Monday, February 06, 2006

Childish Games

This is the sort of churlish adolescent response that lacks both respect and maturity:

IRAN'S largest selling newspaper announced today it was holding a contest on cartoons of the Holocaust in response to the publishing in European papers of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

"It will be an international cartoon contest about the Holocaust," said Farid Mortazavi, the graphics editor for Hamshahri newspaper - which is published by Teheran's conservative municipality.

He said the plan was to turn the tables on the assertion that newspapers can print offensive material in the name of freedom of expression.

"The Western papers printed these sacrilegious cartoons on the pretext of freedom of expression, so let's see if they mean what they say and also print these Holocaust cartoons," he said.

Turning the offensive cartoons into a basis off which to begin a teenage game of one-upsmanship is a sophmoric and irresponsible decision.

Publishing cartoons with the specific intent of offending the Jewish people and the West is just as reprehensible as publishing cartoons designed to offend Muslims. It is certainly still the right of the paper to pursue this course of action, but it is incredibly base and all but the mark of a sophisticated society.

I am stunned that such a response is actually being explored. But then again, after the weekend's embassy burnings, I guess it shouldn't come as much of a shocker.

That being said, this response cannot be seen as characteristic of the Muslim community as a whole, which I believe is above these kinds of tactics, much in the same way that the vast majority of the Christian community is not gung-ho about bombing abortion clinics.

Nonetheless, there are responsible ways to deal with offensive material, and this is not one of them.