What exactly is the point?
“The paper ought to be condemned for what they’ve done. There’s no excuse for the reaction that it has set off but if you know you’re going to get that kind of hysterical reaction and you go about seeking to provoke it, then you yourself have to be questioned about your own motives and intentions,” Zogby said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.Read the full article here.
Zogby, who is the founder and president of the Arab-American Institute and author of the book “Arab Voices,” said that it’s not enough to argue that Western principles of free speech apply.
“Of course you have the right to publish this in a free society, although, France has a much more restricted free speech mandate than the United States of America,” he explained. “But, on the other hand, the question is do you take advantage of that freedom if the purpose is purely to incite and purely to provoke and, therefore, one would say that discretion is the better part of valor in this instance.”
Provoking people is a simple enough thing to do. A moron in Los Angeles did it far more effectively than these French intellectuals. Cartoons of Mohammed have been done to death. None of them are funny or clever.
Jeff Sparrow wrote recently in Counterpunch.com about the movie, The Innocence of Muslims:
...Twentieth century race-baiters knew all about goading their victims into a certain response, and then using that response to justify a fresh pogrom. Not unexpectedly, German far-right extremists (who have some historical experience with this strategy) are now planning fresh screenings of the film.Sparrow pointed out a historical analogy that had occurred to me as well:
In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. The rebels massacred prisoners, including women and children; the British put down the revolt with a slaughter of unprecedented proportions.
Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events: in impeccably Dawkinesque terms, they blamed ‘Hindoo prejudice’ for the descent of otherwise perfectly contented natives into rapine and slaughter.
But no serious historian today takes such apologetics seriously. Only the most determined ignoramus would discuss 1857 in isolation from the broader context of British occupation. In form, the struggle might have been religious; in content, it embodied a long-simmering opposition to colonial rule.
That’s why those who pretend the protests against The Innocence of Muslims came from nowhere merely reveal their own foolishness.He referred in this quote to an anti-Muslim quip Richard Dawkins had re-tweeted.