quinta-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2006

The Meaning of the Cartoons

"It isn’t that Muslims (or Arabs) somehow lost the genes for humor. There is plenty of satire, biting and gentle, and plenty of other kinds of humor (even the bawdy kind) across the Muslim world. But there is also a deep sense of the sacred, and Islam’s Prophet is one of those things generally beyond bounds. Muslims would never make fun of Jesus either, or Moses, or Abraham, or any of the other prophets central to the Qur’an, holding the Messengers of God as "out of bounds" when it comes to the creation of cultural products and literary works. It’s telling that Iran’s "we can play the hurt feeling game, too!" cartoon contest is not about the crucifixion, or anything "religious," but instead is about the holocaust.

This is not so much about sacred religion, then, but about sacred politics. Which, in our world of all-powerful nation-states and nanny governments, is all too often the same damn thing for too many people.

And there is a tremendous sense of insecurity in the Islamic world as well. We make tolerance out to be an ideology – one we have and they don’t. But people are generally tolerant only so far as they feel safe and secure, and the traditional power relationship that existed for most of the 1,400-year encounter between Christendom and Dar al Islam – one in which Muslim societies were powerful, wealthy, self-assured and very tolerant – has been reversed, with Muslims reeling from a 200-year-long conquest and occupation of their lands and forceful inclusion in a world they did not define or create and have little control over. It is important to remember exactly where power lies, and who can really do what to whom." Charles H. Featherstone

PS: Uma coisa é não serem devidas desculpas (cujo pedido também não carece de ser interpretado como uma intolerável atentado à liberdade de expressão) nem pela publicação, nem pelo passado imperial (séc.19 e 20) e o presente "status" (Iraque, Afeganistão, etc), nem serem ignoradas as características "atrasadas" do Islão, outra coisa é simplesmente ignorar o contexto desse passado e presente e ainda por cima fazer questão numa bandeira civilizacional a propósito do direito segrado à blasfémia do sagrado.

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