So poisoned by the ‘cabal’ rhetoric, she wanted to play ‘Borking Baroness and the manly warmonger’ with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld – in effect turning a minor sub-committee meeting into a legal interrogatory.
EU Observer, erm, observes:
«The parliament is mainly focusing on the responsibility of EU governments and their alleged co-operation with American secret agents.Except for the fact that they don’t. They seem perfectly happy with helping to power Islamists who think clitorectomies are just ‘ducky.’ Maybe she can organize a interfaith love-in at a social hall in one of the many Churches in Saudi Arabia.
But the British liberal democrat, Sarah Ludford, as a vice-chairman of the committee, hinted MEPs should also invite senior US figures, such as vice-president Dick Cheney or defence chief Ronald Rumsfeld, to their sessions.
"If we do our job seriously and efficiently, leaving no stone unturned, we will demonstrate our commitment to upholding the core values of human rights which lie at the heart of the union," she noted.»
«"The idea of Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld coming to testify is breathtakingly naive," commented British conservative Charles Tannock.It makes one think that she should stick to the usual dyspeptic local political methods more appropriate to a certain class of issues – seemingly small ones that involve inhibiting human progress among her fellow subjects:
He added "America should know that it has some supporters in the European Parliament but ensuring rational and objective debate in this committee is clearly going to take some doing."»
Saturday, February 18, 2006
So poisoned by the ‘cabal’ rhetoric, she wanted to play ‘Borking Baroness and the manly warmonger’ with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld – in effect turning a minor sub-committee meeting into a legal interrogatory.
And the Irish have finally found it and like it.
«Ireland is commonly regarded around the world as a shining example of private markets at work. Yet, unnoticed by many, over the last five years, the country has been sliding into the abyss of rising government spending, indirect tax increases and more regulation and state involvement in the economy.»and it will be to their peril. Said one trans-atlantic report:
«This month a study by US and European researchers showed that since 1976, the wage and benefits returns to long-term employees in France were consistently lower than in the US. The authors conclude that "in a low-mobility country such as France, there is little gain in compensating workers for long tenures because they tend to stay in the firm for most... of their career. In contrast, [in] a high-mobility country such as the United States... firms are induced to pay the premium... to avoid losing their most productive workers." In fact, the long-term workers in France tend to earn 3.05 times less per each extra year they stay with the firm than their American counterparts. IZA-Berlin and Stockholm Institute reported similar trends for Sweden and Germany.»All for the sake of collective labor bargaining which concentrates power in an elite not elected by the population that they impact. Built entirely on the illusion of Marxist power politics, class struggle, and social hostility it’s hard to call it a cooperative arrangement at all.
When growth stinks the young pay the highest price first. Thereafter those they support, the older and the needy take the “collective hit”.
Friday, February 17, 2006
This is why enviros are absurd: the Clemenceau will be returned to France, but there will still be asbestos on board, and it will still need to be scrapped. Every vessel over the age of 40 has the stuff, as well as virtually every building of the same vintage.
This is why leftist cause-makers are sadistic: they want other people to change their lives to match their irrational fears, and engage in endless attention-seeking behaviour.
In the mean time, a BBC announcer referred to the 26 000 tonne vessel as “26 000 tons of toxic waste”, when the vessel itself isn’t made entirely out of Asbestos, and fails to mention just how common Asbestos removal is.
But to them, we’re the stupid “sheeple” that need saved from own common sense, and we really don’t need to know that. There's someone out there that finds virtue in building false outrage about the asbestos being worse that the Ebola virus, while someone out there cranks out YET ANOTHER fake alarming report that total collapse due to global warming will come even sooner than we thought. It's like a “steady drip” of coersive information that would make Goebbels proud.
Sooner or later they’re going to have to start revising historical baseline data to convince people (starting with school children) that environmental armageddon has already happened so that the press can keep cranking out "reports".
Oh yeah, and by the by... They're go after industries, nations, and world views, or whatever feels good - but the've got it all wrong. They're after the wrong people:
Soy fuels war.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Scott Burgess discovers a gem: The Guardian’s Seamus Milne thinks that Communism (that which can now be idealized now that it’s morphed into EU social policy) is honky-dorey. Having lived behind the Iron Curtain for a few years, the only reaction I had to Milne's piece was: “what an idiot.”
