Friday, February 10, 2006 

Muhammad Cartoon Interpreted

Revealing expressions in the heart of European media
posted in response to Cartoon + Interpretation at

Image Hosted by
The Danish Cartoon

This guy looks like a desi - South Asian - bouncer. That explains why he has a ferocious public profile. May be he's a low-ranking sepoy guarding the armament depot - and his headgear is part of the uniform along with other such British colonial curiosities. Can't think of a rebellious British Muslim ex-colony that has gone that way though?

Anyway, the insignia on his turban is a fine piece of Arabic calligraphy of 'there is no god but god, Muhammad is his messenger' - the basic Muslim confession or 'kalma' - probably commissioned by a sultan who is keen on art. And trying to muster an army that will look good in his defence - king of kings, god's shadow on earth. That discounts the subject being a Sikh - who wouldn't wear that, even if he had to quit the army. So its likely this guy's sultan has a tiny monolithic kingdom gone psychotic under threat - but that doesn't explain the art - aesthetics must have been the Sultan's childhood passion - he's making a statement.

Image Hosted by
Sultan Mehmet II

It is doubtful if the subject is very independent-minded - and most likely values loyalty over practicality - which is why he is loaded with a lit bomb on his head and doesn't realize it. He's either a conned neocon, or he's gotta be a masochist spy who loves it - in Europe.

The explanation that makes momentary sense, is that a ferocious looking muslim, like a live bomb about to explode, looks good in Europe.

But the final one has to be that Muhammad's aesthetic is about to ferociously explode in Europe.

Oh how prescient - by about 1400 years.

Image Hosted by
Tughra of Suleiman I


[imgs: Jyllands-Posten, Topkapi Palace]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Cartoon Jokes - Standing Apart From The Bomb

Now for some humorous violence from four artists.

1. Frederic Madre interprets KW's drawing at telling us what the artist really wants to say:

This person . . . seems a bit pissed off that someone has planted a bomb into his hat. [click & scroll down]

2. 0f0003 | maschinenkunst on syndicate`They want to know whether Muslims are extremists or not`:

There were security barriers too, without which,
the Beatles would almost certainly have been crushed
by the throng of screaming women.

3. Ghalib, writing in urdu in 19th century India, with resonance to one of the cartoons, says

Aisi jannat ka kya karein ghalib
Jis mein lakhon baras ki hourein hein

With a jannat like this what would we do Ghalib
Which has houris a million years old !

4. Abhi's illustration on The Sepia Mutiny [click] author-itorially and self-consciously censors the cartoon by substituting text for the bomb - because 'I do not want to fuel the controversy but rather disscus it'. I suppose Abhi implies that the keyboard is mightier than the bomb - and not necessarily a better fuel - but I have my doubts. [click]

Also, Abhi fails to mention in his conclusion about muslims idolizing Muhammad in cartoons, that we need better pictures please!

These can perhaps be all color, which will then not have to be censored, making them censor-proof like this one here.

Now does black stand for punk, modern, or itself?

[imgs: AP & Smithsonian]

Saturday, February 04, 2006 

Extreme Timing ~ Cartoons

Freedom and extremism in media

Chromatius opined in The Muslim Cartoon "Controversy":

Why have they picked this moment to anger millions of Muslims in the name of 'freedom of speech'? This moment to make it an 'issue' and drive it to the top of the news agenda?

The timing is meant to:

1. Promote the idea of the 'Clash of Civiliations'

2. Promote Bin Laden's agenda of extremism

3. Hence also promote the neo-con/crusader agenda, meaning more action (regime change, neutralization) in the muslim world - possibly against hamas, iran, syria, lebanon

4. Punish the neutrality of Europe (minus UK) in the iraq war in Muslim perceptions

5. Divert attention of Muslims from US to Europe

6. Get Europe on board "against" the Muslims

7. To try to give a blow to neutrality, rationality, internationalism, and political realism

8. It is the parting attempt of a failing extremist world policy

9. It is a country coming to terms with the new world, with its glass house broken

It is a strategy ultimately designed to fail today like the war in iraq, although something similar worked successfully before the 1492 reconquista in Spain.


Do I smell the emergence of new nuances of freedom to come from the ashes that confront us?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 

Hamlet by Mohammad Jacques-Pierre

The Prince of Denmark ponders artistic expression, censorship, hesitation, cynicism and violence - all in cartoons.

