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Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Big Day For Some

Today was the first of a different kind of protest.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with it... but again, it's about Free Speech -- and as far as protests go, it's about as non-violent as you're going to get. So kudos to them on that part at the very least.

That said, to say that I've seen some... offensive images... today in regards to this protest is an understatement. I don't think they all necessarily help the discussion but hey, that's how the cookie crumbles. When given to protest, people don't always take the high road.

I did see one image today that, while I don't agree with everything in it, I thought 'hrmm' and decided to share with you:

What bothers me about this image is that -- like the whole protest itself -- it punishes those who haven't really done anything wrong; Again, I'm talking about moderate Muslims getting caught in the crossfire.

It's unnecessarily confrontational and aggressive towards an entire swath of people.

And I would consider this image 'light-hearted' compared to what I've seen today.

Which brings me to my point about this protest which is that, essentially, it realizes my biggest worry about what this day would become: a vague but intensely angry statement that does nothing but incite and perpetuate anger on both sides of the argument.

Yes, I guess in a way it was to be expected -- 'cause it's far easier to demonize a whole religion rather than just picking out the Fundamentalists/Extremists who've created this situation.

And yet I can't help but find myself disappointed here 'cause I think the protest that people are really wanting to have is legitimate (calling for Free Speech and Tolerance) but I think if you're going to protest you should do so having taken some time to educate yourself about why you're protesting.

Of course, that's not exactly a sexy sell -- you know, having to do research and read or 'focus the fury'.

A great deal of the images I've seen today were obviously drawn by people who cared more about pissing people off and insulting Muslims than provoking discussion.

And that's a shame.

At least this picture -- again, as needlessly confrontational and overly-generic as it is -- offered a message and an attempt to quantify some of the feelings prevalent in the movement.

So, how would I change the timbre of it if I could?

I think, rather than targeting all Muslims with something like this and insulting or offending the wrong people, maybe we should be asking the moderates to stand up and help denounce those who're obviously not the majority.

But, then again, how can we ask the moderates to stick their necks out to denounce some very scary people if we can't even bring ourselves to tell the difference between them?

Unfortunately, I find myself worrying that a protest like this will end up doing more harm than good -- by continuing to put forth the image that all Muslims and followers of the Prophet Muhammad are extremists and by further narrowing any hope for intelligent discussion amongst those who do cordially (and/or quietly) disagree.

Cheers,
Brandon

P.S: Apparently Pakistan has banned Facebook over this. Not sure how that helped the Free Speech cause. Push-and-push-back. What's the next escalation?

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