«Last month, the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the "crimes of totalitarian communist regimes", linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still "legal and active in some countries". Now Göran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign - including school textbook revisions, official memorial days and museums - only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority.»No surprise in the sentimentalism shown by at least one-third of the Euro-body of Euro-parliamentarians.
In a fit of mindless overreach, Milne makes light of Europe’s boundaries. “Europe,” often used as a euphemism for the EU, doesn’t encompass all of Europe, or even that of Napoleon’s dreams. A Council of Europe pronouncement criticizing it’s own past can hardly be seen as hypocritical when it applies outside of “the realm.” Besides – when was the last time you heard about Moldova in the news? Ah – the items about human trafficking, poverty, mob violence, etal... Obviously the fruits of a system as civilized as Communism that does everything it can to construct scarcity and make materialism the only concern anyone has in life.
«Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything become more extreme as time has gone on. »I recommend a little bit of light reading to keep things in perspective.
Various reformers may have convinced themselves, as well as large parts of the population, of how avant-garde their thoughts and deeds (and societies) were. Apparently, they have not convinced all the inmates. For the past month, the usual defense of the abolition of the death penalty in favor of life in prison has been challenged, and not just by anybody, but by lifers themselves who counter that death would actually be the most humane treatment they could get.
I have long held that contrary to what people (like to) believe, no fundamental principles are involved here, only comparisons, and that it was only a matter of time before life sentences were deemed to be inhumane and barbaric.
Now, Marion Van Renterghem ups that ante with an interview of Claude Lucas, the prisoner who wrote the book "Suerte" while in jail and who now castigates society by saying that
abolishing the death penalty to substitute it with real life in jail, that is no better … A life sentence is forsaking a prisoner to a degenerative existence, it's torture, euthanasia … [Real] courage would be to say, no condemnations whatsoever beyond 15 or 20 yearsBeyond that, prisons in the land of valeurs républicaines rate unfavorably compared to Spanish prisons, leading Le Monde to call France "the champion in prison inhumanity".
Shame upon the newspapers and the television networks who were not courageous enough to show their public what the "caricature affair" was about! … Shame upon the politicans who stated that publishing and republishing the drawings was "useless", that it was "bad", that it was a "lack of respect" or of "sensibility"! … Shame upon those European companies in the Middle East which put up signs saying "We aren't Danish", "Here no Danish products are sold"! It's cowardice.
As much of the Islamic world erupts in a studied frenzy over the Danish Muhammad cartoons, there are voices of reason being heard on both sides.…
God save us from the voices of reason.
What passes for moderation in the Islamic community -- "I share your rage but don't torch that embassy" -- is nothing of the sort. It is simply a cynical way to endorse the goals of the mob without endorsing its means. It is fraudulent because, while pretending to uphold the principle of religious sensitivity, it is interested only in this instance of religious insensitivity.
Have any of these "moderates" ever protested the grotesque caricatures of Christians and, most especially, Jews that are broadcast throughout the Middle East on a daily basis? …
A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West.
And these "moderates" are aided and abetted by Western "moderates" who publish pictures of the Virgin Mary covered with elephant dung and celebrate the "Piss Christ" (a crucifix sitting in a jar of urine) as art deserving public subsidy, but who are seized with a sudden religious sensitivity when the subject is Muhammad.
…The issue now is solidarity.
The mob is trying to dictate to Western newspapers, indeed Western governments, what is a legitimate subject for discussion and caricature. The cartoons do not begin to approach the artistic level of Salman Rushdie's prose, but that's not the point. The point is who decides what can be said and what can be drawn within the precincts of what we quaintly think of as the free world.
The mob has turned this into a test case for freedom of speech in the West. The German, French and Italian newspapers that republished these cartoons did so not to inform but to defy -- to declare that they will not be intimidated by the mob.
What is at issue is fear. The unspoken reason many newspapers do not want to republish is not sensitivity but simple fear. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh, who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through the chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.
The worldwide riots and burnings are instruments of intimidation, reminders of van Gogh's fate. The Islamic "moderates" are the mob's agents and interpreters, warning us not to do this again. And the Western "moderates" are their terrified collaborators who say: Don't worry, we won't. It's those Danes. We're clean. Spare us. Please.
I REALLY want to see someone read THIS while holding one of those “Pax” rainbow flags. I really do.
