No doubt, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's energetic president, might use this cartoon* in last Friday's edition of the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel as an excuse to start WWIII.
I suspect there will be an avalanche of apologies from Germany's government in the next couple of days...
(* Left: (most likely) the Iranian national soccer team; right: the 'Bundeswehr' (German military). The cartoon's text: "Why we definitely need the 'Bundeswehr' at the soccer world championships")
Update: According to this report, the caricaturist has received several death threats. He moved out of his home for security reasons. Also, the Iranian embassy in Germany requested an apology from Tagesspiegel. The story is developing...stay tuned. (For the time being we have decided not to correct this posting's headline.)
Another anti-American highlight on Germany's number one public television channel ARD - presented in this Saturday's "Wort zum Sonntag", a Christian TV program.
Our friend DL from Heidelberg endured the intellectual challenge of watching the sermon of Protestant priest Burkhard Mueller. Here are his observations:
Well, it's official, God has spoken to German Pastor Burkhard Mueller and guess what? Violent Islam is all America's fault. The only reason embassies have recently been torched and violent protests have erupted in the Islamic world is because:
"The Christian faith is also a grand religion. This religion is foreign to many and widely unknown. And it has not been made easy for Muslims to recognize the beauty and depth of the Christian religion. The American soldiers are felt to be occupiers in Iraq. There are reports about bombarded towns in Afghanistan. The pictures of Abu Ghraib, the rumors of violations of the Koran in Guantanmo and now the mean spirited and defaming caricatures from Denmark!"
ARD ought to take some of the taxpayer money they use to broadcast such opinions and buy Pastor Mueller a clue. In his February 11 "Word on Sunday" broadcast entitled "The Cup Runneth Over," Mueller went on to say:
"The Danish cartoons were the drops that brought the cup to overflowing. And this cup is full of degradations and injuries that the Christians and the West have visited upon the Islamic world over many centuries.
The Crusades are not forgotten and the memory of the people is long. The degrading colonialization, the economic imperialism of the West, (a society) that is not interested in people but only in its oil. What should a Muslim think about a Christianity that has brought so many blessings to the world!"
I'll have to visit a German church this Sunday. Obviously I've been missing all the good stuff. Sadly, this is what passes for sophisticated analysis among Germany's elite. Everything bad in the world is the West's (especially America's) fault. In this case Islamic fascists kill and burn embassies because we force them to with our (take your pick) a. Support for Israel; b. Greed for oil; c. Cultural imperialism; d. Crusades; e. Intolerance and discrimination; f. Lack of respect.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I seem to remember 2,800 people being murdered in New York City and Washington DC prior to Afghanistan, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanmo. And I've checked a couple of reference works on the Crusades and mine seem to be missing the chapter on the 12th century American-led one. This argument, however, hasn't changed since 12 September. The good news is the cartoon episode seems to have changed the tone of the debate in Germany in spite of what Pastor Mueller thinks.
Back in 2004 on D-Day weekend, we took on the angry mob in Paris with Erik of No Pasaran. We did so again when Bush visited Mainz in February 2005. Well, Erik continues to defy political gravity and defiantly take on the angry mobs. This time wassimply unbelievable. Accompanied by but a single ally, he wore a Danish flag calling for freedom of speech to a rally attended by thousands of angry Muslims. Check it out. Click here for more. Can you say gutsy? And most media are afraid to confront these guys in print...
That was easy to forecast: German novelist and Nobel laureate Guenter Grass, a prominent left-wing critic of the USA ever since the Vietnam war, blasts the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten for the publication of the Mohammad cartoons:
"This was a conscious and planned provocation by a right-wing Danish newspaper," said German Guenter Grass, who took the Nobel Prize in 1999.
Grass described the Danish publishers of the caricatures as "xenophobic right-wing radicals" and the subsequent violent Muslim protests as "a fundamentalist response to a fundamentalist act."
"Where does the West take that arrogance to impose what must and must not be done?" Grass asked, stressing the relativity of the freedom of opinion in the West where the media are controlled by conglomerates "monopolizing the public opinion."
Poor Muslim extremists ... they had to respond (burning houses, issuing death threats, etc., etc.) to a fundamentalistic act (publishing cartoons).
I never looked at it this way, but 9/11 probably was just a fundamentalist response - a bit rough, maybe - to a fundamentalistic act of "the West". For the moment I can't come up with one, but I'm sure Guenter Grass can help us out...
(I know, we had linked to this elegant gentleman already in an earlier post, but I am under the impression that it's his somewhat fundamentalist attitude that Mr. Grass defends.)
A hard to make decision, I fully understand. After all, it puts the feelings of Muslims - who are supposed to be mostly anti-American, an attitude shared by much of the German media - against fundamental democratic rights of the press. Difficult, difficult...