Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon that launched more than a thousand fires

No, It is not this cartoon. Editorial Cartoon of Philippine Daily Inquirer Feb 8, 2006 The following link will take you to While reading, I came across this Editorial Cartoon at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. There is a quote that goes a picture is worth a thousand words; in this case a this caricature is worth a thousand words. Ha Ha Ha! Editorial cartoons have been part of any newspaper. In fact, an editorial cartoon is a good chronicler of political events. Just check the US editorial cartoons during the time when the United States was just beginning to colonize the Philippine Islands. It is an interesting record of the opinions on US Imperialism. A book entitled “Cartoon History of Republic by E.J. Izon is a good way of summarizing the issues that have been the core of contention during the time of early Philippine Republic after World War II. Of course, editorial cartoons are expressions of point of views on a given issue. Rarely has it caused adverse and extreme reaction. However, lately another set of editorial cartoons - depicting the prophet Mohammed in an unflattering light - has caused massive and widespread condemnation and violent reprisals across the Muslim world. The cartoons, which in one cartoon depicted the Prophet’s turban as a bomb, seemed to have been used by extremists to incite mobs across the world: Massive demonstrations were held against the editorial cartoons and the European nations where the cartoons were published. In Palestine, mobs shot at the office of the European Union and European nationals fled as threats were made against their persons. In Lebanon, an Embassy was torched by a mob. In addition, in several Arab countries, Muslims decided not to buy goods and products from a number of European countries. So it is the burning of flags, diplomatic offices, economic boycott of a number of European products, and the threat against of a number of European nationals. At least no one has issued a Fatwah against the artist who drew the editorial cartoon. When Salman Rushdie came out with the Satanic Verses. The Ayatollah of Iran issued the death sentence and Rushdie went into hiding and stay incognito for several years. At least he did not end like the Japanese translator of Satanic Verses who was stabbed to death. Confronted with this reaction the Western newspapers continued and even increased the publishing of the said cartoons. The political leaders of course were busy saying sorry to the Muslim communities around the world. One can understand the anger felt by all Muslims. The caricatures depicted the Prophet in an unflattering light and it violated a Muslim practice that forbade the depiction of the Prophet, it is considered idolatry. I remember looking at a series of painting about the life of the Prophet Mohammed as a child and there he was the Prophet Mohammed depicted a full figure without a face. However, the violent reactions that followed seemed to have been orchestrated by Islamic extremists. The only time in recorded human history when this happened, the frenzied unifying of the followers of Islam, was when the Crusaders captured and sacked Jerusalem, in the process massacring several people in the Mosque. It was said the blood filled up the floor of the Mosque. Slaughtered people in a pool blood. Not difficult to see why the Crusaders were eventually wiped out of the Holy Land and Kingdom of Jerusalem destroyed. France, In the court of Capets, there once was an artist who did a series of drawings of the King. The drawings showed the transformation of the King's face into a peach. Nearly everyone in the court had a laugh. Unfortunately, for the artist the King did not find his art work amusing. More unfortunate for the artist the King was one of those who well shall we say not pleased with his work. Drawings can sometimes be things of extreme danger. Where will the violent reactions to the editorial cartoons lead humanity? An Additional Post Araneta Colisuem and Gateway Mall


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