23 November 2008

Is It Just A Cartoon?

I am not going to re-post the offending cartoons here. For no other reason than I did not bother to save them. I did not find them particularly funny and I did not see them as making any real political statement worthy of debating.

The issue for me is one of how seriously must this matter be dealt with? When does a cartoon cease being a cartoon and become something else that is worthy of this much debate? What are the legal implications and ramifications considering the government seems certain to pursue this to its conclusion?

The cartoons that were hosted on the Wordpress hosted blog depicted the Prophet and his wives. The accompanying text was written in Indonesian. Therefore, the assumption is that the blogger is Indonesian and that they are based here. I am not sure how this conclusion has been reached. Perhaps there is more information that has not been released to I have yet to see on this matter. I know quite a few non-Indonesians that can read, write, and speak in Indonesian.

The response to the cartoons has seen Wordpress close off the link. There has been demands that Wordpress divulge the identity of the blogger or perhaps information that might lead to the uncovering of the identity of the mysterious and currently anonymous blogger. There have been claims that if Wordpress does not provide this information that the Indonesian National Police Force's digital forensic squad will get in on the act and find the information itself.

However, it is the responses from others that are worthy of some consideration.

Muhammad Ismail Yusanto, spokesman for Hizbut Tahrir, has declared that shutting down access is not enough. The government must conduct a full investigation and when the blogger is uncovered he must be punished according to Islamic law and that the death penalty must apply once the blogger's guilt has been determined.

Hidayat Nur Wahid, who maintains a significant affiliation with the Prosperous Justice Party which he once chaired, has described the cartoons as "an act of terrorism against the Muslim people," and something that the authorities must deal with firmly.

So, I guess my question is, "when is a cartoon not just a cartoon?"

11 comments:

Elyani said...

Rob, many years ago Arswendo Atmowiloto, an Editor in Chief for a "Monitor" tabloid (the first tabloid under Kompas group) was imprisoned 5 years for a mistake that he didn't do. Weeks earlier he asked the readers to write who's their idols and his name came up on top of Prophet Mohammad based on the poll answers sent by the readers. Without checking it, the tabloid presented the result as it was and it sure caused a big stir. Like it or not...religion was, is and will forever be a sensitive issue here.

Rob Baiton said...

Elyani...

I am not suggesting that there will be a time when religion will be an issue that has been de-sensitized.

To the contrary, I am asking about cartoons and when does a cartoon cease to be a cartoon.

Oh well! Life goes on...

schmerly said...

Rob…

What I don’t understand is when someone draws a cartoon of (any) of the prophets, religious extremists (of all faiths) start ranting and raving, after all it’s just a sketch of an Arabic looking person, but it’s the inference I suppose, but people like this Hidayat Nur Wahid call it "an act of terrorism against the Muslim people," and the other one Muhammad Ismail Yusanto calling for the death penalty!
All this is beyond me, what if they just wrote a jokes without the cartoons, I suppose that’s also an act of terrorism and deserves the death penalty!
These people need to get a life.

Rob Baiton said...

Schmerly...

I don't think it was inference. It was pretty clear who the subject of the cartoon was.

Here's the thing though. It is not only the "extremists" or "fundamentalists" that say this is wrong.

The extremists and fundamentalists are better news material because they come out with a lot more in terms of sensational statements liek cartoons being worthy of the death penalty and representative of terrorism.

This is not just a Muslim thing. It was not all that long ago that Ann Coulter was on the tele and the radio suggesting that the US start invading Muslim countries and converting them all to Christianity.

This was the quote, "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

schmerly said...

Rob...

I haven't seen the cartoon but like you say it's not just a Muslim thing, plenty of Christians and Zionists go over the top, and Ann Coulter should get the death sentence! she's well out of order.

therry said...

It has doggy-style! I wonder if it's more of porn rather than cartoon?

Rob Baiton said...

Therry...

It would seem to breach the provisions of the porn law as well. But, I would see this going down under Article 27 of the ITE Law as this article also includes morality and vilification type provisions.

tere616 said...

Ah, the same person with different face :-(

It seems that we have a bunch of smart person with narrow minded person.

Wondering when will the grown up can use their brain ?

Rob Baiton said...

Tere...

Interesting thought on using one's brains rather than one's brawn!

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Rob Baiton said...

hjkl...

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

I am not sure that your comment addresses the subject matter of the post but, nevertheless, thanks anyway.