Thursday, September 28, 2006

The End of the Beginning?

A few days ago I commented on my blog Libertad y Razón (in Spanish), about an interesting analysis from Tom Blankey. He argued in an article here that there are strong signs that the West is starting to wake up to the threat of Islamism. He links the lecture given by Pope Benedict XVI in a German University, where he chose to quote the Byzantine Emperor, and a published article by that master of diplomacy Mr. Henry Kissinger, in which he pointed also to the threat of Islamism.

Now that the issue of the cancellation of the Opera Idomeneo in Berlin has provoked controversy, and official figures like Angela Merkel have spoken to defend freedom of speech and have ridiculed the attitude of bowing down to a threat that is not even an actual threat, but only a potential (although most probable) one, I think all this gives support to Mr. Blankey's point.

Of course, the blogosphere has been and will continue to play a very importante part in waking up our people. Just as Winston Churchill was ridiculed as "warmonger" for years for denouncing the Nazi Germany's rearmament and plans for European imperialism, but eventually people recognized that he had been right all along, the same will happen with the Hirsi Alis, Paul Beliens, Oriana Fallacis (R.I.P.) and "right-wing-nuts" of our time.

If that time is now or approaching, it will mark not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but certainly the end of the beginning (could't help quoting Sir Winston here!)


Pastorius said...

Yes, I am glad you said this. It will not mark the end. It will mark the beginning of some of the fiercest battles. When we begin to really counter, they will, likely, not back down, but will instead, do as they are doing in Belgium currently, riot and threaten.

It will require resolve. I hope that each succeeding day of idiotic behavior from Muslims will stiffen our resolve.

Anonymous said...

Most people and newspapers in Germany criticize the cancellation of this Mozart opera. Even a representative of one of many Muslim organization criticized this decision.

I think I am in a very small minority who approves of the decision. It's an insult to all religions and to Mozart himself.

What benefit would we get if we had this opera? It seems the only reason to defend this stupid opera is to avoid giving the impression of appeasement to the Islamofascists. That's not enough for me. Analogy: People can call me coward all day, but I don't get intimidated. I am not doing something just to prove to someone that I am not a coward. Well, I did that in kindergarten and elementary school, but now I am more confident and don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone. Jesus, what a hero I am. :-)

Is this opera helping us? No, I think this opera would only strengthen Islamofasicsm since it would help their propaganda. To win the war on terrorism, we need to have moderate Muslims on our side, so that they don't support the terrorists, but give us information about them. And we want the moderate Muslims to win over their autocratic governments and fundamentalist groups in the Arab world. This opera, however, alienates the moderate Muslims and helps the fundamentalists.

I think we should criticize the Arab world all day on how they treat women, violate human rights, lack democracy, have too much corruption, etc etc. And we should lecture them all day that they should make peace with Israel, that they should spend their money education rather than military, that they should save Darfur, that they need economic reforms etc etc. Since nobody likes to be attacked, criticized and lectured on every issue, we should avoid making fun of their Prophet of defaming their Prophet. Rather we should focus on the topics that matter. That's not appeasement, but about focusing on what is important and it is about setting priorities.

Though, as I said: I am in the minority on this one. Most Germans criticize the cancellation of the opera. It was the opera house who decided to cancel the show. Not the federal or the city government. If (!) the government had told the opera show to cancel the show, then I would be critical and complain about strangeling free speech and about unacceptable government intervention into the arts. But that was not the case.

Let's not forget that Muslims are not the only religious group who dislikes controversial art:

This is from Oct 23, 1998: "Last May, William Donohue, the ever-vigilant president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, raised quite a ruckus about the fact that Corpus Christi, Terrence McNally's play-in-progress, featured a gay, Christ-like protagonist who has sex, off-stage, with his male disciples. Donohue, who has a gift for strained analogies that rivals McNally's own, has called the play "hate speech," "bigotry," and of course "blasphemy." He has argued that a similar depiction of a black or Jewish religious figure would be roundly condemned. Only Catholics and their beliefs, Donohue insists, are held up to such ridicule."
Long article here:

Yeah, yeah, this only happens to Catholics.... Right! And some Jews say those kind of attacks only happen to Jews. And some Muslims say those things only happen to Muslims

The play was then shown after all. And perhaps the Idomeneo opera will be shown as well soon. They certainly got a lot of publicity, which they ususallly would never get.

"On May 23, 1998, the New York Times announced that the Manhattan Theatre Club would be canceling its scheduled production of playwright Terrence McNally's newest play, Corpus Christi, due to bomb and death threats made against the theatre, its personnel, and the playwright. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights disavowed responsibility for the threats but did publicly applaud the decision, calling the play "blasphemous." A week later, after counter-demonstrations by a roster of well-known contemporary playwrights, the play was reinstated at MTC. Although the Catholic League's president had not read the play, reports claiming that it depicted a gay Jesus-like figure who has sex with his apostles was enough to ignite a series of events that captured the attention of New Yorkers, theatre artists and others, perhaps to a greater extent than McNally's play itself. On opening night, two separate demonstrations took place concurrently on opposite ends of the block outside the theater."

The same play was shown in Germany, but then cancelled after death threats and bomb threats.

Pastorius said...

I don't think lecturing Muslims that they ought to treat women better or that they should accept Israel is going to help. Why? Because the Koran tells them to do what they do.

And yes, it is true that they could simply take over by waiting out the demographics, but it isn't true that that is how they do it. Look at Kashmir. What they do is become the majority in an area and then begin agitating (through terrorism, attacks on Chritians, Hindus and churches, etc,) to take over the area.

Jaime Raúl Molina said...

Well, whenever an "art" (if that can be called art) exposition takes place with "art" pieces like a crucifix submerged in a glass filled with urine, I don't see hordes of fundamentalist Christians vandalizing embassies, or killing people or detonating bombs.

In fact, no Western official authority is banning such expressions of "art". The reason for the tolerance is that we believe in freedom, even the freedom to express oneself in an unpolite way with very bad taste.

And if it were the case that an official authority in a Western country tried to ban something like that, the outcry would come precisely from Western people. Look at the success of books like Da Vinci Code, and you'll see what I mean.

Every person has the right to form his own judgement on other people's actions or tastes. I have my own opinion that "art" such as dropping a crucifix in a glass full of urine is of really bad taste. But I will be the first one to defend the right of that "artist" to express his bad taste freely.

Do we ever see that from Muslim people?