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Saturday, February 4, 2006

Who's Your Shepherd?

Who's Your Shepherd? By Clinton Fein 2006. Click to Send Postcard
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RELATED ANNOY.COM FEATURES
Pope John Paul II: A Legacy of Shame


Over the last eight years or so, Annoy.com has amassed an impressive collection of content relating to Pope John Paul II, the Catholic Church and the scandals and hatred that continue to plague its clergy as it continues to issue proclamations, edicts and directives that despite being positioned and packaged as a “culture of life,” are abusive and deadly. From poverty and AIDS stemming from a retarded policy toward condom distribution, birth control and women’s reproductive freedom to antiquated, misogynist and homophobic attitudes – all the more hypocritical given the Church’s overwhelming cadre of pedophiles – they have evolved little in their long and murderous history.


Post Traumatic Press Syndrome


In the wake of the September 11 attacks, Artforum, New York's prestigious art magazine pulled an advertisement for an annoy.com exhibition. The advertisement consisted of an image displaying a purse-lipped Rudy Giuliani sitting naked in a urine-filled glass box, referencing the technique used by artist Damien Hirst and part of an exhibit Sensation that resulted in the former mayor withholding funding from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Clutching a crucifix with a nod to artist Andres Serrano and with another Giuliani targeted work, Chris Ofili's Virgin Mary forming the backdrop, copy on the top of the image reads: "Mike for Mayor" and at the bottom, "Start Spreading the News." They would later give conflicting reasons for the decision that day veering between operational and ideological justifications. We would only learn of this decision the following Monday when it was too late to do anything about it.


The Gay Agenda


How many of you haven’t heard of the “Gay Agenda” or “Radical Homosexual Agenda”? Although many claim there isn't one, here it is, the new, improved radical, homosexual agenda for 2005. A roadmap, if you will, towards destroying nuclear families, and reshaping society to the point that if your son isn’t blowing his professor, don’t expect any graduation ceremonies.

The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name

Annoy.com has chosen to do more than simply link to James Kirkup's controversial poem, which was banned in 1976 under the UK's blasphemy laws, and remains banned to this day thanks to an overzealous and clearly aimless Royal Crown Prosecution. We have chosen to illustrate it and publish it ourselves. We believe this is a perfect example of content that some people might consider "indecent" with an "intent to annoy." Do we publish it? Do we talk about it? Is it a crime?

THE BLOGS SPEW FORTH...

Mohammed "desecrated" by cartoons; Arab Muslim extremists offended, angry, and verging on the edge of insanity (NOTE: point of view clarified)
The Gun Toting Liberal

Apologies: Islam and the free press
The Next Frontier

Muslim Reaction to the Cartoons
Orwell's Grave

NOISE

The global furor over the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad as violent seems as inappropriate as the tepid condemnation over Pat Robertson’s call to assassinate Hugo Chavéz.

Calling for the beheading of an artist for creating a caricature depicting a religion as violent is hypocritical. About as hypocritical as assaulting or killing a woman for appearing in a degrading beauty contest. Or like amputating Ann Coulter’s legs for her immodest vagina flashing on Fox News. Or castrating and sodomizing men who rape.

As fanatical, intolerant Muslim clerics continue to incite violence over the depictions of violence, and as Israeli Jews deliberately incite riots by building unauthorized new structures in settlements, America’s religious righteous -- armed with justifications from their churches, mosques and synagogues -- are mincing into gay bars with machetes and guns and opening fire. Others are frantically preparing to picket Coretta Scott King’s funeral because she supported gay rights. The Pope, lost in the haze of his Nazi Youth is too busy purging the symptoms of his dysfunctional, homocentric Church -- in between satin dress fittings and Prada shopping sprees -- blissfully oblivious to the blatantly obvious causes. The one certain thing all of these Torah-touting, Koran-clutching, Bible-thumping, Scripture-screeching religious zealots seem to share, is an unbridled lust for violence.

While all the world’s major religions -- Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, and Hinduism – shoulder responsibility for fueling extremist factions spewing hatred, violence and intolerance, Muslims do need to drop the victimization act and realize that just as they condemn and judge others with impunity, so too must they learn to cope with being subject to criticism.

Until people stop, in Allah's name, stoning woman to death, killing homosexuals, cutting the hands off children stealing food to survive, flying passenger planes into skyscrapers, car-bombing innocent people, forcing their religious convictions onto others, and other such atrocities, and until Muslims loudly and clearly reject and condemn the violence perpetrated by those who have hijacked and perverted their religion, the likelihood of cartoonists depicting Muhammad as a gentle, olive-branch carrying dove is not particularly high.

