Monday, February 06, 2006

Sedition yet?

Well, apparently Tim Blair already beat me to it, but below are the cartoons that have caused such controversy over the last few days.

And why? As so many people have already pointed out, it's not as if extremist proponents of Islam aren't occasionally critical of us godless infidels. By all means, defend your right to freedom of choice, freedom of religion, but to do so by stifling free speech is hypocrisy in the highest regard.

Even though the resultant agitation is going to be messy, I think these cartoons should be published in these times of anger. Similarly, I agreed with Melbourne Underground Film Festival Director Richard Richard Wolstencroft when he attempted to show Holocaust denier David Irving's films a few years back - only to be shut down after protests from Melbourne's Jewish community.

Protestations against actions of this kind miss the point. Publishing the cartoons - or showing Irving's films - does not mean that one necessarily agrees with their content. (For the record, I think Irving is an utter, racist, tosser, and though I agree, essentially, with the thesis of the cartoons, they're crass and unsubtle.) However, it is possible to make a statement about free speech by standing up against those who wish to stifle it.

Is this sedition? I hope so.

The offending cartoons

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