[in response to post + comments on : Islam - Religion of Intolerance]

Great brawl, people - you've demonstrated how low you can get, and believe yourselves too – that you’ve preserved and delivered these great gems of excresence - here's mine. The latest is that the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten has apologised to 'fellow muslim citizens', followed by a bomb scare - that may or may not have been someone just walking in - wearing a turban.

Actually they are all pedophiles, they love to slash throats, especially those that don't repeat what they are told to. They love violence, and suicide, even more. They are also perverts, and allow only one expression - come f--- me.

Need to know any more? Horror movies and true evil is great isn't it? Especially if you find someone to fit the code - you know what I mean.

It appears that these toons are a series of twelve on a page with text in the middle. [click on thumbnails]

Artistic Expression: why people give a s--- ? because its a matter of 'taste' : they have a right to express their truest feelings about the artists work, (or in case they haven't seen the work then) the subject of the work (even if they overheard about it from their neighborhood training camp)).

Great life, Rushdie, I wish I could offend as many people, even if what you wrote was, uhm, nothing special - just east-west-india woven in - so people from one of these wouldn't know what the f--- the other two creatures lying in bed were doing!

Goofy Cartoons showing turbans which are actually bombs: i'm sure the sikhs, not so much as the fulani, are just as excited that their true nature is finally being revealed. Its a matter of sticking to your most obvious single identity, in a congealing glob-al sewer that respects only freedom of p-ss--g and s--tt--g. Ahh - modern life!

The bomb cartoon does look very South Asian indeed, especially like those orientalist sketches of the natives, em. A compliment to the fascinating Danish culture, several of the artists are very self-conscious about the subjects - either because the subject is so little known - to them or their audiences - or charged with pop public explosiveness [!]

Censorship: of the scarf, of speaking one's own language, and the outrage at the lack of censorship of the artists - who drew at the insistence of the editor - may or may not have been a Rushdie belligerence - but is great publicity for Islam - whatever that is. Oh Prince of Denmark what have thine eyes seen?

Letter of Apology in the Jyllands-Posten - by the Danish newspaper's Editor-in-Chief

All Cartoons

Samizdata link to whole page

Link site to the 12 Cartoons

Saturday, January 28, 2006 

Revisionist History For California Textbooks - Whose History?

India's history is under debate in California in the latest chapter of US textbook revisionism. Californian school history textbooks were altered to support Hindutva and related perspectives, under the advice of Hindu organizations like The Vedic Foundation and Hindu Education Foundation. This is as politically explosive in the US as it is in India and elsewhere.

Schools are where we first socialize with the burgeoning world. And school textbooks are where we decipher the world's written memory - history and how 'we happened'. The debate in California is between Hindu nationalists and others, including academics, who are outraged by the whitewash that is being performed in saffron. Coalitions have broadened. The Hindu nationalist - Hindutva - character of the revisionists has put diversity and religious pluralism at risk.

The advocacy site describes this as the "Hindutva assault on school history textbooks of the kind that went on a few years ago in India". According to ZMag the positions are "consistent with the attempts of Hindutva groups toward rewriting history in India, where sectarian education campaigns undertaken by Hindu extremist groups demonize minorities through the teaching of fundamentalist curricula".

In the US, controversies over history textbooks are nothing new. They have been documented for current reference. Jonathan Zimmerman in a review of Joseph Moreau's Schoolbook Nation (2003) writes: "The texts have always presented a hodgepodge of complex and even contradictory perspectives, reflecting the diverse interests and influences of the Americans who sought to change them: neo-Confederate white southerners in the 1890s, anti-British immigrants in the 1920s, African Americans in the 1960s, and so on."

Books analyzing content and attacks on textbooks include Frances FitzGerald's America Revised (1979), James Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me (1995), Joseph Moreau's Schoolbook Nation (2003), Jonathan Zimmerman's Whose America? (2002) and Gerard Giordano's Twentieth-Century Textbook Wars (2003).

