Saturday, 17 January 2015

Not so inspiring.

Counter-protests against Charlie-Hebdo's latest depiction of Muhammad got underway in Muslim countries, marred by considerable violence against people who have nothing to do with the matter at hand and a determination to attack symbols rather than make arguments.

In Niger, attacks were made against churches - perhaps the protesters feel that Christianity is a suitable stand in for secular western Europe? It's a pity they didn't stick to burning the French flag which I consider a perfectly acceptable form of self-expression. Anyway people died and were injured, property was damaged, etc, etc. In Pakistan, Islamic extremism demonstrated its ability failure to bring people together: all-male protesters interfered with a far more inclusive anti-terrorism demonstration.

But this has to be the ultimate irony, even though it obviously doesn't offend me personally. In Algeria, some protesters marched through the streets with Je Suis Muhammad as their slogan, and in doing so transformed themselves into walking, talking clones of the very imagery they say they are protesting again. I don't know how their activities are not blasphemic, according to their own standards, but whatever!

And anyway, why so much violence? And could the representational tropes at the heart of the Abrahamic religions have anything at all to do with it? I think I have the beginnings of an answer to that question so I might have to get on to it soon.

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