Clinton Fein, Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones, But Cartoon Flaps Can Kill You, February 4, 2006


The Muslim world erupted in anger on Friday over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published in Europe while the Bush administration offered the protesters support, saying of the cartoons, "We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive."

Streets in the Palestinian regions and in Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia and Malaysia were filled with demonstrators calling for boycotts of European goods and burning the flag of Denmark, where the cartoons first appeared.

While a huge rally in the Gaza Strip was peaceful — and many leaders warned against violence — some of the oratory was not.

"We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible," one preacher at Al Omari mosque in Gaza told worshipers during Friday Prayer, according to Reuters. Other demonstrators called for amputating the hands of the cartoonists who drew the pictures.

Joel Brinkly and Ian Fisher, U.S. Says It Also Finds Cartoons of Muhammad Offensive, The New York Times, February 4, 2006


Hundreds of Muslims have staged angry protests in London following the publication of cartoons satirising the prophet Mohammed.

Scores waved placards bearing angry messages, one declaring: "Behead the one who insults the prophet".

Others said: "Free speech go to hell" and "Europe: Your 9/11 will come".

The protesters met after Friday prayers outside Regent's Park mosque in central London and marched through the streets towards the Danish embassy on Sloane Street.

They chanted religious slogans in Arabic, paying homage to Allah and the Prophet.

Muslims March On Embassy, Sky News, February 3, 2006


The decision by some New Zealand media to show cartoons which have triggered armed protests in Islamic countries has raised concerns among local exporters over possible boycotts of NZ products in those markets.

The cartoons, first printed by a Danish newspaper in September, caricature the Prophet Mohammad - and were reprinted earlier this month in a Christian magazine in Norway.

Some of the cartoons were featured on TV One's Close Up current affairs show yesterday, and some Fairfax newspapers, including The Dominion Post, in Wellington are to publish at least one of the cartoons today.

The New Zealand exposure has raised concerns among exporters to the Middle East that New Zealand meat and milk products in Islamic markets might now be targeted by boycotts spread by consumers over text and e-mail networks.

Danish cartoons in NZ media raise concerns over trade risk, Manawatu Standard, New Zealand, February 4, 2006


The UN's Kofi Annan urged Muslims to accept the apology from the newspaper where the cartoons first appeared.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw praised UK media for its "responsibility and sensitivity" in not publishing them.

Mr Straw said the decision by some European newspapers to print the cartoons was "disrespectful" and he added that freedom of speech did not mean an "open season" on religious taboos.

More protests due in cartoon row, BBC, February 4, 2006


The controversy over the 12 caricatures of Muhammad published by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has exploded into a global scandal, complete with angry demonstrations, defiant republications of the cartoons in newspapers across Europe, diplomatic démarches and withdrawn Arab envoys, a boycott of Danish goods in the Middle East, gunmen at the European Union's office in Gaza, and calls for calm amid fears of more tumult to come. (You can see the cartoons here.)

News agencies settled on "Muslim outrage" as a shorthand to describe the uproar over the cartoons. This is accurate but tells only part of the story. In the Arab world, press reactions revealed additional nuances in what is the biggest international wrangle over freedom of expression and respect for Islam since Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

Daniel Kimmage, Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark, Slate, February 3, 2006


So, what could and should the civilized world do to fight this disease? When Jews suffered because of hate speech, we invented the anti-Semitism law to protect them. I propose widening this umbrella to include the rest of us. The UN and other concerned international organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, must start collaboration to come up with such rules.

Otherwise, the current clash of civilizations will continue at a larger and more dangerous level and rate.

Humiliated people of a certain religion, race or culture may take it only for a while. The world’s most devastating war, World War II, was a direct result of humiliation the German race suffered at the hands of victorious World War 1 powers. Humiliating over a billion Muslims can’t go on for long without a hit back. Extremists, terrorist organizations and hate preachers are already working on it. Can we afford to wait until the damage is irreversible? We waited too long before and did too little. We should wake up earlier and do better ... this time.

Dr. Khaled Batarfi, Hate Speech in the Guise of Freedom of Expression, Arab News, February 5, 2006


Sunday newspapers will not be allowed to publish a controversial cartoon of the prophet Muhammad after a Muslim pressure group was granted a court interdict.

The South African National Editors Forum said on Saturday several South African media houses were gagged from publishing the cartoon on Friday night.

The Jamiat-ul Ulama of Transvaal, which sought an interdict against Johncom Media and Independent Newspapers among others, said the cartoon was "deeply offensive".

