Monday, February 06, 2006


"The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, and, further, as he ought, when he ought, and as long as he ought, is praised. This will be the good-tempered man, then, since good temper is praised. For the good-tempered man tends to be unperturbed and not to be led by passion, but to be angry in the manner, at the things, and for the length of time, that the rule dictates; but he is thought to err rather in the direction of deficiency; for the good-tempered man is not revengeful, but rather tends to make allowances." Aristotle.

A cartoon is usually considered to be funny. It is rarely considered as art, and is essentially, with the exception perhaps of Gilray or Hogarth, ephemera. Three months ago, some cartoons were published in a Danish newspaper. To strict Muslims, the depiction of the Prophet is anathema. A satirical depiction is highly insulting. OK- now several people have been killed, the Danish Embassies in Damascus and Beirut have sacked by a mob. At a demonstration in London, barely six months after suicide bombers killed 56 people and injured 700, some young idiot dressed as a suicide bomber to "make his point". I was in London that day, and do not forgive the monstrous ideology of hate that inspired those immature and foolish young men to destroy themselves and others.

Some may argue that "the West" should make the allowances in dealing with Islamic extremism. Yes- the cartoon was ill judged and we must recognise that fault. However, if there is to be a cultural divide over the right to free speech, then I will hoist the flag of civilised, honest and free Denmark over any perversion of any religion. We can make the allowances for the idiocy of the mob and not press charges against the 22 year old, Omar Khayam for his stupidity. However, those that called for death and violence - and have achieved their goal- should understand that intolerance does not have free reign. There is a limit to tolerance, and when there are those whose creed of blind hatred leads them away from debate and into violence: they are the enemies of a free society. As for God: many crimes are committed in the name of an all loving creator, but these crimes are committed by humans. Yet with tolerance, humanity and humour, we can all make our own way.

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