Friday, May 21, 2010

Regarding "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day"

So, Everybody Draw Muhammad Day actually turned out to be pretty stupid and offensive. The artist whose work inspired it has even apologized. Some people might say "duh, of course it was offensive, wasn't that the point?". No. It wasn't, or really shouldn't have been. The intention should not have been to shove pictures of Muhammad in Muslim's faces, but to take a stand against the fear-based tactics of fundamentalists all over the world who want to scare people away from expressing themselves. Also, I have a special place in my heart for the Streisand effect.

There is a strong and disturbing anti-Muslim sentiment in the West, and there's no denying that EDM Day hurts that tension. If I were to ever to actually depict Muhammad (in a more traditional sense than yesterday) I would be happy to put a "NSFM" tag (or something more obvious) preceding the picture. That is where religious tolerance ends for me though. I would never abstain from depicting Muhammad if it actually added to something I wanted to express.

My own participation was pretty safe. I'm not really willing to be offensive toward Muslims merely because I *can*. I am, however, willing to participate in an armchair protest against violence at the risk of offending some. I only wish that many of the other participants could have been more thoughtful. I really wish that it could have been something that was more clearly NOT anti-Muslim, but honestly, that's probably asking too much from the Internet.

It's worth mentioning, for those that don't know: the South Park episode that spawned EDM day never actually depicted Muhammad. He appeared in a bear suit for the duration of the episode, and in the end turned out to be Santa Claus and not even Muhammad at all. Hence my Margritte tribute.

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