Friday, May 21, 2010
Everybody Draw Mohammed
In the Dar Al Islam, for over a thousand years, that freedom has not existed. You could not question. Even today to question is to court a jail sentence, in even the "moderate" Muslim nations.
When Mohammed ordered the murders of poets and satirist who criticized him, he set the tone for over a millennium of bloodshed. The Muslim today who calls for the murder of cartoonists is not an extremists or a misrepresenter of Islam, he is following the conventional Islamic approach all the way back to the dawn of that faith under the guidance of its prophet.
And the media and Western defenders of Islam know it for the truth. If they truly believed that this was only the work of a tiny minority of extremists who could not tolerate free speech, why would they so aggressively censor it?
If it is only a tiny minority of extremists that are at fault, why did CNN and every major news organize refuse to show Mohammed cartoons, garbling them as if they were as offensive and unacceptable to them... as they are to Muslim believers?
When one examines actions and words, it is always the actions that tell the truth, not the words. When Comedy Central, which boasts of offending every religious group on earth, censors even the tamest and most disguised depictions of Mohammed, its actions speak or a deeper and more disturbing truth, than its words will reveal.
One does not fear this much or compromise this much in the face of a tiny minority of extremists. Not even if they are susceptible to bouts of hysterical violence. Violence after all comes with the territory.
How many media organizations are terrified of the tiny minorities of extremists that exist in most religions? The answer is very few. What is it that makes Islam special? Any honest foreign correspondent can answer that question easily enough.
Because it is not a tiny minority that they are dealing with. But a solid majority that is the product of a culture of religious indoctrination which is intolerant of free speech. And rather than confront this reality, they have chosen to run away and hide. Because confronting it would require addressing their own politics, which scapegoat national defense, while admiring Islamic radicalism. It is easier for them to silence themselves, than make the ideological sacrifices needed to deal with the threat to the underlying freedoms of the free world.
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day crowdsources free speech by confronting the challenge that the mass media runs away from. It defends a heritage of free speech by vigorously confronting those who would deny it.
Artist's Statement: I thought a good way to do my part for Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was to bring the original Kurt Westergaard, Mohammed cartoon to life.
My first depiction envisions the confrontation between modern cultural norms and those of Mohammed by showing Mohammed facing a Western style justice system for the rampage that he spawned.
My second depiction shows Mohammed pitching a Bacon Burger. This image merges Mohammed's dyed red hair with that of Ronald McDonald, to combine an icon of Western consumerism, with what has become an icon of free speech. Envisioning Mohammed playing pitchman in a global marketplace confronts Muslims with the reality that free speech, like fast food is also a global product that they cannot hope to escape.
My third depiction satirizes Mohammed's Night Journey, a later addition to the Islamic mythology which was used to provide a narrative basis for stealing my land, and that today is used to promote calls of genocide against Jews worldwide. Challenging such a poisonous mythology is not only important for free speech, but for any hope of co-existence.