Friday, February 03, 2006

Taking The Mickey

Cartoon fever getting way out of hand now. There were plenty of good arguments going on over at the Beirut Spring comments, each interesting and worth a read.
Fundamentalism and fanaticism in anything is something I despise as it doesn't allow for dialogue or tolerance. Freedom of expression is one of the fundamental freedoms distinguishing democracies from dictatorships and should be upheld at any cost.

I'm not condoning the cartoons nor am I condemning them but Europe has a long tradition of lampooning religion and this is one of the things that make it so much more tolerant.
The contemporary equivalents of a Spanish Inquisition have no place in modern society but the fear of being politically incorrect or worse, being labeled intolerant, is driving so many countries to be browbeaten and back down on issues that made them what they are - and this by the very minorities who moved to those countries in search of a better life in the first place.
Voltaire famously said: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
Right on.

Shiite ministers from Amal and Hezbollah returned to Parliament yesterday ending their almost 2-month long Cabinet boycott. This was achieved after Prime Minister Saniora said: "We have never called and will never call the resistance by any other name but the resistance and it is a national resistance and we will not use any other expression to describe it but national resistance."

He added: "The government is completely committed to the ministerial statement and the article that acknowledges the national resistance role in liberating Lebanese lands. It is a big role and we never called this role other than national resistance."

So it's the national resistance, is it? Monty Python may have writing credits for that. Supposedly, this will get Hezbollah of the hook from Resolution 1559 by declaring them a 'resistance movement' not a 'militia'. They still have guns and they are still not the army - use all the nuances you like, it doesn't change the fact that Lebanon's greatest source of instability at the moment is from the 2 heavily-armed non-army factions - Hezbollah and the Palestinians in the camps.

Front page of the Daily Blah today has a photo of a giant shark fished off the coast of Tyre, titled 'Jaws comes to Tyre' (such wit). The blurb underneath said it was a blue shark and one 'veteran' fisherman said that this kind of shark is usually found only in the Atlantic and Indian oceans and so must have "lost its way."
Idiots. There's got to be an opening for a fact-checker there.
Now, I'm no marine biologist but I can tell you at first glance that the shark was not a blue shark at all, but a European basking shark. Toothless, plankton-eating, gentle giant of the sea. You can swim next to them, touch them, play with them and they wouldn't even look at you. The Tyre fishermen named the shark "Morina".
I've renamed it "Still Dead".

And by the way, it's also an endangered species. Way to go, guys.

This weekend brings two great sporting clashes in the guise of Wales vs. England in the rugby union Six Nations tournament (I know Ireland are playing too, but only against Italy.....Ireland vs. England is the last game of the tournament!). And on Sunday, my lovely Chelsea host LiverPoo in the Premiership. There's also a nasty rumour going round that I may soon be in the possession of a Chelsea season ticket. Maybe their 3 back-to-back draws are the result of them not hearing my voice in the stands. I hope I can stand the excitement of it all.

Yesterday, even German great Franz Beckenbauer said that England are the best team in Europe and can win the World Cup. Am I annoying yet, Dylan?!

Enjoy yours.


macdara said...

yes but we will be watching the Ireland Italy game?
Are you out tonight for pints?

Dylan said...

What can I say about the cartoons !
firstly, they were published way back in September and most likley made little or no impression on the Danish (non-muslim) public at large. If anything maybe they personified the western image of modern day Islam Violent, barbaric, etc.This may not be the correct image, but with suicide bombers, beheadings, damage controll in the public opinion department needs to kick in fast. The reaction or OVER reaction has done 2 things. 1. insured the WHOLE world has seen the drawings and 2. confirmed the western belief of modern day Islam. I know many muslim friends who ridicule the Hindu religion or Budda for example. Is it a case of people in glass houses .......?