The best thing I've read on the cartoon controversy

This is the English translation of a column that originally appeared in die tageszeitung, a leftist cooperatively-owned newspaper founded in Berlin in 1978. The translation comes from signandsight, a website funded by the German government, that translates "arts, essays and ideas from Germany" into English. I recommend reading the entire thing, but I've provided some excerpts below. As I've said before, ridicule is a great tool.

What next, bearded one?
by Sonia Mikich

I feel offended.

Zealots are nailing veils onto the faces of my sisters in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are busy hanging women, homosexuals, adulterers and non-believers.

But human rights, women's rights and the right to liberty are the most exalted in the history of humanity; this is the tradition in which I was raised. Values that make the world better and more peaceful.

I demand that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Indonesia and Egypt apologise to me. Otherwise I am unfortunately forced to threaten, beat up, kidnap or behead their citizens. Because I am somewhat sensitive about my cultural identity.


Videos show journalists, truck drivers and NGO workers having their throats slit or their heads chopped off. Jews see themselves represented as cannibals and pigs, Western women as decadent sluts. Apolitical engineers have to fear for their lives.

All in the name of God.

I demand that all the editors in chief of newspapers and television broadcasters in the Islamic world apologise to me, because they do nothing to prevent these obscenities.


The fact that fundamentalists of all persuasions are completely incapable of self-reflection, self-criticism, and self-irony would not warrant a mention, were it not for their practice of imposing their issues on me and my world. They assume that we will kowtow to them as soon as we recognise who they are: "Look out! Religious feelings! We're leaving the private sphere."


I hereby refuse to feel badly for the chronically insulted. I refuse to argue politely why freedom of expression, reason and humour should be respected. I do not want to continue to have to provide creationists scientific proof that the earth has been around for more than 10,000 years. And I am going to stop waiting for them to say on Al Jazeera, "Did you ever hear the one about the Prophet's beard?"

Related: signandsight's roundup of European reactions.

The best thing I've read on the cartoon controversy:

The Nation: The Right to Be Offended

About this Entry

Published on February 8, 2006 1:02 PM.

previous entry: Art New York cancelled

next entry: Remember kids, there are no good Republicans



3 latest

3 random