February 11, 2006


Organized Apoplexy: It is important for people in the West to realize how the "Danish cartoon apoplexy" was started. (DAVID WARREN, 2/10/06, Ottawa Citizen)

Contrary to the impression left by most mainstream media, most of the Muslim world does not read Danish, store Danish flags in their closets, or have sea-mail subscriptions to all the Danish provincial newspapers. Everything they needed to riot was supplied, including a large volume of hateful lies.

Riots seldom, perhaps never happen spontaneously, in the Muslim world, or in ours for that matter. You need people committed to setting the bold example — to pitching the first rock through the first window. And as we were reminded by the recent riots in France, it takes organization to keep a riot going. Witness the young men on scooters with cellphones, scouting fresh streets for the vandals to attack.

On Monday morning, the Wall Street Journal fleshed out what Danish media and the interested blogosphere had been uncovering through last week: the true history of how the international riots were organized and seeded.

Moral Atomic Bomb: One can find these cartoons mediocre. One can perceive in them, as I do, a certain similarity with the anti-Semitic and racist caricatures of the 1930s or '50s (BERNARD-HENRI LEVY, 2/10/06, Wall Street Journal)
However you might look at the problem, it is hard not to see that insidious forces have brought these drawings to the attention of the Muslim masses. And it is hard not to link this provocation, the deliberate circulation of these cartoons, the quasi-home-delivery of a Danish paper that no one could have guessed had so many readers in the Muslim world, it is hard not to link this self-inflicted blasphemy, this calculated offense (calculated, mind you, by the organizers of the distribution of the cartoons), it is hard not to link this blasphemy to a new planetary configuration, itself determined by three recent and major events.

The diversionary tactic of a Syria which we never saw so concerned over religious matters, but which now turns out to be capable of anything — including infiltrating agents into Lebanon and sponsoring demonstrations in Damascus, where it is well known that nothing of the sort can happen without the explicit assent of the government — in order to reclaim its role as a great regional agitator and make everyone forget the involvement of its secret services in the murder of Rafik Hariri.

The hardening of Iran's Islamic Republic, ready to make all kinds of theological concessions (including a grand historic alliance of Shiites and Sunnis, which experts have been telling us for decades would be against nature) with the goal of heading up in the Muslim and Arab world the grand anti-Christian, anti-Semitic and antidemocratic crusade.

And then this tragedy in the Palestinian territories of the victory of an ideology whose themes (the call, based on the denial of the Holocaust, for the pure and simple destruction of Israel and the Jews) had up to now been in power only in openly dictatorial, sometimes even crypto-fascist, states. This ideology has triumphed for the first time in a long while through democratic decision and the sacred path of the ballot. Would we be witnessing, without this electoral sacrament of Hamas, Hebron crowds so sure of their right to hold any Westerner in the West Bank accountable for the offense? Would we be witnessing all these Fatah militants — were it not for the will to defy Hamas on the very terrain where it won — actually trying to outbid everyone else in the grotesque denunciation of the "French position," as manifested by the reprinting of the cartoons in an obscure Parisian newspaper?

These three events are linked as a triangle. There is between these three poles a veritable triangle of death, which is in the process of locking into place thanks to the cartoons affair — and which, if it is successfully welded together, will produce not just symbolic heat, but, with an Iranian bomb, a fissile heat unlike anything we saw in the good old axis of evil.

Palestine will settle itself, but it's up to us to regime change Syria and take out Iran's nuclear program, unluss Ayatollah KHamenei moves quickly.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2006 10:11 AM

Levy does seem adept at recognizing the problem, while at the same time being on the wrong side of the political spectrum to figure out the solution.

Posted by: John at February 11, 2006 10:38 AM

Once the cartoons were published, there was really no choice but to stand firmly against the protesters and tell them to go suck lemons. This has to be the worst response. It is interesting that Anglo-American papers by and large declined to publish but would presumably go ballistic over this kind of interference while the "courageous" European press published and (as far as I can tell)aren't protesting.

Posted by: Peter B at February 12, 2006 6:32 AM
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