Look What You Made Me Do!

One of the classic ways abusers internally deflect responsibility is via a twisted transferance of blame to the victim. In other words, it was something little Tommy had done (or heck, simply who he was) that made Dad (and, alas, it’s usually Dad) beat him black and blue.

What makes the dialectic particulalry insidious is that should Tommy accept the blame, the abuse leaps from being merely physical into psychological & emotional. In that strange realm, Tommy’s self-sufficiency & worth plummets as Good/Bad is no longer something he can independently judge for himself but rather, becomes wholly determined by the tormentor’s chosen response.

Sadly, the recent bombings of the Danish embassy in Pakistan has brought forth language that’s more fitting a domestic abuse case than international diplomacy –

Fauzia Mufti Abbas, Pakistan’s ambassador to Denmark, agreed that the Mohammed cartoons, first published in Jyllands-Posten newspaper in October 2005, had incited Muslim anger and were possibly the motivation for the attack, which killed eight and wounded as many as 30.

‘It isn’t just the people of Pakistan that feel they have been harassed by what your newspaper has begun,’ she said. ‘I’d like to know if your newspaper is satisfied with what it has done and what it has unleashed?’

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p>Thankfully, the Dane’s recognize their values have worth & aren’t willing to accept blame -

Jørn Mikkelsen, Jyllands-Posten’s editor-in-chief, defended his newspaper’s decision to print the cartoons.

‘The decision to do so was in full accordance with Danish law, Danish press ethics and Danish press traditions. That the facts have been twisted in the rest of the world and misused for purposes that are no concern of Jyllands-Posten is something we can and will not take responsibility for.’

Bravo. The real criminals are the ones hurling bombs, not operating printing presses.

188 thoughts on “Look What You Made Me Do!

  1. This is hilarious. Is this going to be the official Pakistani position on the blast? The Pakistani elite has fastidiously played its role of keepers of the barbarians for decades. Even today morning, a suited-booted Husain Haqqani was with Wolf Blitzer, articulately arguing for more co-operation between CIA and ISI, and bemoaning Pakistan’s terrorism problem. This doesn’t gel with the script. Maybe Pakistan doesn’t think Denmark is important enough to warrant the hand-wringing parade. Or is this a signifier of a major change within Pakistan. Lets see if Pakistan apologizes for the faux pas.

  2. Thus far, George A has accused the cartoons of “preventing Muslim self-determination” and equated them to 300 year run of European colonialism. Who knew? Apparently the pen really is mightier than the sword.

    < >

    Not really. It might help if you quit using buzzwords like “perlocutionary” to excuse the inexcusable, though. Such a paradigm is not sufficiently out of the box to leverage synergy.

    Seriously, dude, tell me you’re a troll. You read like a National Review cartoon strawman.

    Speedy

  3. sakshi, stop trying to engage in perlocutionary silencing of pakistanis. you are clearly one who perceives them as barbaric and violent from the get-go (oh, i wonder why!).

  4. sakshi, stop trying to engage in perlocutionary silencing of pakistanis. you are clearly one who perceives them as barbaric and violent from the get-go (oh, i wonder why!).

    For the other ignoranti like me: per·lo·cu·tion·ar·y –adjective Philosophy, Linguistics. (of a speech act) producing an effect upon the listener, as in persuading, frightening, amusing, or causing the listener to act.

    Incidentally, I do not perceive Pakistanis as any more inherently barbaric than Indians. I do feel that the Pakistani elite completely abdicated their responsibility post-Independence, and played a hypocritical game of out-Islamizing each other just to keep their tenuous hold on power. The Zia-ul-Huq years fucked Pakistan up for good.

  5. sakshi, stop trying to engage in perlocutionary silencing of pakistanis. you are clearly one who perceives them as barbaric and violent from the get-go (oh, i wonder why!).

    btw, I realized you were being sarcastic :) (that was not clear from my comment).