It’s either that or sit down in front of a French Horn player and suck on a lemon. Just to see the look in his eyes.
Thanks, once again, to EU Rota - you sick sick bastards!
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
The usual reaction when an article like Fareed Zakaria recently wrote for Newsweek (he is also the Editor of its’ international edition), is for them to dwell on American, even if the writer has something serious to say about Europe. And he does:
«It's often noted that the European Union has a combined gross domestic product that is approximately the same as that of the United States. But the EU has 170 million more people. Its per capita GDP is 25 percent lower than that of the U.S. and, most important, that gap has been widening for 15 years. If present trends continue, the chief economist at the OECD argues, in 20 years the average U.S. citizen will be twice as rich as the average Frenchman or German. (Britain is an exception on most of these measures, lying somewhere between Continental Europe and the U.S.)Consider this bit of delusion. Many in Europe repeat over and over without any evidence say that violent collapse of civilization due to climate change is inevitable. At the same time, decades of impirically derived evidence of economic malaise is shrugged off as if they though that condemning their children to a hunter-gatherer seems reasonable. Who needs teeth anyway, eh?
People have argued that Europeans simply value leisure more and, as a result, are poorer but have a better quality of life. That's fine if you're taking a 10 percent pay cut and choosing to have longer lunches and vacations. But if you're only half as well off as the U.S., that will translate into poorer health care and education, diminished access to all kinds of goods and services, and a lower quality of life.»
«And I haven't even gotten to the demographics. In 25 years, the number of working-age Europeans will decline by 7 percent, while those over 65 will increase by 50 percent. One solution: let older people work. But Europe's employment rate for people over 60 is low: 7 percent in France and 12 percent in Germany (compared with 27 percent in the U.S.). Modest efforts to allow people to retire later have been met with the usual avalanche of protests. And while economists and the European Commission keep proposing that Europe take in more immigrants to expand its labor force, it won't. The cartoon controversy has powerfully highlighted the difficulties Europe is having with its existing immigrants.It really really REALLY needs to be said for the millionth time – this lack of growth of theirs’, any way you try to sell it, creates scarcity and poverty. Period. Costly social policies are reducing development to the point where the openings in the safety net will widen to a size larger then the egos of the social elites.
What does all this add up to? Less European influence in the world. Europe's position in institutions like the World Bank and the IMF relates to its share of world GDP. Its dwindling defense spending weakens its ability to be a military partner of the U.S., or to project military power abroad even for peacekeeping purposes. Its cramped, increasingly protectionist outlook will further sap its vitality.»
In short – they have to grow up. They have children to raise and their elders to love and care for. You can’t do that on the backs of your neighbors if they already succumbed to the nebulous lumbago of social feebleness.
“Sparks sure fly when the premodern world of religious piety and the postmodern world of Monty Python collide.”Says Victor David Hanson. Further:
«Stunned, European diplomats have tried in vain to explain to Arab ambassadors that, in the West, governments neither own nor muzzle an often unwise and tasteless press. Hurt feelings and much worse are the price we are supposed to pay for free expression so central to consensual government. Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jews or Muslims in secular democracies simply don't burn foreign embassies when their faith is impugned in the free press.»Indeed our very own American idiots have spoken the loudest, and eclipsing the reasoned words from the White House and State Department. The Danes, and indeed anyone else defending the Enlightenment in Europe are in fact waiting patiently for support from the EU 3 and the US, only to find Al Gore engaging in treason:
«"The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake," Gore said during the Jiddah Economic Forum. "The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States."For his benefit, never mind the fact that Gore is lie-ing. Most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudis, and that a few thousand people in lower Manhattan, (now deceased,) would have benefited greatly from some scrutiny. Instead he plays the lefty shell game: emotions, not actions (and the intentions behind those acts) are not just comparable, but those unconscious feelings are the goal, if not the tool of his concept of government. Just to put things in perspective, it’s also the tool charismatic despots use when their thirst for power is accompanied by a need to be loved.
Gore told the largely Saudi audience, many of them educated at U.S. universities, that Arabs in the United States had been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable."»
Other morons still, are shamefully baiting abroad for their own domestic leverage at home.
