The Electric Commentary

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Where are all of those flags coming from?

The market in action:

When entrepreneur Ahmed Abu Dayya first heard that Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were being reprinted across Europe, he knew exactly what his customers in Gaza would want: flags to burn.

Abu Dayya ordered 100 hard-to-find Danish and Norwegian flags for his Gaza City shop and has been doing a swift trade.

"I do not take political stands. It is all business," he said in an interview. "But this time I was offended by the assault on the Prophet Mohammad."

By the way, is anyone else shocked that this is still news, and still inciting violence? Maybe it's just my recent increase in exposure to NPR, which mentions the story every 15 minutes, but I'm shocked that this hasn't fizzled out.

America is sometimes criticized for having a short attention span, but occasionally that can be a good thing. It means that we don't waste too much time on any individual piece of worthless garbage.


  • I'm not suprised. I'm sure Al Queda and certain leaders such as Syria and Iran are encouraging it. Iran is deliberately and openly stoking the fire through a Holocaust cartoon contest and announcing trade sanctions with great bluster.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 12:25 PM  

  • Why is this worthless garbage? I think it's an extremely important story.

    By Blogger MDS, at 1:53 PM  

  • The story is important, however, worrying about comics in some other country that critique your religion, to the point of starting fires in an embassy, is worthles garbge.

    My point was that we tend not to stay on a topic long enough to get angry enough to burn down an emabssy. That, and we're civilized. They're both good qualities.

    For the record, I'm fine with their boycott protest (although I still think they're stupid for caring at all) and I'm fine with flag burning. The violence is the story.

    Oh, and many NPR (and BBC) shows are laying the blame squarely on the Danish papers for "inciting violence." That really pisses me off. They're also talking about the need to "balance" free speech with "responsibility."

    You do not need the first amendment (or free speech in general) to protect recipes.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 2:11 PM  

  • I guess we're in complete agreement, then. It's outrageous the way some people are blaming the papers for printing the comments. Bill Clinton is on my short list for the greatest men ever to walk the earth, but I'm pissed at him for implying that the papers that printed the comics are somehow to blame. It's the same with the Newsweek thing, when Newsweek published a story saying Americans flushed a Koran down a toilet, and then people said Newsweek was to blame for the resulting riots. Uh, no. The rioters are to blame for the riots.

    By Blogger MDS, at 3:15 PM  

  • "The rioters are to blame for the riots."

    obviously i couldn't agree more. this whole "blame the newsies" thing is akin to blaming the red sox (or mlb) for the riots that took place in boston after they won the world series.

    i also agree that this is a huge story. is this not a perfect time for the west to point out the assinine "logic" being used by these rioters? the free world should be crucifying those morons and instead are sensitizing their motivations. every time someone says their actions were justified, the extremist islamic wing gains power and with it an indirect blessing to commit acts of violence.

    By Blogger ethan, at 4:17 PM  

  • On NewsHour on Monday they had two speakers on who were some sort of experts.

    One argued that the riots are happening because of underlying resentment toward European and American policies as persecuting their religion. For instance the rioters may find it hypocritical and cannot comprehend how they cannot wear a turban to school, but the papers can trash their religion. Both seem to be freedom of expression. He also cited the unrest in France not to long ago as another example of riots breaking out over a minor issue as just a break-out of a deeper smoldering fire (in that case Muslims fleeing police were electrocuted when they hid in a transformer or something equally obviously dangerous).

    The other speaker basically said that Muslim nations are very immature when it comes to freedom of speech and many people in them do not understand it and the tolerance it requires because this is a lesson that comes from actually having free speech. Note: Many of them have state controlled newspapers and don't understand independence of the press either. He said that the rioters basically expect to be respected, but do not want to have to give respect. Building on this view, I would add that American tolerance for free speech had to develop historically as well. Tolerance for insults and other similar speech was not always strongly protected in the U.S. Jehovah's witnesses and socialists used to be persecuted for their speech. Flag burning may be another example.

    I personally think that there are definite factions of power in many of these countries whose ability to mobilize people and control them relies on a mantra of an ongoing attack on Islam by American and the West. By stoking these sentiments they can strengthen their influence and increase their ability to disparage Western ideals that threaten their hold on power.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 7:09 PM  

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