NOW, ZAPATERO HAS DEFINITELY put Spain in the wrong side. With all Western countries publicly defending free speech and condemning the barbaric acts of violence after the publication of the Danish cartoons, Zapatero and Erdogan write an open letter that has been published in today's International Herald Tribune:
With growing concern, we are witnessing the escalation in disturbing tensions provoked by the publication, in European newspapers, of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that Muslims consider deeply offensive. We shall all be the losers if we fail to immediately defuse this situation, which can only leave a trail of mistrust and misunderstanding between both sides in its wake. Therefore, it is necessary to make an appeal for respect and calm, and let the voice of reason be heard.(emphasis mine)
Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of our democratic systems and we shall never relinquish it. But there are no rights without responsibility and respect for different sensibilities. The publication of these caricatures may be perfectly legal, but it is not indifferent and thus ought to be rejected from a moral and political standpoint.Read the rest of the letter, in which you won't find a single line of clear and specific condemnation for the death threats, embassy burnings, etc. There isn't any aknowledgement whatsoever of previous acts of violence in the name of Islam prior to the Danish cartoons, which is specially egregious considering Zapatero is the Prime Minister of a country where 192 people were killed in the name of Islam (at least apparently) almost 2 years ago. Way before any cartoon "provoked" any reaction.
It would be too easy to say that Zapatero's position comes from the fact that he owes his position to Islamic terrorism; it would also be too simplistic to think that it's because of fear, although fear plays a part here, considering that most of approximately 8% of alien population in Spain comes from Islamic countries.
Alas, what this letter probably reflects is probably worse in the long term: that Zapatero is simply clueless, stupidely naive, and really thinks that niceties will work.
So in Zapatero's honor, I'll re-use the picture from Allah (with his permission back then):
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