«Schroeder's call was linked to the row raging around the world over the printing of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed(S), which Muslims consider as blasphemous. "European integration is built upon the foundation of respect of other cultures, tolerance and the recognition of diversity," Schroeder told the seventh annual edition of the forum, whose theme is: "Honoring Identity and Celebrating common grounds."...as if leftists didn’t hate and fear religion at home, much as they can’t grasp the tenets of Western civilization. That include their freedom to peck it to death to maintain their political currency.
"This includes refraining from acts that hurt honest religious sentiment.»
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Which basically amounts to “you may not defend you population at any cost”:
«French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered an investigation into claims that police tortured terror suspects in 1995.
The allegations have been published in a book which includes accounts by five former police officers who say suspects were beaten and given electric shocks.»
Danish Muslim groups are ready to shoulder some of the blame in the Jyllands-Posten affair, one of their leaders claims (tak til Peter Alf). Still, what sounds like a breakthrough does not come free of charge.
Daily Pundit's Last Tango has a long analysis on the root causes of the Muslim attack upon Denmark (and Europe) while Dennis Prager provides five pieces of evidence proving why it is false when Western news media say they are not publishing the cartoons out of respect for Muslim sensibilities.
Besides that, we have received requests to link to the post entitled Something funny happened during the demonstration against Danish cartoons last Saturday…
Monday, February 13, 2006
Jyllands Posten's cartoons on the Prophet Mohammed (published one time only, in one newspaper only)? Or Le Monde's ubiquitous and ongoing demonizations of Uncle Sam?
Comparing by sets of three (one Danish, one Nazi, one French), the Transatlantic Intelligencer lets you judge by yourself… 12 times…
The Muslims were calm and the protest was peaceful, yes. As long as everybody else kept their eyes and mouthes shut.
"In 2002, I was demonized for urging the Amsterdam City Council to drop publishing notices on every piece of business it does in Kurd, Papiamento and God knows what," said Geert Dales, who is mayor of Leeuwarden, a city of 100,000 on the North Sea.Thus starts John Vinocur's article on a flow-reversal of attitudes in two famously tolerant nations: "Their emphasis, coming now with special intensity caused by a sense of declining sovereignty, is specifying that their Muslim communities must demonstrate compatibility with Dutch or Danish society."
Four years ago, Dales's thrift was called intolerance or even racism. For a decade, anyone expressing concern about projections that Amsterdam would have a Muslim majority by 2020 (about 65 percent of its young people now have Islamic backgrounds) risked disgrace as a closet fascist. Now the Dutch discuss the implications of similar population projections and similar time frames for cities like Rotterdam and The Hague without cramped circumlocution.
In comparison, direct official- and politician-speak in places like Britain, France and Spain shies from the idea that failed national policies accommodating (or avoiding) Muslim integration have been factors in the most confidence-shaking European events of the new century:
Bomb attacks by local Islamic extremists in Madrid and London, the murder of a Dutch filmmaker by a member of the Amsterdam Moroccan community, riots in immigrant towns around Paris, and now, Denmark and Danes coming under threat and attack around the world after a newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
The post-politically correct comes in here. … When I asked Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen last week about a Dutch-Danish post-politically correct link (a phrase first used by the American writer Christopher Caldwell), he talked about insisting on the same core values that Frits Bolkestein, the original politically incorrect Dutchman and former European Union commissioner, first described in relation to Islam as "non-negotiable." Like the separation of religion from politics, the importance of work, and Western notions of freedom of expression and gender equality.
"We're on the right track," Rasmussen said. "I see a very clear tendency that other European countries will go in our direction." … But in light of the Danish experience, countries considering a more politically incorrect stance on immigration may now think twice.
Bolkestein, who warned in the early '90s about Islam's challenge to the Dutch and Europe, is not optimistic. He believes Europe has only seen "the thin edge of the wedge" of pressure to come from rogue states and Islamic extremists.
"Next time," he said, "I fear it will be oil, or Israel, or nuclear weapons rather than cartoons."
Nor is the EU, for that matter. So far, only Denmark and Norway have protested the attacks on their own embassies in the Middle East.
The land of human rights has not only refrained from showing many signs of solidarity (European or otherwise) with the beleaguered Scandinavians, as a Le Monde editorial admits. Jacques Chirac — who has condemned the cartoons while refraining from defending free speech — has kept mum about the attack on the French embassy in Iran!
