective as it is risky. Before this affair subsides by itself, this kind of behavior might have the secondary effect of giving countries like Syria, Iran and their partners the assurance that they can continue to instrumentalize "blasphemy" for the welfare of their political interests.
And they will be able to do this with the certitude that on the first occasion, and with a new pretext, they can begin again tomorrow. They have already understood it. It is not necessary to draw a cartoon for them.
Eric Emptaz, Le Canard Enchaine, 15 fevrier 2006 [translation revised 2-28-2006]
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Note that Le Canard Enchaine is criticizing not only the repellent lowlife Solana but George Bush junior as well. It seems that George is willing to tolerate the intolerable, at least if it comes from Arabs or other Muslims. Neither the EU states nor the EU foreign policy establishment [Solana] nor the US Government has been in solidarity with Denmark, or with the principle of free speech. After viewing Bob Simon's pro-Muslim fanatic propaganda piece on Sixty Minutes about this issue, it seems that a major US TV network is propagating against freedom of expression.
After all, the cartoons were rather mild. By reacting as they did, the Muslim mobs confirmed the view of themselves elsewhere as fanatic maniacs.
Regarding the proposals made to Solana by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, see the previous post here. By the way, Sarkozy is minister of interior [police], not of religion. There is no ministry of religion in France.
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Coming: The Jewish majority in Jerusalem in 1853, poems of Zion, Jews suffering as dhimmis, etc.