Thursday, February 09, 2006

We Interrupt This Broadcast: Mars Is Invading Earth

When we look back on the “Danish cartoon” hysteria a few months from now, who do you think will end up looking more disgracefully ridiculous? Will it be those who said it was all the fault of the Muslims and their stupid religion? Will it be those who said the Death-to-Denmark brigades were legitimately incited by the “west” because “we” are all so racist, and it’s all “our” fault? It will as hard to decide then, I bet, as it is now.

When Canadians look back, we will likely find that our punditti, in the main, kept their heads (no pun meant). Here at Chronicles, we'll will fondly recall the leadership shown by Tarek Fatah of the Canadian Muslim Congress, who bravely and publicly denounced those who insulted the dignity of Islam by “burning newspapers, threatening journalists, issuing bomb threats, yet claiming they are standing up for the Prophet himself.”

I'm already looking back and thinking about it this way:

A wave of mass hysteria seized thousands of radio listeners between 8:15 and 9:30 o'clock last night when a broadcast of a dramatization of H. G. Wells's fantasy, "The War of the Worlds," led thousands to believe that an interplanetary conflict had started with invading Martians spreading wide death and destruction in New Jersey and New York.

By that, I mean that the hysteria has been manufactured, fabricated, and deliberately incited by certain hideously malicious imams, in collusion with such corrupt regimes as Syria, Egypt and Iran. Among the villains of the story, none is more pathetic than the attention-seeking Danish “scholar” Ahmed Akkari.

Akkari’s the guy who toured a cartoon-dossier around the Middle East last fall, deliberately riling up as many nutcases as would entertain his company. Among Akkari’s Blasphemy-Against-The-Prophet cartoon samples was a photocopy of what was in fact just a picture of a French guy dressed up to look like a pig. It was a photograph of Jacques Barrot, a contestant in France’s too-weird Pig-Squealing Championships, held last August in Trie-sur-Baise.

I’d be happy to wager this: On Planet Islam, most ordinary Muslim blokes, left to their own devices and to their own common sense, would never have responded stupidly or violently to the merely vulgar cartoons that really did appear in the Jyllands-Posten. I’m confident of that only partly because of the fact that before Akkari and his gang left on their mischief-making rounds, all of the Danish cartoons had already appeared in a mass-circulation Egyptian newspaper, in Cairo.

Back then, did Egyptian Muslims rush out with torches, intent upon burning the embassies of the infidel? No. What did they do? They looked at the cartoons, snorted, turned the page, and went about their business like the sensible people they are, that’s what.

In Canada, we used to be protected by a simple legal principle, enshrined in Section 181 of the Criminal Code: Everyone who willfully publishes a statement, tale or news that he knows is false and that causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

We used to consider Section 181 a reasonable limit on free speech. For good or ill, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the “false news” prohibition in 1992. The chilling irony is that the decision was a victory for a guy who was the spitting image of the theocratic fascists who have lately been bullying and inciting ordinary Muslims all over the world: Ernst Zundel, a jackbooted holocaust denier.

We now interrupt the regular Chronicles broadcast. This just in:

This is Captain Lansing of the signal corps, attached to the state militia, now engaged in military operations in the vicinity of Grovers Mill. . . The things, whatever they are, do not even venture to poke their heads above the pit. I can see their hiding place plainly in the glare of the searchlights here. With all their reported resources, these creatures can scarcely stand up against heavy machine-gun fire. Anyway, it's an interesting outing for the troops. I can make out their khaki uniforms, crossing back and forth in front of the lights. It looks almost like a real war. . .


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