  6. One final comment, to clarify I am not defending the attack on the Danish embassy or any other terrorist incident.

    What bothers me is that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons are made out to be emblems of free speech. Far from a fruitful exchange of ideas, the cartoons along innumerable with other such acts conducted under the shelter of free speech have lead to the marginalization (de facto ‘silencing’) of Muslim voices.

    It was not my intent to equate colonialism with problems facing Muslims. I just wanted to give an example of a case where a group of people had been silenced, not literally, but by denying them any authority to speak seriously on some of the biggest issues that faced them. I apologize if anyone was offended by this comparison.

    Many people, Americans in particular, ideologically ascribe to freedom of speech without rationally considering its implications. Hopefully you can read my comments with an open mind to understand a different perspective, even if you ultimately choose to reject it.

    Peace.

    Note: The views expressed here are my own, and not those of CAIR-CAN.

  7. “I do feel that the Pakistani elite completely abdicated their responsibility post-Independence, and played a hypocritical game of out-Islamizing each other just to keep their tenuous hold on power. The Zia-ul-Huq years fucked Pakistan up for good.”

    sakshi, your words hurt my feelings and i feel it may result in social injustice. can you email me your real name so i can make sure to sue you if you enter kanada?

    thank you, illiberally yours & proud

  8. What bothers me is that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons are made out to be emblems of free speech. Far from a fruitful exchange of ideas, the cartoons along innumerable with other such acts conducted under the shelter of free speech have lead to the marginalization (de facto ‘silencing’) of Muslim voices.

    your personal assertion that muslims are being marginalized and ‘silenced’ (why the quotes???) doesn’t speak to whether muslims are truly being marginalized or ‘silenced.’ since i’m not sure what ‘silenced’ as opposed to silenced means, let’s focus on the marginalization. how do marginalized groups stop being marginalized? do you think a group will cease being marginalized pariahs if they ask the state to intervene on their behalf to muffle critics, vulgar and obscene though they may be, with fiat power? agency can not be handed on the silver platter or slipped through the skirts of the take, it must be grasped through personal and concerted action (you allude to this yourself). as it is, suing individuals because of ‘hate speech’ simply makes muslims more marginalized and detested. the united states has the best protection of free speech aside from the nordic countries in the western world, and i would argue that it has one of the best records of relations between muslims & non-muslims.

    Many people, Americans in particular, ideologically ascribe to freedom of speech without rationally considering its implications.

    this is because americans tend to privilege freedom of speech on deontological grounds. speech are the ends, not the means. granted, there are limits we place on speech, so curtailment is a principle that is in common circulation. many others tend to see speak through a more consequentialist lens. part of the miscommunication is simply a chasm of normative frameworks which really are going to be difficult to resolve in any manner satisfying to “both sides.” to use an analogy, asking an american to rationally consider the implications of freedom of speech is liking asking someone to rationally consider the implications of abolitionism. one can admit that abolition implies some sort of settlement where ex-slaves can fend for themselves, but there is no doubt that slavery is simply not on the table as a rational course of action no matter the consequentialist arguments brought to bear.

  9. sakshi, your words hurt my feelings and i feel it may result in social injustice. can you email me your real name so i can make sure to sue you if you enter kanada?

    Since when did conservatives start caring about social injustice? ;) Also my shuddha Bharatiya name would be impossible to a mleccha tongue like yours ;) .

  10. I understand the frustration and anger against ridicule. I do believe that many concepts that Muslims hold dear are attacked. However, I do not believe that they are the only group whose views are attacked/ridiculed/marginizaled. For Christ’sAllah’s Krishna’s sake, the Love Guru movie alone should be evidence of that. Judging from the previews, various aspects of Hinduism are exaggerated or perverted or played straight for laughs (or, judging by the audience reaction to the preview, dead silence). It’s unlikely that Hindus will be able to produce and distribute a rebuttal movie using the same network of theatres, so they are effectively silenced from that avenue. Is that justification to bomb movie theatres that show it or put a hit out on Mike Myers? Imprisoning him for crimes against comedy is one thing, but assasination?

