In re: Over art?

Irate Muslim protesters set fire to the Danish and Norwegian missions in Damascus, where Syrian newspapers routinely print the most appalling, racist cartoons of big-nosed Jews. In Beirut, rioters burned the Danish mission and vandalized a Maronite Catholic church, beating a Dutch news photographer mistaken for a Dane….
Over art? These are made-up pictures. The photographs from Abu Ghraib were documents of real events, but they didn’t provoke such widespread violence. What’s going on?

As I mentioned before the violence and the uproar over the Danish cartoons astounds me, I thought a NYTimes article on the cartoons, and also discusing artistic depictions of Jesus that caused an uproar in NY, but didn’t lead to the kind of fervor that we have seen here. Of course art has through history (as the article outlines) caused uproar, and even in recent times it has led to the assassination of translators and publishers of Rushdie’s controvresial book The Satanic Verses (see article The Cartoon Jihad)

In An article The Cartoon Jihad, which interviews article, which compares the uproar over Rushdie’s book, was an intersting line about the freedom of speech in the west and the lines that exist implicitly and explicictly

The debate [over The Satanic Verses] made it clear that despite our invocations of freedom of speech, even in the West freedom of speech is not absolute. After all, limits are set on pornography, for example. Freedom of speech today is to a large extent exercised through self-censorship — not only through legislation, but by commercial interests, such as newspapers and publishing houses.

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