Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Reasonable? Not really

An intelligent, very liberal friend forwarded this cartoon to me yesterday under the title 'A reasonable send up?' I hate to be a killjoy, but it seems to me that the images in the toon are anything but reasonable reflections of the reality of Islamist extremism. They seem to owe more to a tradition of xenophobic and - ironically enough - frequently anti-Semitic caricature than to an appreciation of the world today's young alienated Muslims live in.

The cartoon shows a cabal of archaic Arab Muslim elders concocting the latest in a series of nefarious schemes to disrupt Western societies. In fact, most of the Islamist terrorist attacks of the last few years have been the actions of small groups of young, non-Arab men acting in isolation from any sort of 'central command'.

These young men have not been automatons controlled by Osama bin Laden, but sane, intelligent, cosmopolitan people moved to lash out against affluent societies they believe complicit in the ongoing agony of the Middle East and other parts of the Third World. That their response to this agony has taken a reactionary, deeply counterproductive form - that they look to Osama as a hero, rather than to Che Guevara or Frantz Fanon or Ben Bella - is part of the tragedy of an era when the progressive alternative to imperialism represented by secularism and socialism has seemed in many places to have been eclipsed.

The xenophobic response of many Westerners to Islamist terrorism - 40% of Americans now believe that Muslims should have to carry special ID, and attacks on British Muslims have soared since 9/11 - can only ensure more terrorism.

The cartoon my friend sent me alludes to the dreadful suffering endured by British holidaymakers forced to wait for flights to places like Ibiza and Mallorca. I hope some of them used their queue-time to reflect upon the government policies that have enraged so many of the people of the Middle East and the rest of the Third World.


Blogger Mark K said...

That cartoon is truly revolting.

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummm, isn't the cartoon supposed to be ironic?

it is not at all trying to portray:

'reasonable reflections of the reality of Islamist extremism.'

as if muslims sit around hatching plans to inconvenience holiday makers at airports

5:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like you've got the wrong end of the stick.

This is a political cartoon - the sort that exaggerates stereotypes to show how ridiculous they are. Some right-wingers seriously believe Muslims look like this and have these kinds of meetings, and use these convictions to justify their support of 'pre-emptive strikes' against the dangerous Muslim world. This is a satirical portrayal of that racist point of view, and isn't intended to be seen as taking that point of view itself.

I'm not saying that this is terribly sophisticated humor - but I think you've misinterpreted the cartoon.

6:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the cartoon is stupid and racist and weak (it would appeal to stupid working class types - & stupid xenophobes of whatever class) - but I am dubius of these "terrorist" things - I think the US and British and other Secret Services are behind a lot of these so-called terrorist activities which gives them an excuse for increasing division (via the Patriot Act for example) and thus controlling people - and also an excuse for wars etc -they infiltrate these fringe groups and or concoct "plots" - as the West has been Imperialist and predatory for about 500 years now and lately the US in particular have created terrible damage wherever the go it is surprising there has not been more 9/11s - but I think that was probably organised from inside the US (and or it was provoked, encouraged) - that said I can see terrorism as sometimes legitimate force agaisnt Imperialism (which uses terrorism itself) - some people - many working people and poorer people - can never even afford even to travel.

Bin Laden - he is probably a US agent (if he even exists) - but ironically he is a hero to the Muslims and in sense he is as prgresive as you will get for a long time in that part of the world -imperialism isn't remotely threatened by socialism - alhtough I agree that is better direction to take. (Deep dw theruling classes fraer revolution but this is almost Freudian complex for now).

The US etc have used the existing anti-Semitism and the anti-Arab thing - and cranked it up -they are racists - US-Britain-Israel is a near fascist block. I like to see them get hit - they have done terrible damage especially since 1945 (starting with Hiroshima) - I can understand pay back - even if it may not be "perfect" as a "weapon" it seems to be in some cases the only way.

8:07 pm  
Blogger Sanctuary said...

I just got back from Ibiza (on the orange Easyjet to), I resent your dismissive tone about the place, its a temple of culture.

8:36 am  
Blogger maps said...

Well, Nico died there...

12:49 pm  

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