Cartoons, form of art and expression used to represent humor or satire. But if we look around the world the meaning of cartoon has changed. It is now a weapon to start violence and hatred. The cartoon which started this trend, was first published in Denmark around September, 2005.It is February, 2006 now. It has been just two or three weeks since the protest started all over the world, until then for last 5 months no one said anything about it. Something to think about.
I live in USA and the cartoon was not shown here. Thank god for internet, I managed to see them at a French website. While some looked like harmless satire, some are definitely insulting and hurtful. They look like a deliberate attempt to insult Islam and start a row like the one going on. I am all for freedom of expression, but this time it has gone a little too far. The person who created these cartoons should apologize, not only to the Muslim world but to everyone for creating this violent and explosive situation. After 9/11, we had same situation of whole world against Islam and now this cartoon has started the same all over again. It is even more distressing to see that French papers republished this cartoon on February 1, at the height of protest and violence. The same France which was struggling with its Arab and Muslim citizens rioting in Paris for weeks. Looks like the promise made by France after the riots that its society will be free of racial and religious prejudice and hatred was well just a promise. They had no intention to keep it.
The other side of this incident, 10 people died in Afghanistan during protest. While the western world has tried to defend the cartoon creator saying that he has freedom of expression, people exercising their freedom of expression in Afghanistan were killed. Why? Why are we being so hypocritical? United States has long said that it wants democracy in Afghanistan, that it wants people to enjoy all the freedom that we have here. So how are we going to explain the death of 10 people protesting what they feel is insult to their faith? I support the people who are in this protest because they are hurt and insulted; I am against all leaders who are using this wave of anger for their political gain. The incident in Lebanon and Syria and Iran has the signs of political meddling. In Lebanon the protest later turned against local Christians, Iran is organizing Holocaust cartoon contest and in Syria the wave against western world is getting strength. Seeing Hamas in support of violent protests is also gravely concerning.
The world community, especially the western nations should now understand that it is not enough to advocate democracy in non democratic countries (mostly Middle East and Africa). They have to be willing to accept that everyone had freedom to enjoy their rights, regardless of their religion and where they live. Whether you are Europe or in Afghanistan, you are free you express yourself. No one should die in Middle East while they are exercising their rights. Freedom should be same for everyone. I believe this is the most important lesson we can learn from this incident.