    I don’t think it’s fair to characterize this as analgous to colonization– a) the publishing of cartoons was done as a response given the chilling effect that threats of violence for potentially offending Muslims had had on other individuals –it was essentially a refusal to be cowed by threats of violence b) the publishing was done in Denmark by a Danish paper and neither the Danish embassy, nor the Danish government insisted that they be reproduced in Muslim countries and c) the controversy had little to do with issues of self-determination in another area of the globe but rather had to do with the rights of Danish citizens in Denmark. If you agree that Denmark and its citizens should be subject to violence because they offended Muslim sensibilities or marginalized Muslim issues to the point that no one would take such issues seriously then logically you have to agree that Muslim nations and nationals and Muslims who do the some to other’s sensibilities should also be subject to violence. Please feel free to let the Pentagon know, before next year’s budget gets set.

    I agree that there is definitely prejudice against Muslims in the West and that prejudice can be reflected in cartoons, editorials, or possibly even the categorization of individuals as “radical” or “moderate”, but I’m pretty sure that Muslims aren’t the only targets of prejudice, that there are in fact other avenues open to Muslims in the West to address such prejudice without resorting to the prejudice reinforcing tactic of engaging in violence, and that one person’s “prejudice” is another person’s “legitimate critcism”. I also think there’s some confusion in that it is assumed that being heard and acknowledged must necessarily equal being agreed with. People may hear calls for self-determination in Afghanistan. They may strongly disagree. The two are different concepts. Resorting to violence because someone disagrees with your opinion is certainly an option but again, it cuts both ways. They may see one’s World Trade Centre and raise one a carpet bombing of the Kush.

  11. liberals are the least hostile toward muslims and most hostile toward evangelical xtians, with inversions for conservatives. the nonreligious are actually the most tolerant of muslims.

    I guess I’m not the only who has noticed how the elite white starbucks liberals go out of there way to avoid saying anything bad about islam, yet have no problem attacking christians and there religon.

    I think it was Rosie O’Donnell who said that there was no difference among the hardcore nuts in both religons.

  12. Sorry George, I posted before reading your clarification regarding colonialism–please disregard my comments on that point.

  13. When Iranians et al burn an American flag and chant “Death to America” and “Death to the Non-Believers” for the benefit of Al-Jazeera, an act which is deeply offensive to a number of Americans, can they be expected to take responsibility for American violent retaliation?

    Didn’t the Iranians right after the Danish cartoons came out have a contest in one of there newspaper to come up with cartoons mocking the jews.

  14. The West is unable to have a productive peaceful dialogue with the Islamic world because it derides everything they stand for as stupid and barbaric from the get go.

    Yeah, it always easier for everybody to blame the west.

  15. Yeah, it always easier for everybody to blame the west.

    Maybe the west should make a commitment to making the above task a bit more difficult.

  16. Can anyone remind me of the particular reasons that people were offended by the cartoon? I was in Pakistan when the cartoons first caused a stir (note: they had been published previously months earlier, no one seemed to mind then). I first read that the cartoon violated a prohibition against depicting the Prophet Muhammad. However, there have been drawings/paintings of Muhammad in the past (see Iranian painting for some examples). Later, it seems, the argument moved toward the “insulting nature” of the cartoons.

    Neither explanation strikes me as even close for justifying car bombs.

  17. 68 · HMF said

    Maybe the west should make a commitment to making the above task a bit more difficult.

    Maybe Barack Obama should give a speech to call for an elevated international dialogue on cartoons.

