Daily Archives: 2006-02-07

How to handle an argument

Amidst all of the hullaballoo on the Danish Cartoon Debacle, I find this hopeful gem.

A major Iranian newspaper is holding an international competition for cartoons about the Holocaust to retaliate for the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper last year.

The daily made it clear that the contest was being held to see whether freedom of expression extended to mocking Holocaust. It invited non-Iranian cartoonists to enter the contest.
–Nazila Fathi in the International Herald Tribune

I think it is actually positive. Instead of answer speech with violence, it is answering speech with speech.

While Danish cartoonists certainly have the right to draw cartoons that are offensive to Muslims, islamic cartoonists have the right to draw offensive cartoons right back, illustrating how hurtful and angering an image can be.

At least it is a conversation instead of an altercation.

The israeli response is understandable as well, if also ethically questionable.

The Israel News Agency is asking every SEO advertising marketing professional to create Web pages and optimize the keywords: “Iran Holocaust Cartoon Contest” in order to prevent the Iran newspapers, the enemies of Israel, the Jews, the Christians and Western democracy from attaining a high Google and Google News position. The SEO contestants will wrap these keywords around their comments of how Iran has sponsored Islam suicide bombing terror attacks against innocent men, women and children in Israel.
Israel News Agency

They are not just trying to silence their opposition, they are trying to promote their argument in search engines. I’m not sure how well this will keep people from finding hateful cartoons from either side or help people to discuss the issue. While it is a response, it doesn’t seem to be responsive. It seems like it would be more of an ad hominem argument, not a response to where the limits of free expression stand.