[link] ...Fundamentalist Muslims went ballistic. Fundamentalist imams demanded a meeting with Denmark's prime minister. (He rightly refused.) The fundamentalists then began whipping up outrage by showing the cartoons around the Middle East. And get this. These "holy men of God" included phony cartoons that were much worse than the real ones.
They included images showing Muhammed as a pig, a pedophile and a sodomizer of animals. (I'd love to know who did those.) The cartoons in the Danish newspaper were far milder. Some were pro-Muslim, some didn't depict the prophet at all, and one attacked the editor as a "reactionary provocateur."
Naturally, inflamed Muslims began behaving badly. Danish flags were burned; people have been killed in demonstrations; diplomatic installations have been set on fire; and they called for an international boycott of Danish products, which must be bad if you're addicted to small buttery cookies.
Accordingly, last week a number of European papers did something that should put the press here to shame. They courageously reprinted the cartoons.
One of those, the German newspaper Die Welt, added this: "Democracy is the institutionalized form of freedom of expression. There is no right to protection from satire in the West; there is a right to blasphemy."
Amen, amen, selah and salaam. Thomas Jefferson couldn't have said it better. Lovers of freedom all over the world ought to be very, very proud of every editor who published them. Naturally, various so-called liberals howled that this was racism, and whined that it would help an anti-immigration party in Denmark.
That's a load of bullshit. Denmark is a postage-stamp country with barely half Michigan's population. And all you need to know about it is that when the Nazis occupied them and came to round up and murder their Jews, the Danes said no. No way. The entire nation then collaborated to smuggle nearly the entire Jewish population to Sweden. Nobody else did anything like that.
They are people of courage, tolerance and a sense of humor, three qualities that America — especially the American press — is sorely lacking.
I will say this much—the editor who commissioned the illustrations knew this would be provocative, and printing these pictures was akin to poking around the ashes for some hot embers. They surely had the right to print 'em, as Danish Muslims had the right to be offended. Should Muslims halfway around the world be rioting and killing people over it, of course not. But does this come as a surprise? At this point how does every embassy in Tehran not have an escape rocket?
Lessenberry goes on to lambaste American media (including his own paper) for not taking up arms with their Danish and European brethren and publishing the pictures. I disagree. I think it would be gratuitous to do so. These pictures are readily available online for anyone to find if they are curious, or alternatively, need a reason to get pissed off and burn Danish flags. The U.S. has enough problems with the Middle East, and 150,000 targets walking around over there. I agree with a little discretion here.
Particularly in the case of his paper, the "Metro Times Detroit", a free weekly distributed throughout the geographic area containing the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East. We're not talking about a subscription-only venue or anything like it. This is one of those papers that stares you in the face when you walk into Subway. there's freedom of the press and there's rubbing people's faces in something. Freedom to is also freedom not to and nobody should be too annoyed that a newspaper editor is not willing to play Larry Flynt for a day.