Jason asked me in the previous post what I thought of the surreal situation happening with Muslims freaking out, waaayyyy out over a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper. And when I say they are freaking in a way that is completely out of proportion to the act, you have to take into account that probably 90% of them have never seen the actual cartoons. Most just know someone drew a couple of cartoons mocking the Prophet, so they've gone nuts.
There has been plenty written about this. Two local bloggers, Liam and Damian have done thoughtful, well reasoned arguments on the issue. The only thing, in seriousness, that I can add is this: I was once a professional journalist. I may well be again in the future. In my heart, I likely always will be one. Under no circumstances I could I envision me condoning any of the rabid, extreme actions I've seen taken in the news over this. Freedom of speech means having to put up with it even when it infuriates or enrages you. Especially when it does that. It doesn't mean you make death threats or attack embassies.
That also means striking or criticizing religion. I watched Newsworld this morning and they did a streeter asking if it was ok to satirize religion. And some people said it wasn't.
I gotta tell you, the day it isn't ok for me to mock the Catholic church, I need to move to another country. I do that for stress relief.
But the one thing that stuck me during all of this is that whenever the TV cameras should protesters being outraged, they were burning Danish flags. I saw it in Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Yemen and other places.
You know, photos like this one (Photo is by Associated Press, btw).
And the question I have is, where the heck do you get Danish flags in the Middle East?
I mean, you're constantly seeing American flags burned. I always assumed there was some local guy (Abdul's Flag Emporium: Our Flags Burn the Best!) with a small shop whose job it was to make U.S. flags for burning. I imagine there must be a craft to it. Obviously you're not making the flags for durability. Odds are the person buying the U.S. flag is just going to rush right out and burn it.
Still, you don't want it to go up like paper. It has to burn, but just right. A nice, slow burning flag so you get maximum time waving it around on fire so that Western Photographers and Al Jazeera can get their shots. But you still want it to burn brightly. There's a craftsmanship in it that I suspect many of us in the West can't really appreciate.
So I figured there's a few guys like this scattered around different hot spots in the Middle East. Most of their business is in U.S. flags, but just in case another country upsets people, you make the odd Union Jack, a German flag or two. Maybe even the French.
But Denmark? Really? I mean, I would have been hard pressed to find a Danish flag in Newfoundland. Or most of Canada for that matter. So I'm genuinely curious. Where does the average outraged Jordanian or Palestinian get a Danish flag on short notice for burning?
Enquiring minds want to know...
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