The organisation was granted the interdict around 10.30pm on Friday.

The Sunday Times, one of the Johncom newspapers that received a letter from the group asking if it would publish the cartoon, said at the time it had not decided on its action.

The paper's editor, Mondli Makhanya, told the Mail & Guardian Online on Saturday that it was a "huge blow for the media".

Cartoon row: Sunday Times gagged, Mail & Guardian, South Africa, February 4, 2006


Before I launch into this report, I want to underline that few places in the Muslim world have seen violence over the caricatures, so far mainly Damascus and Beirut (which are unexpected in this regard.) Protests in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and elsewhere have been nonviolent. This is not to play down the seriousness of what happened in Damascus and Beirut over the weekend--acts which can only inspire horror and condemnation--only to set it in context. There are 1.5 billion Muslims. A lot of Muslim countries saw no protests at all. In some places, as in Pakistan, they were anemic. The caricature protests are resonating with local politics and anti-imperialism in ways distinctive to each Muslim country. The protests therefore are probably not mostly purely about religion.

Juan Cole, Caricatures Roil Muslim World, Informed Consent, February 6, 2006


What Muslims are saying is that depicting Muhammad with a bomb in his turban is insupportable. It is often assumed that in the West we believe in free speech, so there is nothing that is insupportable.

But that simply is not true. Muslims mind caricatures of Muhammad because they view him as the exemplar of all that is good in human beings. Most Western taboos are instead negative ones, not disallowal of attacks on symbols of goodness but the questioning of symbols of evil.

Thus, it is insupportable to say that the Nazi ideology was right and to praise Hitler. In Germany if one took that sort of thing too far one would be breaking the law. Even in France, Bernard Lewis was fined for playing down the Armenian holocaust. It is insupportable to say that slavery was right, and if you proclaimed that in the wrong urban neighborhoods, you could count on a violent response.

So once you admit that there are things that can be said that are insupportable, then the Muslim feelings about the caricatures become one reaction in an entire set of such reactions.

Juan Cole, Muslim Protests Against Anti-Muhammad Caricatures, Informed Consent, February 5, 2006


Doug Clifton, editor of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, told Editor & Publisher that he did not “see a need to insert ourselves in that fight." But Clifton said his paper will likely place a link to the images from another site when it runs an editorial on the issue over the weekend. "They will have the option to see it if they choose," he said.

That is unquestionably the most cowardly and pathetic response I have seen to date. It’s one thing to state, albeit disingenuously, that publication of the images is not germane to the telling of the story, but its quite another to claim that as an excuse to mask a fear of reprisals or to capitulate to pressure.

Since Clifton believes that the story doesn’t warrant running the images, is unwilling to take a stand, and genuinely believes the story doesn’t warrant it, how about demonstrating how good he is at articulating the story without them? The “choice” he’s offering is not in his editorial control.

What Doug Clifton is doing is riding on the backs of others who are taking significant risks in standing up for their principles and having the courage of their convictions.

Clifton’s yellow approach is the moral journalistic equivalent of jacking off during a gang rape.

Clinton Fein, Black and White and Yellow All Over Annoy.com, February 8, 2006


Childish. Irresponsible. Hate speech. A provocation just for the sake of provocation. A PR stunt. Critics of 12 cartoons of the prophet Muhammad I decided to publish in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten have not minced their words. They say that freedom of expression does not imply an endorsement of insulting people's religious feelings, and besides, they add, the media censor themselves every day. So, please do not teach us a lesson about limitless freedom of speech.

I agree that the freedom to publish things doesn't mean you publish everything. Jyllands-Posten would not publish pornographic images or graphic details of dead bodies; swear words rarely make it into our pages. So we are not fundamentalists in our support for freedom of expression.

But the cartoon story is different. [...]

[...] We have a tradition of satire when dealing with the royal family and other public figures, and that was reflected in the cartoons. The cartoonists treated Islam the same way they treat Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions. And by treating Muslims in Denmark as equals they made a point: We are integrating you into the Danish tradition of satire because you are part of our society, not strangers. The cartoons are including, rather than excluding, Muslims. [...]

[...] Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

Flemming Rose, Culture editor of Jyllands-Posten, Why I Published Those Cartoons, The Washington Post, February 19, 2006



WHY WE PUBLISHED THESE CARTOONS

The following 12 images were published in Denmark's Jyllands Posten newspaper, which sparked the furor among Muslims globally. The reason they are being displayed here is not to provoke, despite this site's name, but to allow our users to make an informed evaluation themselves. For the same reasons, we published Nick Berg's beheading and James Kirkup's poem. After two federal court cases, one before the United States Supreme Court, Annoy.com’s hard fought commitment to free speech – not an automatic guarantee, even in the West -- cost a lot in terms of time, determination and resources.

