I have no use for people who blame victims for their victimization. In fact, I have a deep and abiding loathing for them. And, gradually, society is moving to agree with me.
What it always boils down to is an excuse for the attacker, an attempt to ameliorate their guilt, their responsibility for their actions by shifting the blame — not on them for their deeds, but for their victim for “provoking” them.
We, by and large, don’t accept that in cases of rape. There are NO women who “ask for it,” and even if there were, there is no obligation for a man — any man — to oblige her. For all the other heinous aspects of the Duke non-rape case, one thing came through loud and clear: all women — yes, even those who sell (or lease) their sexuality, so whatever degree, can refuse.
We don’t blame victims of other forms of assault. “Queer-bashing” used to be quietly accepted; unwanted same-sex advances were considered grounds for assault — or even perceived advances, sometimes no more than the mere existence of the gay person.
We don’t blame victims of robbery or fraud. No matter how rich, how careless, how gullible they were, we don’t lay the legal responsibility at their feet.
But it seems that there is still one case where it’s fair game to blame the victim and excuse the aggressor. And it’s in relation to the more fierce elements of Islam.
In Sweden, a newspaper ran a cartoon (albeit a really crappy one — the artist makes Ted Rall look like George Perez) depicting Mohammed’s head on a dog’s body. (I think — it’s really, really poorly drawn.) Muslims around the world reacted exactly as they did when a Danish newspaper published far-better-drawn cartoons of Mohammed last year, and how they react whenever they feel slighted — with rage. It seems an essential part of their nature.
So, the natural Muslim reaction is kicking in again. And if you read this account, it’s clear that the BBC thinks that the Swedes shoulda known better.
And in Israel, the city of Sderot has literally been under siege for years. Daily rocket bombardments have gone on for so long that it’s become the accepted status quo for much of the world. And no one seems much interested in stopping it, or even discussing it.
Major religions, it seems, go through stages. Often, early on, they are very aggressive. Judaism started out with the conquest — by force — of the Holy Land, then settled down. Christianity also had its phase, but that largely faded with the Protestant Reformation and its consequences.
Islam is still in its aggressive phase — a fair analogy might be adolescence.
And as it’s a horrendous idea to excuse the actions of youths by saying “they’re just kids” or “they’ll grow out of it,” we need to stop making excuses for the grotesque atrocities being perpetrated by militant Islamists around the world — especially when they try to impose their perverse senses of law and justice on those parts of the world that do not ascribe to their beliefs.
The reactions to these cartoons are not about the cartoons per se, but about attempting to establish special protections for the tenets of Islam in the non-Islamic-governed world — and to set them above the principles we hold sacrosanct: the separation of church and state, the freedom of speech and expression, the rejection of threats of violence as a valid means of debate. And the ongoing slow destruction of Sderot is the camel’s nose under the tent, the push to make acceptable a certain level of violence from Muslims as natural and normal, something to be accepted and endured.
It’s long overdue for a Muslim “reformation.” The body count has grown far, far too long. And while it was one thing when they merely killed their own (which makes up the majority of their victims — Muslims have done a far, far better job at killing and terrorizing their own co-religionists than the rest of the world — they’ve been slaughtering and maiming those who have not chosen to “submit” to Allah. (Never forget that “Islam” doesn’t mean “peace,” it means “submission.”)
And the first step has to be to start holding them accountable to certain basic civil standards of behavior. One of them is “stupid cartoons are NEVER a valid excuse for violence.”
Let me put it in simpler terms: sticks and stones may break your bones — and that’s something the Muslims are quite familiar, as they frequently employ such tools to achieve such ends — but words will never hurt you. Or your faith. Or your prophet.
And you will NOT intimidate us into enforcing your laws, your tenets, your traditions against ourselves. We’ve fought for far less — and far more effectively than you can even dream of doing.