Draw Mohammed day.
I didn’t participate.
I generally disapproved of the whole shebang: and I can am more generally described as a “militant atheist” as opposed to an apologist for religion: so why didn’t I support this “protest” in favour of free speech and solidarity with those whose lives have been threatened by those fanatics and fundamentalists who violently oppose non-muslims drawing the prophet.
Well essentially because the whole thing came across as a childish, ill-conceived and haphazardly carried out “protest”. Actually I wouldn’t classify it as even a protest as to be a legitimate protest there must be some proper aim or thing to protest against or for?
Protesting in favour of free speech is fair enough: indeed protesting against or opening a dialogue about drawing Mohammed is fine, more than fine: it’s warranted and necessary. But it should ideally be on theologically not reactionary level and use understanding and sensitivity to bring both sides together rather than drive a crudely drawn cartoon wedge between them.
I mean god/allah/the flying spagetti monster forbid we actually try and talk to people who we have a difference of opinion with.
So firstly I think the protest is of questionable legitimacy on the grounds that it’s aim was really reactionary and provocationary as oppossed to having any well defined aim rather than the vauge concepts of “freedom of speech” and “solidarity” with those who had their lifes threatened or have indeed been killed over the issue.
But lets think about that for a minute: is freedom of speech a license to say whatever you want without consequence? No. It’s also not something you should be killed over or have your life threatened over mind. But we have the right to free speech as long as we excercise it responsibly.
Is that what “draw mohammed day” did? Not to my mind. The protest would have gathered slightly more sympathy from me if some of the images produced weren’t deliberatly provocative and others downright offensive: Mohammed fucking a pig? Drooling lavicisiouly over Aishia (who was portrayed as a blonde white girl…) that is not legitimate protest: that borders on Islamaphobia and out and out racism.
If the protest wanted to make a serious point than I should have very clearly instructed people to draw a stickman that proclaimed to be the phrophet Mohammed. That might have made a point and not allowed racists and bigots to jump on the bandwagon.
Secondly I don’t hold the protest to be legitimate because a protest should be about something that is serious and meaningful: it’s all very well saying that this is a “free speech issue” but lets consider how not being able to draw the phrophet Mohammed affects anyone in everyday life?
NOT. A. JOT.
I’m not drawing Mohammed now, I’m won’t draw Mohammed later, If I do draw Mohammed and don’t shove it in the face of any Muslims I know or encounter than my life (and theirs) are utterly unaffected by whether I draw Mohammed: unless I want to go out of my way to offend or challenge Muslims why would I publically draw Mohammed? What is gained by pitting one value system against another?
Is the concept of free speech is undoubtedly important morally and something everyone should hold dear: but is it any more rational than not wanting someone to draw a religious figure? Or rather should I say the concept of “absolute free speech” which is something I’m not sure I agree with – it’s a matter of rights and responsibilities essentially. I don’t hold anyone should have or indeed (anywhere in the world) actually does have absolute free speech. We all have a degree of free speech but we are also all subject to censure. It’s worth remembering that: Britains Libel laws, race hate laws and the like (at least up to this moment) mean our “freedoms to speak” are some of the more restrictive in Europe.
The whole thing comes across as petulant. Not least those who took part in “draw Mohammed day” and their incomprehension that “draw the holocaust day” has arisen. The cries of “well it just shows how horrible they are – drawing something offensive like the holocaust” just, to my mind, display a startling lack or percipacity.