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Publish Or Perish: : The Lessons Of The Cartoon Jihad

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Publish or Perish: The Lessons of the Cartoon Jihad

by Robert Tracinski

The central issue of the "cartoon jihad"—the Muslim riots and death threats against a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed—is obvious. The issue is freedom of speech: whether our freedom to think, write, and draw is to be subjugated to the "religious sensitivities" of anyone who threatens us with force.

That is why it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist. Click here.

This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship—especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads "Behead those who insult Islam." What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out.

The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can't single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we're all united in defying the fanatics.

That's what it means to show "solidarity" by re-publishing the cartoons. The message we need to send is: if you want to kill anyone who publishes those cartoons, or anyone who makes cartoons of Mohammed, then you're going to have to kill us all. If you make war on one independent mind, you're making war on all of us. And we'll fight back.

But the issue of freedom of speech is too clear, and too well settled, in the West, to be worth spending much time debating it. What is far more interesting is the fact that such a debate is occurring, nonetheless.

This is a fact from which the Western world can draw some crucially important conclusions...

Read the entire article at: http://tiadaily.com/php-bin/news/showArticle.php?id=1069

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