Monday, February 13, 2006
-----------------------Valley of the Wolves: Mucking About
This is a very amusing shout-fest about the recently released Turkish propaganda film. It's not a particularly adept or comprehensive defense of freedom of speech, granted, but it is perhaps a difficult position to maintain when you have to disentagle two threads of the argument while going up against Donahue, the well-rehearsed bulldozing machine that is mouthpiece of the League of Extraordinary Catholics, who believes offending religion should be out of the question. I would be nowhere as quick to rule out prosecuting people for appearing in Nazi propaganda films during that time, though I would need a more detailed scenerio to make such a decision as well, but then again I wasn't the one on the hot seat. Like I said before, the only time freedom of speech should not be used as a defense is when specific incitements to violence can be traced directly to acts of violence, where it is akin to a mob boss giving orders to kill people while keeping his hands clean. I agree with Donahue on one thing, though, that the most ridiculous aspect of this thing is the response of the prime minister or government officials going on record to say how great this movie is and how it represents the truth and--I would add-- while at the same time writing a letter to European and Arab leaders condeming the cartoons and the violence (an action which the League of C-men would basically agree with).
As for the Anti-Semitism in the film, present but not really in the foreground, the doctor Busey plays comes off more as an American who happens to be Jewish rather than than a Jew who happens to be an American. This movie is often intentionally and unintentionally hilarious though, and the more that aspect of it is emphasized locally the better.
Also: Ayaan Hirsli Ali produces a definitive speech on the cartoon affair. Even though it's not a Turkish voice it's good to see the Turkish Daily News publish two columns by the Danish Robert Ellis:
In Denmark the protest against the cartoons is led by the Islamisk Trossamfund (Islamic Community), which claims to represent the resident population of 200,000 Muslims. However, this claim has been shown to be exaggerated, as it turns out they only have around 15,000 supporters. But the damage has been done, as this organization, led by a Palestinian imam called Abu Laban, has sent delegations to various Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, to gain support. This organization has subsequently been exposed as speaking with two tongues, as Abu Laban recently stated that they were opposed to the boycott of Danish goods and "sincerely regretted" that the matter has escalated. At the same time he stated to Al Jazeera that they "rejoiced" in the boycott. His limp explanation was that he didn't know the microphone was on.