Monday, January 10, 2011

Muhammad Cartoon Crisis in Denmark

Marion Muller and Esra Ozcan states in their 'The Political Iconography of Muhammad Cartoons: Understanding Cultural Conflict and Political Action'. PS: Political Science & Politics, vol. 40, no.2 (2007) 287-291.

The controversy over the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons that swept the globe at the beginning of 2006 was arguably the second major event after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that brought 'Muslims' as a group of political actors to the forefront of internatinal politics. The crisis was sparked in late September 2005, by the publication of political cartoons, depicting Islamic prophet Muhammad, in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

While the oriniginal cause of controversy was limited to a small country in northern Europe, political actinos spread worldwide, ranging from peaceful protests to diplomatic sanctions to consumer boycotts, and finally to open violence against anything symbolizing 'the West.' the levels of political actions were muddled, and responsibilites as well as the potential to act were confused. Almost all of the actors involved in the controversy were left without an approprate countrpart to address.

Indeed the most populous and public places, like the Norreport Station, Central Station and big Malls could be the target hit. 78 per cent of the electorate believe it's either 'probable' or 'highly probable' that Denmark will soon suffer a terrorist strike carried out by Islamic fundamentalist groupls, a new Gallup poll shows.

People defended the publication of the photos as a freedom of speech and freedom of press, but some say the photos went off the limit; and now the cartoonist has brought a danger not only to him and his family, but to his country. It is an ongoing discussion in Copenhagen, right now, and a lot of Danish embassies have been attempted or have been attacked due to these publication.

I thought you should know how ones thoughts can provoke such a big misunderstanding and fight. Read further to read more:

The cartoon crisis started with these 12 editorial photos, which were stated as an attempt to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship.(click to see in bigger version below):

However, Danish Muslim organizations responded by holding public protests attempting to raise awareness of Jyllands-Posten's publication. Further examples of the cartoons were soon reprinted in newspapers in more than 50 other countries, further deepening the controversy.

This led to protests across the Muslim world, some of which escalated into violence with instances of police firing on crowds of protestors (resulting in a total of more than 100 reported deaths), including setting fire to the Danish Embassies in Syria, Lebanon and Iran, storming European buildings, and burning the Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, French and German flags in Gaza City.Various groups, primarily in the Western world, responded by endorsing the Danish policies, including "Buy Danish" campaigns and other displays of support. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the controversy as Denmark's worst international crisis since World War II.

Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic or racist,and argued that they are blasphemous to people of the Muslim faith, are intended to humiliate a Danish minority, or are a manifestation of ignorance about the history of Western imperialism.

Supporters have said that the cartoons illustrated an important issue in a period of Islamic terrorism and that their publication is a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, explicitly tied to the issue of self-censorship. They claim that Muslims were not targeted in a discriminatory way since unflattering cartoons about other religions (or their leaders) are frequently printed. They question whether some of the riots were spontaneous outpourings as they took place where no spontaneous demonstrations are allowed, and whether the images of Muhammad per se are offensive to Muslims, as thousands of illustrations of Muhammad have appeared in books by and for Muslims.


Sunday, January 09, 2011

University Post: 3rd Article

Hello everyone!

Hope you had a great new years! I think I'm getting out of the writers block finally :) with that said, my third article has been published on my school's newspaper! Click on the link below to read the article:

In this article, I have stated the problems and issues internationals face when it comes to scoring a job in Denmark. I believe a lot internationals can relate to this, and I'm looking forward to hear your feedbacks! Harsh comments are as welcome as the good ones!

I love hearing different opinions and angles!

And let me know what you think!


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Danish Christmas

I don’t celebrate christmas. Well, Mongolians are Buddhist, so we don’t celebrate christmas as festive as the christian countries. However, ever since i have come to Denmark, i have not missed celebrating a single christmas - a Danish christmas, to be exact. Danes celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, unlike the States where they normally celebrate on the 25th. Danes have their Christmas Eve on the 23rd, while States on the 24th. The reason lies within the Jesus birth between the 24th night and 25th morning.


