Thursday, February 02, 2006

THE FRENCH NEWSPAPER France Soir was great yesterday: "Yes, we have the right to draw caricatures of God," and, in the blurb, "Don't complain, Mohammed; we've all been caricaturized here". I'm writing in the past tense because the French, after showing some spine yesterday, they immediately surrendered (why am I not surprised?): the editor was summarily executed, er, fired.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that "La Stampa in Italy, El Periodico in Spain and Dutch paper Volkskrant also carried some of the drawings." I was quite surprised, because it was clear to me that no Spanish newspaper had published the cartoons; besides, being El Periodico a quite leftist newspaper that salivates over anti-Westernism and anti-Bushism (disclosure: I have written several columns for them under my real name but only in their tech section) it's probably one of the last places where I would expect to see a defiance against Muslim fanatics. So I quickly went to yesterday's edition and, while it's technically true they did republish the cartoons, they did so in an article which was quite sympathetic to the grievances of the offended Muslims. It was an illustration of, shall I say, how right they were to be offended by a cartoon depicting Mohammed with a turban-bomb. See it for yourselves:

True, in their editorial yesterday they defended free speech, but only after saying that Muslims were right to be offended; it's just that Muslims shouldn't expect to be able to control what's being said about them outside their geographical area of influence (I'm afraid the editorialists failed to make the logical connection: Europe is more and more withing Islam's area of influence...)

In today's edition, they talk about France Soir in another article quite sympathetic to the offended Muslims and whose only blurb is a quote by an important leader of France's Islamic community:

So, whileit's technically true that El Periodico carried those images, it did like most of the Spanish media: as an illustration that Muslims were fundamentally right to be offended. It was definitely not a stand against them as the BBC wants you to believe.

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