Monday, February 13, 2006

not being funny

The Muhammad cartoon story has given everybody the opportunity to behave like a caricature of themselves. A chance for all the world's cliches and streotypes to go on a rampage. It's mainly very boring. You've got European infidels behaving like disrespectful pigs and Middle-Eastern scary Muslims shouting things in chorus and burning down embassies. It's like a bad Hollywood movie.
Anyway. I wouldn't have mentioned the whole thing unless I thought I had a point to make.

In 1997, a Israeli art student named Tatiana Sosskin drew a caricature of the Prophet as a pig and posted it around the city of Hebron al-Khalil with her husband. Both were right-wing settlers. This was immediatley condemned by more or less all the mainstream parties in Israel; Bibi Netanyahu, Prime-Minister at the time and a swine himself, called the mayor of Hebron to express his revulsion. Sosskin was arrested, and then setnenced to two years in prison on the charges of racism, vandalism, and religious offense. Nobody was talking about her freedom of speech. You can say lots of things about Israelis, but they're not stupid. They know well that you don't play with such offensive-explosive bullshit. As long as it's in their back-yard. When it's in Denmark, suddenly it's a different matter, and indeed israeli commentators on websites writing about the Danish cartoons were producing the standard jolly racist anti-muslim rants, nobody seems to recall the Sosskin story. I tried to google it and there's not much (see haaretz article here). Considering that the Danish cartoons of Muhammad are in the front pages for a week it is strange that the Sosskin story doesn't get mentioned.

The most interesting thing relating to this was to read blogs from Jordan and Syria. A really intersting post dealt with the Prophet's representations in Islamic figurative art; unfortunely it's gone now - the blogger probably felt it's the wrong timing for such matters - but you can find on google cache, here (scroll down, it's called 'the face of Muhammad').
Also, Syrian bloggers were unanimous in expressing their shame and shock at the burning of the the Danish embassy. For a round up of their comments, see Earth to Omar: Syrians Against Violence - Reactions from the Syrian blogosphere.

1 comment:

Omar said...

thanks for echoeing are voice. Unlike many people think, we have a humane and sensitive side too. Nice blog btw :)