Sunday, February 05, 2006

Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz says sorry...


…after a Polish newspaper added to the long list of European titles to publish the cartoons that have sparked off violent protest all over the place.

After the up market daily Rzeczpospolita printed the oh-so-unfunny images, Catholic Prime Minister Marcinkiewicz showed solidarity with the religious everywhere. The Syrian Arab News Agency reports:

"It is a duty to apologize to those who felt offended when seeing the cartoons in the paper," the Premier Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said in a statement distributed by the Polish embassy in Damascus today.

Marcinkiewicz underlined that media's role is not to provoke hatred or aggression among people, noting that many Polish social circles and the Catholic-Islamic Council also condemned such behavior.

He underscored that Poland respects all other religions and wish to develop the friendly ties with Arab and Islamic countries.

He also said: “It is my conviction that the bounds of properly conceived freedom of expression have been overstepped.”

Polish editors be warned.

The editor of Rzeczpospolita, Grzegorz Gauden, says that the media cannot be blackmailed by the aggressive and threatening noises coming from the Middle East, Asia and some European cities.

But most of the media are either supporting religious sensibility, or wisely – given the present political climate here, with religious groups in the ascendancy - but a little sheepishly, keeping their heads down.

The Polish Muslim Association , which represents 25,000 Muslims in Poland, is considering taking legal action against the newspaper for inciting religious hatred.

What has outraged Muslims so much is that the cartoons reproduce an image of Mohammed - strictly a no-no with Islam. But EU referendum blog points to a page that shows that there have been many, often beautiful, images of the prophet created over centuries. This is a must see site, with loads of examples, including cartoons in recent periodicals that have not received the same publicity and so have not created so much anger.

12 comments:

eulogist said...

Wow, those images are indeed amazing. And not only because they are beautiful...

beatroot said...

They are interesting...I'm hoping that someone who knows a bit about this can explain why there is so much fuss about the Danish images, but not about all those.

And there is some great art there, too.

Warsaw Crow said...

Thanks for the link to the images.

Looking at the Danish toons alongside all those other largely smarter examples of satirical press cartoons...

...perhaps the Danish ones were simply crude and therefore universal enough for the majority of Muslims (already feeling constantly chastised and harrassed by outside powers) to feel the time has come to say quite literally:

"Just shut-up about us and who you think we are!"

beatroot said...

If I was the Danish, French, Italian editor, I think I would probably not have printed the cartoons. Maybe this is the wrong issue to stand up for free speech.

And yes, Arabs have been at the wrong end of imperialism for centuries. And invading Iraq has underlined that.

But what I can't stand is the victim mentality of some of these people. They are fitting in with the general infantilism of the West, where adults are increasingly asking the state to protect them from being 'offended'. All the muslims are doing is throwing this back in the west's faces.

Just what is wrong with being offensive? Offending someone is not like a physical attack.

We are now appraoching the day when governments will make offending someone a criminal offence.

Are we all little children that need protecting from things that might upset us?

Isn't it time we grew up?

DBN said...

1) I believe in the right to Free Speech; What the Danish and other papers did was rude and crass- but this musr remain legal.

2) One reason behind Rzeczpospolita's applogy that no one seems to mention, is that the company that owns the paper, Presspublica, is partly owned by the State Treasury. So, in a sense, the Government profited financially from these publications.

DBN said...

49% of Rzeczpospolita belongs to the State Treasury, 51% belongs to a Norwegian company.

Norwegian? Hmm, I wonder if there was any pressure on Gauden to show "solidarity" with the Scandinavians.

~JS said...

I would like to know why depicting Mohammed in images is prohibited?

beatroot said...

dbn - nice point about Rzepa apology.

But it was an apology with a justification in it, which was correct.

And you are right: most of the cartoons are crass - and childish. Satire that's childish is just like sticking your finger up at something, saying rude words at it and sticking your tongue out. Not really worth a clash of civilisations over.

js - its about this 'craven images' thing. Go in a mosque and you won't see any images. In the Sophia mosque in Istambul there are plaques where images used to be when the city was Constantinople and christian. Now there is just some arabic writing on black round discs, nothing else.

Remember the taliban and banning pictures of anything living? They did that because only Allah can make images of living things. But not many Muslims think or believe that. But the no images of the prophet is one of the things that has become strict.

Didn't know I was a theologist, did you?

DBN said...

This also explains why the Arabs and Persians have such beautiful decorative art.

beatroot said...

Good point. So that also explains why Morocans and Turks have such nice carpets!

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