  18. Re: the cartoons being an example of free speech. I don’t think the greater Islamic world would have cared (as much) if they were simply being ridiculed in a cartoon. The problem lied merely in depicting Muhammad(pbuh) in pictorial form.. which is such a big no-no it’s not even funny. In fact, I’d be happier with the newspaper calling all Muslims towel-headed terrorists than if all they drew was a stick figure labelled Prophet Muhammad. It seems like a weird thing to get jumped up about – but that’s the way it is I guess, and it would have been good of the newspaper to have heavily taken it into account (even if what they published was in line with ‘Danish press ethics’). In any case, the ultimate price has been payed and the only people to blame are the poor excuses for ‘Muslims’ who have gotten much too used to using violence to make their points.

  19. At this point it is more taboo in the West to mock Islam than it is to mock Christianity.

    You have never heard Islam being called inherently evil in the United States?

  20. ‘It isn’t just the people of Pakistan that feel they have been harassed by what your newspaper has begun,’ she said. ‘I’d like to know if your newspaper is satisfied with what it has done and what it has unleashed?’

    That’s just poppycock. The masses of muslims in South Asia do not get up every morning, fire up the internet and trawl google news. Popularity or longevity of politicians is determined by the strength of their defense of the “book” rather than a policy providing/improving the “well-being” of citizens. It happens here to some extent, but in South Asia, getting folks aggrieved is business as usual. Even the communists have their “book”!

  21. it’s hard to figure out what this post is about, but even harder with the exotic spelling, grammar and punctuation. please have some mercy on your readers!

  22. One recurring theme among men who want to avenge some perceived slight — be it a caricature or something else — is that they feel “dishonored”. Honor is a big part of the motive for these revenge bombings.

    In parts of the world where the state is weak, where law and order are flimsy at best, where the police is more menace than protection, people are more inclined to fall back on the honor principle: Always be prepared to lash out at any slight, so nobody dares to mess with you and your tribe/clan/family. Honor replaces the absence of law and order.

    This I can understand… and mock.

  23. It’s unlikely that Hindus will be able to produce and distribute a rebuttal movie using the same network of theatres, so they are effectively silenced from that avenue. Is that justification to bomb movie theatres that show it or put a hit out on Mike Myers? Imprisoning him for crimes against comedy is one thing, but assasination

    Ah thats interesting. Not that I believe in violence as a form of retirbution but what you are effectively saying that by forcing people to indulge in non-violent means of protest by tolerating whatever insults or injustices heaped on them, we are silencing people. But note non-violent means of retirbution is not universally aplied take for e.g. Iraq/Afgahnistan invasion. It is the mighty who set the rules of engagement whether with arms or with spoken/print/movies/theatre etc and what kind of injustices/insults deserve what kind of response.

  24. 9 · Priya said

    <

    blockquote>i wonder what really offends the western civilization ?

    A barrel of oil for $140.00.

  25. 76 · Priya said

    It is the mighty who set the rules of engagement whether with arms or with spoken/print/movies/theatre etc and what kind of injustices/insults deserve what kind of response.

    you contradicted yourself, the moment you typed that statement.

  26. 76 · Priya said

    It’s unlikely that Hindus will be able to produce and distribute a rebuttal movie using the same network of theatres, so they are effectively silenced from that avenue. Is that justification to bomb movie theatres that show it or put a hit out on Mike Myers? Imprisoning him for crimes against comedy is one thing, but assasination

    its unlikely that the Chinese could use bollywoods network of theatres to protest caricatures in indian films. what to do? two words:

    You tube.

  27. I think there’s something of a false dichotomy developing here. Why can’t we agree that (1) Blowing things up is usually not a constructive solution, and blowing people in this case is wrong; and that (2) the cartoons, while not criminal, are offensive and insensitive?

  28. its unlikely that the Chinese could use bollywoods network of theatres to protest caricatures in indian films. what to do? two words: You tube.

    Manju: The Chinese are one step ahead of us. I believe there was a post in SM or Ultrabrown about “Kung-fu defeating Yoga” on Youtube

  29. George A (29):

    Therefore this is a case of freedom of speech of one group vs that of another. While I do not condone violence, it is one of the few outlets to express frustration when your speech is silenced and ridiculed as frivolous.