In the name of Christianity, Clinton Fein’s image of The Last Supper was ripped off the wall of a San Francisco gallery. Just prior to the 2004 election, his image of President Bush, Who Would Jesus Torture?, depicting the President as Jesus on a crucifix (along with an image of the American flag using the text of the Pentagon’s official Abu Ghraib report ) was destroyed deliberately by Zazzle, the Palo Alto based printing company. Despite such visceral responses, not to mention the sentiments expressed by those over the Internet, Annoy.com published because we believe strongly in free speech.

We are not oblivious to the fact that religious and cultural differences are far more complex than anything we could articulate in this small space, but our fundamental belief is this. Freedom of expression is not reserved for those wishing to express their religious beliefs, but also those who question them. Click on the thumbnail images to enlarge.



THE ARAB-EUROPEAN LEAGUE

Already, the Arab-European Leage has begun publishing cartoons (with the requisite discalimer that it does not necessarily endorse their content), including the already infamous one of Hitler in bed with Ann Frank. Their aim, is to publish cartoons that challenge "sensitive issues to Europe like the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, homosexuality, sexism and more," the lampooning of which they say scandalizes Eurpoe's elite.

"The issue for us is not about depicting the prophet or any other theological consideration. It’s about stigmatizing a whole population of more than one billion Muslims through portraying their symbol as being a terrorist, megalomaniac, misogynic and a psychopath. This is Racist, xenophobic and calling for hatred against Muslims."

Their response is a series of sexist, misogynist, anti-Semitic and homophobic cartoons. Click to enlarge.

Hitler Goes Dutroux

Science Fiction

6000000?

Colonial sense of humour

Female Circumcision

After gay Marriage...


LET'S BLOW THE WHOLE THING UP

Things have come to an ugly pass,
Our tolerance is fading fast,
For there’s no right or future left
While we’re stuck in the past.

Jesus knows the end of days;
Remember Passion of the Christ ...
Muhammad’s season in the sun,
This conflict can’t be won.

You say Praise Him and I say Raze Him,
You say piece and I say peace;
Praise Him, Raze Him, peace in pieces,
Let's blow the whole thing up!

You say Stop it and I say Drop it,
You like Prophet and I like Profit;
Stop it, drop it, Prophet, Profit!
Let's blow the whole thing up!

But oh! If we blow the whole thing up,
Then will it go away?
No one left to insult right?
There’s nothing right or left to say!

So, if you like drama and I like karma,
Let’s feed the drama and face the karma.
For we know we despise each other,
So we better blow the blow up up.
Let's blow the whole thing up!

You say Mohammed, I say Muhammad
You say Jesus loved and I say Jesus Beloved
Mohammed the loved and Jesus Beloved,
Let's blow the whole thing up!

You say abomination and I say bomb a nation,
You say condemn and I say condone ;
Condemn abomination, condone bomb a nation,
Let's blow the whole thing up!
For fuck's sake, blow the whole thing up.


RELATED ANNOY.COM VIDEO Kill the World

In five years the Bush Administration has led America on the darkest journey in its history. While no one will deny the shock and horror of the attacks on September 11th, the culture that it gave rise to is unforgivable. The attacks did not justify the war on Iraq, the suspension of civil liberties, the erosion of human decency, the rise of torture, the degradation of civility, the erection of gulags -- "black sites" and secret prisons -- the spying on Americans, the corruption and merciless attacks on not only Americans, but the rest of the world this Administration bullies, threatens and attacks.

Clinton Fein's Kill the World audiovisual documentation -- from 2001 until today -- is a terrifying testament to how far wrong we have gone.


DID THE HOLOCAUST HAPPEN?

The Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, owned by the Tehran city council, plans to publish holocaust-denial cartoons from a competition dsigned to test how free Western expression really is. Hamshahri's announcement concerning the publishing of anti-Semitic cartoons questioning the reality of the Holocaust came in response to the riot-provoking cartoons, which have been viewed as highly offensive and insulting to many Muslims throughout the Middle East and the world at large. Earlier this year the Irtanian government faced a storm of worldwide rebuke when its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, referred to the Holocaust as a myth fabricated by the West to secure a Jewish homeland in the state of Palestine.

Will Annoy.com publish the cartoons? Stay tuned.

 
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