Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Cast that stone!
Today an anonymous commentator on this blog brought to my attention that a prominent Iranian newspaper says it is going to hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust. Do you want to guess why? Well, of course, to test whether the West will apply the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide against Jews as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Why else?
Forgive me for the cynicism but a newspaper in Iran - run by allies of that country's Jew-hating current president - printing cartoons that might possibly be anti-Jew? Who thought we would ever see that day?
What do you think? Forgive me again, but I, for one, think Iranian newspapers - particularly ones run by cronies of the current president of Iran - should go ahead and run any sort of disturbing Holocaust cartoons they want to. As a matter of fact, I strongly support the right of Iranian newspapers to freely publish whatever they desire. This is, sadly, more than can be said about the Iranian government, whose grip on the press in that country is so total that the 2005 Reporters Without Borders Annual World Press Freedom Index has Iran listed 163rd in a field of 167 (a field in which Denmark, incidentally, ranked number one).
Speaking from a worldly point of view, one can hope that when the allies of Iran's president are enjoying their invigorating smidgen of "free expression," they might consider asking their chum for a little more genuine freedom of the press while they're at it. But, you know, the powers and principalities would need a little tweaking toward the light. So, I'm not exactly holding my breath for that one. After all, if something like that should take place the people who run the paper probably wouldn't remain buddies of the president of Iran. And we all have seen how problematic that can be! I certainly hope they give it a try.
Note: In his 1990 book The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah and the West, Daniel Pipes previewed virtually every facet of the present cartoon intifada. New York Sun carries Pipes's column on the subject: "Cartoons and Islamic imperialism."
BTW: Speaking of Iran and freedom and broader issues of diplomacy, did you know that attacks on foreign embassies are, in fact, attacks on the countries they represent? It is up to the host country to defend embassies from attack. Yet in Iran, such attacks go on.
Denmark protested to Iran about a second day of attacks on its Tehran embassy on Tuesday and demanded protection for its diplomats, amid Muslim outrage at cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad first published in Denmark.
Does it really matter who cast the first stone once it’s thrown?
“As you come to him, the living Stone - rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him - you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message - which is also what they were destined for.” (The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (1 Pe 2:4). Grand Rapids: Zondervan)
“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” (The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Mt 7:9). Grand Rapids: Zondervan)