Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cartoon Controversy

The controversy surrounding Muslim protests against a Danish Cartoon depicting the prophet Muhammad as a terrorist keeps getting more and more interesting. You've all heard that people are being killed in violent protests, Muslims are very pissed off, and Denmark is experiencing various forms of outrage including economic boycotts and violence against their interests abroad.

Now, it appears that the entire controversy was manufactured at the hands of some radical Muslim Clerics, who wished to incite anti-Western sentiment among Muslims. Mission Accomplished, as our fake cowboy President would say. In an interview with NPR yesterday, an Egyptian Cleric at the heart of the issue refused to take responsibility for the violence and death that has resulted from inciting these people.

I have two things to say about this, one for Muslims and one for Americans, particularly those who are critical of Muslims' response in this case.

Muslims already have a huge public image problem. You constantly hear people officials in Iraq and other countries pleading the case that Muslims are not violent people, and it's only a radical few that make the news. The problem is that their actions keep reinforcing the stereotype that Muslims use terrorism to further their cause. Violence and terror are not core values in the Muslim faith, but it's hard to demonstrate that when the collective response in multiple countries is to kill people and burn buildings because of a political cartoon or worse, because your Cleric manipulated you into reacting violently. If you don't want Muhammad to be portrayed at all, let alone as a terrorist, maybe you shouldn't react in violence every time you get pissed off about something. Buddha doesn't seem to have this same problem.

The other issue that gets me about this situation are all the Americans who fail to see the parallel between Muslim Clerics inciting violence based on a political cartoon, and our President inciting our country into war against a foreign nation with lies and false intelligence. Before you start making generalities about Muslims and their propensity for violence, perhaps you should look in the mirror, America. We have no room to talk about being violent, particularly when our President has made comments that his invasion of Iraq is part of God's devine plan for his Administration. Like Oprah, you were all duped, and you're still too stupid to see the connection between these two situations.

Even if Saddam isn't ruling the country, it's apparent from other Middle East democratic elections that after dumping billions of US dollars (remember when the oil revenue was going to pay for the war! HA!), we might end up with a legitimately elected terrorist group like Hamas or Hezzbollah running the government of Iraq.

For those of you who like history, I want to give you a quick reminder about a little communist stronghold that I like to call Cuba. There aren't a lot of us still alive who are old enough to remember Cuba from the time immediately after the Spanish-American War around the turn of the 20th Century and our good friend Fidel Castro.

You see, Iraq isn't the first country where we've tried to install Democracy 2.0 for Mac OS X. After the Spanish-American War, the United States made feeble attempt after feeble attempt to install and prop up pro-American government officials in Cuba. To summarize a 60-year struggle briefly, installing a pro-American democratic government in Cuba never worked. Some might even say that it backfired, when you consider that in 1962, we nearly became nuclear fodder because of our imperial hubris.

Iraq has all of the same complexities as Cuba did at the turn of the 20th Century, except that instead of oil, we wanted Cuba's sugar. Iraq also has the added issues of complete regional chaos, and a long history of civil war. Hang on folks. The next 60 years could be a pretty damned wild ride.

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