I had a julekalendar this year in Christmas, which means christmas calendar. But it is 24 piece of small wrapped gifts where you have to open one each morning and count the days to Christmas with it from December 1 [there is also a xmas candle where you have to light up little day by day]. It is the sweetest tradition of Christmas ever for me, and the presents included this year were: hello kitty socks, hello kitty underwear, hello kitty shoelaces [i know, Danes think all Asians like Hello Kitty stuffs] chocolate bars, hair bans, hand soap, hand cream, shower gel, body cream, etc...small, but very cute presents! If i ever want to take some tradition from Christmas, it definitely will be this Julekalander. I felt like a little kid again :]


Before you start buying christmas gifts, you need to ask for their christmas wishlist. This was something very new to me, just like the Birthday Wishlist. Instead of surprising one another, you give something exactly what he/she needs. Very practical, innit? As for me, i wished for books, books and books... my school books are annoyingly expensive! Hundred dollars in average each! And the best part is, after christmas everything is under 50% sale, lol. The same present i bought for them always become half priced.


Another sweet tradition is, you make the sweets and the chocolate bars yourself! Marzipans, white chocolate, dark chocolate, nuts, walnuts, raisins, cranberry...whatever your choice is, you can mix them up and cover them with melted chocolate and VOILA: you’ll have your own shaped and hand made candy bars :D


I think decorating christmas tree is same for all countries. Though Mongolia doesn’t celebrate christmas, we still have a (fake) tree where we decorate. The only difference is they cut a real tree and we don’t :P


Some families take a christmas walking around their home. Depending on the weather on Christmas, the family altogether walk either far or just some few blocks.


Some families, or maybe most families, pay a visit to the church. I even like visiting the church in Christmas, where its decorated so nice, and we sing songs [even if i don’t understand what i’m singing - i have a lyriced book in my hand]’s so nice and so relaxing. The most boring part is ofcourse when the priest starts talking. Well, it wouldn’t be boring if i understood Danish well, but for me it demands the most patience. But i respect them ofcourse, and i stay silent and clap with others in the end.


If you’re with a Danish family celebrating, you would get a very strong RUBY port wine, at the start, and taste the candies you have made the day before and talk/catch up with one another. Meanwhile the mother would be in the kitchen preparing the duck, and side dishes. I love the sweet potatoes; and after lots of eating and drinking wine/beer and saying ‘skål’ [cheers in Danish], you get ready for the rice pudding with almond and vanilla cream topped with cherry sauce. There is a traditional game, where a person gets a present if he/she get the full/uncut almond among the rice. it’s not really my favorite game, because i never get a full almond.

After the feast, you relax with cookies and coffee again. You can ofcourse have your coffee however you like, with Bailey, Cognac, whisky or simply classic Milk :D.

Then the fun part starts, men of the house start lighting up the candles on the christmas tree [women are not allowed to do that or see, very racist, ha] and once they are done, every body holds one anothers hand and start dancing/circling the tree while singing christmas song - you do this max 30 min. And after dancing around the tree, the long waited xmas unwrapping begins. Men take turns and distribute the presents to all, and once all get their present, they start unwrapping them and start hugging the person who gave you a present and the happy ending....

Oh wait, i almost forgot the Christams Lunch: JULEFROKOST!

The next morning, whether you have hangover or not, you get christmas lunch. if you are fresh, you can have breakfast in the morning and then have lunch in the afternoon with the rest. But this lunch is special, there’s a tradition to it as well.

1st: Danish snaps, very disgusting, but you have to drink it with the rest.
2nd: you get all kinds of herring: apple herring, curry herring, herring with onion, xmas herring etc. You have to eat it with the black bread. There is also liver paste somewhere
3rd: Snaps again, and you get salmon on the white bread.
4th: snaps again, and you finally get the friekedela. Pork meat
5th: you get another type of snaps again, golden maybe, and then you get the dessert: all kinds of cheese, crackers and grape...
last: coffee and cockies... and after that you wont be able to eat anything for the whole day, yeah. it’s like our Tsagaan Sar, where you have to eat till you can’t, lol.

And the next day, you go back to your home to your girlfriend/boyfriend. Did i mention boyfriend’s mother gives the girlfriend a big Christmas gift, which is very cool. Girls just need to relax and accept it. So girlfriends get gift from their boyfriends AND from his mom as well, while boys just get one gift from the girlfriend :D Being girl is awesome sometimes!

Hope you all are having a pleasant holidays!