articles from 2006

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The Cartoon has hit the Fanatic! 

– Pieter-Dirk Uys, post on PDU website,  5 February 2006

I wanted to show that controversial drawing here, but even our democratic SA Government has allowed a local Muslim group to take out an injunction against our newspapers from publishing the cartoon. Hello? It's just a drawing! No, it's SATIRE. And I celebrate that fact that even in 2006, satire still works!

Some satirical cartoons are bad, carelessly drawn, confusing and unfunny. They disappear overnight because they don't work. Some offend and cause outrage: they work! But surely we must be able to make up our own minds? Banning satire doesn't work, because the cartoon I have imagined in my head is probably far worse than the original.

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that started all this, and France Soir and the German Die Welt that reprinted the cartoons of a Muslim icon, are guilty. Of being unfair to us all. They should also publish cartoons of Jesus Christ, The Holy Mother Mary, God the Father, The Holy Ghost, Buddha, The Jewish God Jehovah, Hare Krishna, a Hindu representative and, to piss of the Scientologists, Tom Cruise nude with small penis. Level the playingfields here, boys. 'Equal-opportunity Satire' means everyone must be offended!

Nothing is above satire! During the last century Christians had to come to terms with what they regarded as blasphemous depictions of their icons on stage in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Godspell'. Jews are constantly confronted in the Muslim media by crude anti-semitic cartoons. The Pope probably now collects cartoons about the Papacy. Mother Theresa is still a gift for the small stage comedian with a spare tea-towel.

Satire must offend in order to make its point — and that is to react with anger, shock and awe. And raucous laughter. To bomb an embassy because of a cartoon that depicted a religious icon wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb somehow justifies that image. I envy Muslims the fact that they can still be so easily offended by a drawing. How can a drawing affect your faith? The senseless death of people through suicide bombings, mass starvation, controllable disease and political carelessness is what really should offend, and yet, the main issue here is now freedom of speech.

Yes. It simply means: be free to use speech! Talk. Express. If satire offends, defend. That's what it's supposed to do. Unfortunately most satire of today is flabby crap, not even worthy of a wry smile, but every now and then one is forced to re-evaluate, rethink and reposition one's prejudice — thanks to a drawing.

Now satirical cartoons are desperately needed to reflect the mindless, thuggish reaction to a satirical drawing by hordes of screaming people trotted out for the tv cameras by sly political manipulators.

The political satirists of today are my inspiration. I hope none of them allow this to frighten them into apology or submission. The pen seems to be mightier than the suicide-bomber's belt, so draw on!

And to quote the Divine Bette Midler: 'Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!'

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