This country, we are told, is an ally. This, we are told, is a friend. This, we are told, is a friend whose only reason for opposing America during the Iraq crisis, was out of its innate friendship and because it had no choice but to stand up for its traditional principles. This, we are told, is the country we can count on to hold up said principles in its dealings with the authorities of the Middle East, whether with the late régime of Saddam Hussein or in the nuclear weapons talks with the Mullahs of Tehran.
[In his new book, Chris] Patten recites the gospel of the Good European: "Under American tutelage, we in Europe turned our back on the bellicose, nationalist politics of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and through our new modes of cooperation . . . are bent on coping with the problems of the 21st"writes a sceptical Josef Joffe in his book review of Cousins and Strangers.
Naturally, Patten also upholds Europe's social contract, which favors egalitarianism over full employment. Yes, "the U.S. economy has grown more rapidly than Europe's," he concedes, "but that is largely the result of America's 1 percent annual population growth." So why won't Old Europe put its 20 million unemployed to work? Patten also opines that America's faster productivity growth can be explained by "the Wal-Mart or Home Depot factor — large shopping sheds on out-of-town green-field sites." That spin on Europe's 10-year slump doesn't wash, either. Those "shopping sheds" blanket Europe, too, where they are called Carrefour (food) or Media Markt (electronics) or even, yes, Wal-Mart and Costco.
When it comes to Islam and terror, Patten for once loses his cool. So you Yanks want to remake the Middle East by force? "Damn it," he sputters, "this is our neighborhood," and therefore we know better, he all but shouts. Above all, you must ditch Samuel Huntington and his "clash of civilizations." For the Arabs are just like us: they "top the world in believing that democracy is the best form of government." And they care most about "personal security, fulfillment and satisfaction." So whence Arab rage?
You guessed it: from the war in Iraq and "the betrayal and denial of Palestinian rights." This is a curiously foreshortened list. Does the Iraq war explain the unfathomable cruelty of Saddam Hussein before 2003 or even 1991? Does it explain the despotism and the deadly quarrels between sects, ideologies and regimes that preceded Israel's occupation in 1967? Does it explain the annihilation of the Syrian city of Hama by Hafez al-Assad's army in 1982? Or the economic backwardness that leaves so many young Arab men without a job and a future? Patten doesn't lay the blame for Islamist terrorism directly on the West. Ever so subtly, he indicts by posing questions: "Why does the West's notion of spreading freedom, capitalism and democracy look to some others like licentiousness, greed and a new colonialism?"
While we are on the subject of conservatives to fear and hate, Christopher Hitchens deserves no other description, according to Le Monde's Marc Roche, than a "vicious" critic of Islam, a pundit whose "lone voice" is "known for his radical views." Not exactly a description Le Monde is in the habit of using for the Islamist radicals, is it?
The most nationalistic and governmentally linked businesses in the world are French, yet they’d look down their noses at their fellow EU citizens, and join with the world view that they should sell their high-minded principles up the river for a nickel. Call it the Political-Industrial Complex, if you like, but it makes public howling about "Allabourton" look more mendacious than naïve.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
When they arrive at La Nation, they are met with two figures wearing slightly different costumes and slightly different signs.
One, in red and white, is (silently) wearing a sign with the Danish flag saying "Support Denmark, Support free speech". Besides (silently) wearing a sign reading "Free Cartoonist" on it, the other, the founder of the BAF protest warrior-type organization, is holding a (fake) severed hand, a pen among its bloodied fingers.
Voices start to ring out. "It's provocation!" "You tread on 1.5 million Muslims!" "Connards!" "Rat faces!"
"Ignore them, they are idiots!" reply others as a crowd starts to press around. A rhetorical question rings out: "Would they be carrying out the same provocations in other types of demonstrations?!" (Actually, Monsieur, yes we would and yes we have.)
The Danish American feels like replying that they have done the same to Chirac, to Mitterrand, to the civil servant salons, and to union demonstrations, but suddenly he and the French American start moving away. What has happened is that a short blonde Frenchwoman has tugged on their sleeves and gently but firmly started pulling them away.
"I will show you my ID 10 meters from here" says the plainclothes cop. "They are going to lynch you!" she adds, as she leads us into another street (in the movie taken by our valiant camera team, you can briefly see her wearing a brown coat at 03:45, right after a bearded guy in white cap and tan jacket whine "They are provoking us" and the camera turns).
