Thursday, February 09, 2006

Freedom of Choice for Holocaust Cartoon Contest 

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran is now inviting the world's cartoonists to participate in its own Holocaust-denying cartoon contest, a direct response to the recent "Danish Mohammad Cartoon Flap." Ahmadinejad, or at least the editors who look to him not to have them killed, appear to be trying to spin the previous cartoon crisis around 180 degrees to create a new and improved crises by skewering the West on its own principle of Freedom of Expression. They are challenging Western media to demonstrate its commitment to this exalted Iranian principle -- free speech -- and republish anti-Semitic cartoons from their contest.

While Freedom of Expression by no means requires any newspaper to print something just because a foreign country double-dog dared it, this challenge comes on the heels of the Danish cartoon trouble which could cause some papers to have a long second look at that dare. Many probably worry they will appear hypocritical to Muslims and anti-Semites -- a real blow to circulation -- if they don't take Iran up on it. The Danish newspaper which started the whole affair has already waffled on the possibility of printing Ahmadinejad's cartoons, and others will certainly follow -- after all, it's not like they'll get killed for it.

But why let Iran have it so easy? If they can spin this thing around the Freedom of Expression skewer, we can spin it right back the same way.

One wonders if there is any chance the Great Guardian of Free Speech, Ahmadinejad, will consent to dissenting viewpoints in his nation's competitive comedic tribute to the Freedom of Expression and Genocide. If he refuses to allow dissenting viewpoints, that will give Western media a much sexier Freedom of Expression hypocrisy story to report on than his charade parade of hate. But if he does accept them, then Western cartoonists should be able to send in a few genocidally neutral cartoons to choose from. While those cartoons certainly won't win the contest, when it comes time for newspapers to genuflect to Iran's idea of Freedom of Expression by picking a cartoon from the contest to reprint, they would now have an acceptable choice, in amongst the thousands of anti-Semitic cartoons Ahmadinejad is almost certain to garner.

I wish I could draw. But I can cut and paste.


If anyone knows how to make real cartoons, this could be a fun project, to actually submit them to the Iranian contest and Western newspapers so they know what their choices are.

More on Iran holocaust cartoons at Israel News Agency. Freedom of Speech discussion at Stop the ACLU.

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