    Wow.

    Just…wow.

    These same exact arguments have been used by racists in the South long before you ever brought them here.

    For starters, this argument is nonsensical. Freedom of speech is not only for one of two groups of opposed viewpoints. Both groups may speak as freely as they want in a society that provides for real freedom of speech. It sounds like you’re still pretty unfamiliar with how it works, which is why your interpretation of free speech sounds a lot like restricted speech to me.

    Let’s go ahead and allow for relative numbers and positional strengths, though. Hmm…so Danish political cartoonists are the dominant force in the equation? And the hordes of angry Muslims who objected to the cartoons are the oppressed? Riiiight. And that’s why people had to die. Suddenly it’s all so clear to me!

    No one’s “overlooking the perlocutionary act” of the horrible terrible evil cartoonists who wrote those terrible no-good perfidious cartoons. And “ignoring their perlocutionary act” doesn’t somehow silence Muslims elsewhere, or if it has, I’ve seen absolutely no evidence for it. The line you draw between the ability to self-govern in Afghanistan and these cartoons is about the biggest ol’ load of foul shite utter nonsense I’ve come across.

    But hey, nice SAT words you got there. Can you use them in an argument so that they make sense this time?

    muslimperson (71):

    Re: the cartoons being an example of free speech. I don’t think the greater Islamic world would have cared (as much) if they were simply being ridiculed in a cartoon. The problem lied merely in depicting Muhammad(pbuh) in pictorial form.. which is such a big no-no it’s not even funny. In fact, I’d be happier with the newspaper calling all Muslims towel-headed terrorists than if all they drew was a stick figure labelled Prophet Muhammad. It seems like a weird thing to get jumped up about – but that’s the way it is I guess, and it would have been good of the newspaper to have heavily taken it into account (even if what they published was in line with ‘Danish press ethics’). In any case, the ultimate price has been payed and the only people to blame are the poor excuses for ‘Muslims’ who have gotten much too used to using violence to make their points.

    That’s about the saddest defense I’ve ever heard of all this, even if it is true. In a nutshell, you’re telling us that the religion is insane, and there’s nothing anyone can do because that’s just how it is. I mean no disrespect; it sounds like you don’t believe any of this crazy claptrap to be true yourself, but it only makes my own refutation of religion–any religion, all religion–seem like a really good idea.

  30. 80 · Vaitandika said

    I think there’s something of a false dichotomy developing here. Why can’t we agree that (1) Blowing things up is usually not a constructive solution, and blowing people in this case is wrong; and that (2) the cartoons, while not criminal, are offensive and insensitive?

    That dichotomy reg. freedom of speech will persist because what is offensive and insensitive is very subjective and nobody in a diverse society will agree to one common set of acceptable behaviour (unless you have a moral censor board). I think in a more democratic society there are more civil ways of protesting and this also requires that the civil protest be effective in such a society and generates discussions instead of violence.

  31. I’m just glad this website is not based in Canada. If it was there a good chance that it could end up like Marc Steyn and Maclean magazine cause some people can’t take any valid criticism.

  32. 85 · Tenali said

    The only things the west respects are money and force.

    don’t forget leanness

  33. It’s sad. But is there hope for some islamic fanatics in pakistan when even so called not very religious people from India I know seem to express a desire for censorship in India when it is appropriate? I know quite a few rich doctors from India in my friends and family network and some of them seem OK with censoring people when needed.

    And yes, there are Christian fanatics on the rise in the US. THere were protests 2 decades ago when Last Temptation of Christ came out. But there were no theater burnings or murders as a result. Imagine if there was an Islamic equivalent.

  34. 86 · Finkie said

    don’t forget leanness

    in that case, i give you carla bruni. money? check. power? check. leanness? check.

