Oh what a phoney war!

The Mohammed Cartoons get yet more attention today in Times, with Andrew Sullivan adding his ‘considered’ opinion on the matter, all of which amounts to:

…much of the “offence

10 thoughts on “Oh what a phoney war!

  1. “It’s less than a hundred years since women were granted the franchise anywhere in the world”

    New Zealand, 1893. I agree with most of what you’re actually saying, mind you.

  2. so what makes us think that we can demand that Islam walks that road overnight?

    Well, the fact that it’s been walked before, and that the results of democracy and sexual equality are here (in the UK and elsewhere) for all to see. Our legislators had to rely upon conviction and/or moral/religious principle, with few examples since antiquity to go on: reforms were so often a ‘leap in the dark’.

    The other point is that, OK, homosexuality may only have been legal (let alone accpted) since 1967 in the UK, but when did we last imprison someone for life? That’s another 100 years back. And yet the death penalty continues to exist in Africa and the Middle East.

  3. But still, B4L, it remains our road and not theirs – for democracy et al to mean anything to the Islamic world they have to find those values in themselves. We can certainly help them along the way by engaging with them rationally – show them the path if you will – but they still have to walk that road themselves.

    The post-colonial era is littered with examples of how we’ve tried to give the world democracy only for it fail no soon as we’re out the way and no longer watching over people – think of ‘Big Man’ politics in Africa, states such as Pakistan which flip-flop between between periods of democracy and military rule and now Iraq, where the Shia majority have taken democracy and voted for defacto theocratic rule.

    Our successes, such as they have been, are few and far between – India and South Africa stand out and, crucially, in both cases the democratic will has come from the people, and not from us.

    And today, more and more, those values are coming under threat, not just in place like India, where attitudes to gender equality in parts are heading backwards not forwards, but even in own back yard. If we want to talk about threats to enlightenment values then one has to start with the religious right in the US, which is a far more threatening force than radical Islam.

  4. ‘”It’s less than a hundred years since women were granted the franchise anywhere in the world”

    New Zealand, 1893. I agree with most of what you’re actually saying, mind you.’

    Er, Isle of Man, 1881. But I also agree with what you’re saying.

  5. 1. We’ve, perhaps, inadvertantly caused offence.

    Ummm.. No. Most of these cartoons are anodyne. The one or two that aren’t anodyne are fairly obvious offensive and we all knew that. These cartoons are a protest against the erosion by the hardliners of our freedom of speech.

    2. This has arisen out of cultural differences and is all rather a misunderstanding.

    We think that issuing death threats for drawing NICE pictures of YOUR prophet is not acceptable. This is not a misunderstanding. It is also non-negotiable. We spent quite a lot of time fighting and dying to protect our right to do this. This right has made our society peaceful and prosperous. Your society does not have this right, is not peaceful or prosperous and we are damned if you are going to take this away from us.

    3. Yes, we’re prepared to listen and understand your point of view, but…

    We already recognise your point of view entirely dammit. As an absolute minimum, you must recognise that this is an inalienable right for ALL. It is why there are Muslims in the West at all. They came here to benefit from the prosperity and freedom that this right gives them and that you deny them.

    4. Have you noticed how its your own hard-liners who’re deliberately winding this whole situation up to deliberately provoke conflict where we could all sit down and deal with this rationally?


  6. Now, now P-G, think it through…

    1. Defuse the argument…

    2. and then subvert the intentions of the hard-liners.

    It’s a negotiation – you give a bit to get a lot more back.

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