"Sons of adultery!" "Hey, you two sons of the whore!" Uniformed policemen join us and start rushing us, more and more quickly down the street (I don't want to run, I tell them), with a growing crowd quickening their steps. A police van's door opens. "Go! Go!" shouts a policeman to the driver, "Foncez!" as sirens wail and the van rushes ahead.
"Are you out of your minds?!" ask the two officers. "Do you know how many of them there were?!" "Somebody's got to stand up for free speech", replies the French protester. After staying with us for 20-something minutes, they let us out. (As a departing farewell, I say, "You know, right before you came, we almost had them surrounded.")
Watch the movie…
The burning of EU flags, rather than the Stars and Stripes, should be a source of pride to Europeans
…the fact that a dozen cartoons - drawings, really - of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on Sept. 30, 2005, have led in these early weeks of 2006 to a dozen deaths in Afghanistan, the burning of the Danish Embassy in Beirut, riots in Gaza and appeals for calm from the White House, suggests the rising anger between the West and the Islamic worldwrites Roger Cohen in an article whose print version was titled Something is rotten, but not in Denmark (Dan Bilefsky, meanwhile, has the latest news about the Jyllands-Posten editor who published the cartoons).
Yes, anger. Western societies are increasingly exasperated at seeing the Muslim perpetrators of suicide bombings, beheadings and other violence against "infidels" or "apostates" justified or sanctified through references to Islamic texts, be they the Koran itself or the traditions of the Prophet.
These societies are ever more dismayed when they see Islamic radicals, be they from Al Qaeda or agents of Iran's permanent theocratic revolution, claiming to represent a more authentic or pure Islam than the great mass of moderate Muslims. And they wonder why that great mass seems so passive before this affront.
The West, particularly Europe, is also angry that some of the essential liberties and principles of its way of life - not least the equality of men and women, the rights of homosexuals and freedom of speech - appear unacceptable to some of the growing but estranged Islamic communities in their midst.
The compatibility of a Western liberal, democratic society and Islam as a source of law is widely questioned, especially when the thuggery of a male street mob is a frequent expression of the political manipulation of that law.
…Spontaneous demonstrations are an oxymoron in Syria: The holy outrage over the cartoons in the streets of Damascus reveals the lengths to which a regime that once massacred members of the Muslim Brotherhood will go. In Iran, and in the Gaza and West Bank of Hamas, the public fury is also one measure of political unease.
All this restiveness is naturally projected into the Muslim communities of Europe, whose sense of exclusion, justified perception of prejudice and under-representation in politics have produced strong resentments.
It is against this backdrop that the decision of Jyllands-Posten, and later other European papers, to publish the depictions of Muhammad must be seen. If the initial publication was a provocation, it was also a willed one, an act of defiance, a statement that Europe will not be cowed by fear into putting such sacrilegious images off limits.
As Denmark's principled prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has put it: "I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humor and satire in the press."
Rasmussen is right; Europe has to make clear where it stands on its freedoms. And what, say critics, of anti-Semitic cartoons, or insulting depictions of Roma? Why are they not published, too? Are images offensive to Muslims not just a reflection of Europe's disdain for Islam?
These arguments might carry more weight if radical Islam were not one of the most potent global forces today, its fanatical followers invoking precisely the words or traditions of the Prophet to justify heinous acts.
…By what right can such acts, and their supposed holy inspiration, be ruled unfit material for the political caricaturist or satirist? If moderate Muslims will not rise in unison against this abuse of their religion, it is inevitable that Western observers will seek to express their unease.
And what is to be made of all this outrage emanating from Arab societies where the caricaturing of the Jew is commonplace, the anti-Semitic tract "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" finds wide credence, and certain media regularly express the view that the Holocaust never happened, or was exaggerated, or was a deserved fate for the Jews?
Repressive Middle East regimes have endured in part through such manipulation of their people's ire. In many respects, this outcry is just another example. It is precisely because the difficult Afghan and Iraqi experiments are also attempts to show respect for different religious and ethnic groups that they are creating such disquiet.
Part of that anger has now been channeled into Danish-inspired Muslim anti-Europeanism. But the burning of EU flags, rather than the Stars and Stripes, should be a source of pride to Europeans. It suggests that Europe stands for something after all.