Sunday, February 24, 2008

The herd mentality

Well. The CARTOONS are back. The parliament has denounced reprinting them, and a number of newspapers are planning on publishing a “joint response”. Even Jihad Momani, who was fired from his job and jailed for reprinting “the CARTOONS” has joined the act, bravely standing up for “the Prophet”. Time was that people took pride in expressing their individuality. Not any more. Now, it is chic to think, say and act just like everybody else. Scour as you may, you would be hard pressed to find anybody in the Arab world defending freedom of expression.

Oh please, please, ask me this question:

Q: But Khalaf, this is a spontaneous reaction to insults to the Prophet. Would you deprive people of expressing their feelings?

K: No. Express you feeling all you want. Here is the point. Earlier this month, the (dis) information ministers of the Arab World met in Cairo. They issued a “charter” for regulating satellite television stations. This charter states that broadcast material should not undermine "social peace, national unity, public order and traditional values" or "defame political, national and religious symbols." It demands "adherence to objectivity, sincerity and respect for the dignity of countries and their national sovereignty."

So, in order to gain support for this pathetic attempt at turning back time, what would be a better time than now to revive the CARTOONS issue? Before it was taken out of the freezer and thawed out, the press was rejecting this charter. No mention of it any more.

Q: So, people are being manipulated into accepting restrictions on their freedoms through this issue.

K: Well, DUH!


At 9:36 PM, Blogger Mohanned said...

Never forget the distraction aspect of such issues..You know, forget corruption, forget oppression, forget the bad economic situation, forget the drop in investments, etc... But focus on your anger at those infidels..

Are people that dumb? The more time goes by, the more I believe that people are becoming dumber..

It is good to have you back:)

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hi Mohannad. I think people are more cowardly than dumb. Who would dare defend the right to free expression after THE CARTOONS?

I think that if I didn't blog I might explode.

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Hani Obaid said...

Why kid ourselves ?

Being cowardly is not necessarily a bad thing.

You yourself mentioned that you might blog differently if you didn't have your anonimity to protect you.

Do you blame Jihad for turning 180 degrees after doing jail time ?

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Tallouza said...

These days with our emotional baggage full, one has to prioritize his/her feelings of outrage. Some might find the cartoons way up there. I personally have my list full and it starts with Gaza, Iraq, Israel, corruption, torture, Guantanmo bay, illegal occupationS, poverty, rendition of prisoners, etc. The cartoon incident clearly demonstrates a reactionary approach on our side. If we felt so strongly about it, we should have institutionalized our approach to dealing with it without kicking back and waiting for it to hit us again so that we run out in the streets like mad. I abhor what the Danish newspapers have done. But I abhor more hypocrisy and reactionary politics and approaches. It seems that the “faz3ah” mentality has found itself outside of local politics into foreign affairs wa-talkahlluf 3al-jarar….

At 10:28 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Finally someone said something.
Is this like the third time they bring it up in the past 3 years?

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Khalaf, they didn't just bring up this issue least that's the way your post made it seem. The cartoons were reprinted so that's where the reaction came from.
I would be interested in the exact occurrence of both the cartoon reprints and the Arab charter for regulating sat tv...if the cartoons came first, and this charter followed, then I would think the Arab ministers are really smarter than I thought, and are using the cartoons to prop their argument. If the charter came first, and then the cartoon reprints (which I think is the case), then the Arab media is just reacting to the "will of the people" and giving them more of what they want to hear. I don't know-- it could be a wider conspiracy by Arab regimes to fuel this issue by encouraging the media to discuss it, and therefore move attention away from more pressing issues as mohanned said. Either way, it saddens me to see the "Arab street" so easily manipulated by the media and the regimes.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hani: I am setting myself up as a standard, although it is this reality that keeps me anonymous. As for Momani, I would have respected him more if he just kept quiet.

Tallouza: But who is setting the priorities? It is the media. The same media that is demanding more freedom. Isn't that rich?

Roba: I agree that it is getting tedious. But when things work, people keep repeating.

Moi: Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if somebody in the Arab world paid these newspapers to reprint the CARTOONS. The timing, whether before or after the charter is too fortuitous.

At 10:06 AM, Blogger Nas said...

as usual, you're a step ahead of me. but i wanted to argue it from a different perspective i thought about the other day.

welcome back bro!

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea, Khalaf's back in the saddle. Yeehaw!

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Don Cox said...

"The cartoons were reprinted so that's where the reaction came from."____They were reprinted as part of the coverage of a murder plot against one of the artists. There is a growing feeling among journalists that they will not be pushed around by Islamic extremists.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Hatem Abunimeh said...

The fiduciary Jordanian Neo-Luddite are on the march.......again

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that one of the cartoonists died by a stroke (the one that hits small arteries in the brain neither by a stroke of furious Danish lightening nor by a mad paintbrush!) was the cause of brainless jubilation in Jordan. Why cant anyone in the Arab/ Muslim world say: yes , funny pic that is hahaha look at how they convey our prophet those ignorant Danes. They should research it more; he was not a beefy man. We can make a fuss about how can we try to have a propaganda campaign to try and replace the image of Abu Hamzeh Al Masri with the full gear (the beady eye, the pirates hook and the smell of rotten flesh) with that of Amro Khalid (yak, puke, puke)
Khalaf, revealing your full identity will not allow you to post this one for sure. The wrath of the so-called islamists will jump at the chance. Keep blogging anonymously and I will be very happy to disagree or agree with you in this forum
P.S: Is there a chance that we will enjoy the footie without a civil war in Lebanon this summer?

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice blog Khalaf, I find your writing very interessting, sadly it is neither you nor I that set the political agenda.
The newest twist is that Jordan will break diplomatic relations with Denmark over this, it seems like a very drastic action? I mean if all countries broke Diplomatic connections with each other, just because of some writings in a national independent newspaper.


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