Monday, February 06, 2006

Orchestrated Outrage

I didn't follow the Danish-cartoon story too closely until this weekend. In common with many radical Muslims, I, too, abhor Denmark, largely because of some bad pastry I once ate but also because of the country's selfish refusal to share a land boundary with any country but Germany. I mean, get over yourselves, you sens of bitches!

And but so, I find this gleaning by Soj on Daily Kos quite interesting. The offensive cartoons were published back in September 2005 - six months ago, if you're scoring at home. Why did the rioting only erupt last week? Well, this year

there were a number of stampedes, called "tragedies" in the press, during the Hajj which killed several hundred pilgrims... Over 251 pilgrims were killed during the 2004 Hajj alone in the same area as the one that killed 350 pilgrims in 2006. These were not unavoidable accidents, they were the results of poor planning by the Saudi government.

And while the deaths of these pilgrims was a mere blip on the traditional western media's radar, it was a huge story in the Muslim world. Most of the pilgrims who were killed came from poorer countries such as Pakistan, where the Hajj is a very big story. Even the most objective news stories were suddenly casting Saudi Arabia in a very bad light and they decided to do something about it.

Their plan was to go on a major offensive against the Danish cartoons. The 350 pilgrims were killed on January 12 and soon after, Saudi newspapers (which are all controlled by the state) began running up to 4 articles per day condemning the Danish cartoons. The Saudi government asked for a formal apology from Denmark. When that was not forthcoming, they began calling for world-wide protests. After two weeks of this, the Libyans decided to close their embassy in Denmark. Then there was an attack on the Danish embassy in Indonesia. And that was followed by attacks on the embassies in Syria and then Lebanon.

It's just as phony as but far less frivolous than the War on Christmas.