Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ban the Dane... the return

I love Amman. Whenever I think my rants are moot, and I might run out of topics for this blog, I just buy the newspaper.

The problem is: I talk to intelligent, educated, modern, open-minded Jordanians, and it distorts my understanding of local reality. Thank God (yes!), the front page of the Jordan Times today runs a title on BOYCOTT...

Yes, aaaaagain, the old Danish cartoons story. The Amman general prosecutor decided to subpoena the Danish journalists for running the cartoons in 2006, and a new ban on Danish products is planned to start this week.

The story doesn't say if Danish insuline should be boycotted by hospitals and diabetics, since Denmark still produces 90% of it, despite Saudi's efforts to build a new plant.

I wish I could find online and publish on this blog the French cartoons of the 1970s on Jesus walking on the sea, and his disciples swimming around saying: "you should join us, the water's perfect !", and many others that even the Pope must have had a good laugh with.

So, we're still there. Some among us are still stuck into a timeframe where their religion is threatened by a cartoon. I remember the excellent movie "The name of the Rose" where the church was destroying and hiding some forbidden books of Aristotle and Aesop because they were funny and laughter was the enemy of God.

Also, yesterday I was discussing about Roberto Benigni's controversial efforts to laugh about everything. And he was right.

OK the cartoons were not funny. But that is their only crime, and the only reason I disagree with them. Voltaire said "I do not agree with you but I will defend to death your right to say it".

Laughter and caricature is a healthy way to point our own shortcomings, and this boycott reaction is the worst possible reaction.

A very funny actor, Desproges, once said: "One can laugh about everything, but unfortunetely not with everyone". I couldn't agree more.

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