While revision of South Asian history was due, as was evident when issues of incorrectness arose in Virginia some time ago, the ideologues have overstated their case in California. The Christian Science Monitor correctly takes this to be the global assertion in the US, of a particular religious nationalism. It notes that: "The Board of Education has already heard from South Indians who argued that the HEF [Hindu Education Foundation] and Vedic Foundation represent a North Indian upper-caste perspective."

also on Blogcritics and Desicritics with discussion and additional links

+++ (cartoon source)
Times of India
Sepia Mutiny on issue in Virginia
CSMonitor - India history spat hits US

Thursday, January 26, 2006 

Humorous Hamas Hummus & Hubris Hummers for Hamastan ~

Following up on the post re
Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and the idea of a Jerusalem I am pleased to observe it exists. Hamas’ electoral entry is the single most fruitful development in the US initiative for freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Hamas will allow others’ right to exist, through events thick and thin, lunching likud logic of a Hamastan.

>Netanyahu: 'Hamastan' has been created before our eyes - Haaretz
>Victory Ends 40 Years of Political Domination by Arafat's Party - NYT
>Comment: The Palestinians' democratic choice must be respected - Guardian
>Analysis: Hard men to deal with - Guardian

Monday, January 23, 2006 

Pakistan lifts ban on Indian films ~

from the Guardian:

Bollywood movies, the subcontinent's most visible cultural export, are to be allowed to be screened in Pakistan, which has decided to lift the decades-old ban on Indian films as part of the peace process between the two neighbours.

Pakistan has outlawed public screenings of Indian films since a 1965 war, but has now removed from censorship guidelines the all-important words "Indian artiste" and "Indian director", according to the Times of India.

more >>

Friday, January 20, 2006 

Pemra 2 - Cable Hunger Strikes Back !

Pemra's impossible stand on cable policy much to the chagrin of TV viewers across the country has now led to a cable operators strike across Sindh including Karachi. If irrelevance has any
significance it is in Pemra's vision of its role in the life of cable TV in people's lives. apna mazak khud urwanay wali baat hai, to say nothing of the fact that Indian productions are not in a langue foreign to us.

Cable TV operators switch off telecasts - Dawn
Kion Kay Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahoo Thi: Viewers force cable operators to flout PEMRA ban - Daily Times

Monday, January 16, 2006 

Jerusalem's Worth?

What is Jerusalem worth?

Nothing. Everything.

From Kingdom of Heaven (2005) directed by Ridley Scott. The link is to Wikipedia which also has a section on historical accuracy which is readable.

The irony of the misadventure in Baghdad is on target in the historical twist landing between humanism and tolerance.

Saturday, January 07, 2006 

Gaze-cradle in the late morning

Gaze-cradle in the late morning,
for me to look at a garden,
which would not fail my soul,
I know . . .

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 

Pemra Resisting Global TV ? Not Quite !

With ultimately misplaced apprehensions of my own, hence optimism, for a future media environment, this is a significant shake-up/shaping-up to global engagement. Opening the door to business may be easier than having a state consensual agenda on content. For media matters, we are better off without it, it seems. Once (if!) things are in place - institutions, citizen involvement - we can a have things like a real media policy and broadcast codes. Till then its ... tinkering as usual.

Electronic media policy soon, says Aziz - Daily Times
Channels put off air temporarily: Pemra - Dawn
What your tv giveth, PEMRA taketh away - KO

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 

Adab أدب Humanism & the Renaissance ~

from discussion on Wikipedia regarding 'humanism'

... If we trace Dante's inluences (in Wikipedia), we go back to the 'Sicillian school' and the court of 'Frederik II of Sicily'. If we look at influences, later adventures and the early life of Frederik II (for example thru Wikipedia) we will easily see the influence of arab culture. This is one line of capturing the interaction of the many local flavors with the 'inspired' (later 'enlightened') cultural influences of the muslim, jewish and christian arabs, already floating around the mediterranean for a while.

Responding to another point: I think the comparison of the renaissance with our times is incisively relevant because of the play between technological development and the human spirit. I think we would be cutting our roots off thinking what we have, happened out of the blue. We have everything to learn, especially from humanism, as we move in a post-human society like the modern industrial economies.

The Sicilian School
Frederick II of Sicily
Marsilio Ficino


Ghalib and Netochka ~

An imaginary ghalib, Ghaliban encounters Netochka Nezvanova in a colony asking the question:

:: between truth + paradise, which do you choose +?

In the disappearing sea of fregesense of baudrilacrum:
saith ghalib anon, that he knoweth the truth of paradise,
but, it is a lullaby for the heart.

from here on
truth shall veil beauty . . . ^ . . . ^ . . . ^ o ^ . . .