  35. Port, hey, that was Manju who said that, not Finkie! Don’t cultivate a reputation for fickleness!
    ;-)

    88 Pravin And yes, there are Christian fanatics on the rise in the US.

    What’s your metric for “on the rise?” I’d think “on the decline”–see, e.g., Obama & McCain (vs., say, Bush & Gore in 2000, what w/ Tipper and all. . . .)

  36. The “Denmark as abused child” analogy is a facile one. It’s my understanding that a newspaper run by members of the white majority held a contest to see who could most successfully mock and humiliate members of a racial/ethnic minority. All this against the backdrop of right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties enjoying success at the polls in Denmark. What do you think the reaction would be if the Chicago Sun-Tribune held a “send in the funniest cartoons of [blacks/Asians/Jews]” contest? Would they even dare try such a thing?

    Now if the Sun-Tribune did hold this contest, would it justify violent retaliation? Would it justify government intervention in the newspaper? OF COURSE NOT. So please, don’t read this as some justification of the response to the Danish cartoons, or of Abbas’ outrageous response to the response.

    A better analogy would be if someone screamed a racist, sexist or homophobic epithet at you, and you pulled out a gun and shot them. Your response is totally inappropriate and wrong, but to suggest the instigator is “defending his values” from “the real bad guys” is a slanted read on the situation, particularly if the person screaming the epithet is from a group that already enjoys some form of privilege.

  37. from a group that already enjoys some form of privilege.

    So ethnic Danes in Denmark should not have their culture and identity and values privileged in their own land? Of course I agree they should question if the cartoons were a reflection of their values.

  38. So ethnic Danes in Denmark should not have their culture and identity and values privileged in their own land?

    They can, provided you are comfortable with an ethnocentric view of the world where immigrants only deserve second-class treatment, and cannot expect to be acknowledged on an equal footing. I believe that a lot of people will consider such a world-view hopelessly tribal.

  39. Fauzia Mufti Abbas, Pakistan’s ambassador to Denmark, agreed that the Mohammed cartoons, first published in Jyllands-Posten newspaper in October 2005, had incited Muslim anger

    I will give Pakistanis (and muslims in general) credit for one thing…they don’t hold back on expressing their opinion. This woman was sitting in the middle of Denmark, as the ambassador, and she’s openly blaming the Danish paper (and possibly by extension Danish and western society). An Indian diplomat on the other hand would have buried his head in the sand until he could think of something conciliatory and apologetic to say.

  40. This woman was sitting in the middle of Denmark, as the ambassador, and she’s openly blaming the Danish paper (and possibly by extension Danish and western society).

    Sometimes shame is the appropriate response. Unless, of course, you wish to hold basic human rights hostage to political expediency! After all, what are a few lives lost if it means keeping the masses distracted and extending your hold on power?

  41. I’m amused by the “screams of racism”.

    If you read the history behind the cartoons, the contest was announced so that people can continue to draw without any fear from the “faithful” who have been successful in killing a film maker in the streets of Europe and were successful “perlocutionarists”.. :-) (Add to that a couple of killings over Satanic Verses and a few bomb blasts).

  42. If you read the history behind the cartoons

    Well, I don’t think history is particularly helpful in evaluating these things. I am not in Denmark, so I don’t know the exact sentiments on the ground, but from what I have read in many places, JP generally has an anti-immigrant, and particularly, anti Islamic immigrant, tilt. Of course, in the interests of balance, they also supported the KristallNacht by the National Socialists, so maybe that evens things out?

  43. 92: Mary Mary Quite Contrary: thoughtful comment.

    98: Allahback, girl!: the points you bring up are relevant details which ought to figure in any nuanced analysis of the situation. of course, it is futile to expect nuance from ultra-nationalists or religious fanatics alike.

  44. 98 · Allahback, girl! said

    they also supported the KristallNacht by the National Socialists, so maybe that evens things out?

    I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.