It’s a day for bad lines, innit. For two bad lines in particular.
In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.
The other is
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
Pretend for a moment that you don’t know where they’re from, who said them or promoted them, in what context.
They’re just bad. On their own, with no further context, they’re bad. On the face – prima facie.
The word “savage” used as a noun is just stupid, and sinister. It borders on taboo, in the way “nigger” is taboo and “bitch” ought to be taboo but isn’t. It’s a relic of colonialism and it just reeks of ignorance and domination. Sorting people into civilized and savage has a terrible, blood-soaked history.
As for the second line – the concept of “slandering” a historical or quasi-historical human male called by his fans “the prophet of Islam” is meaningless outside Islam, and people who forbid us all to “slander the prophet of Islam” are trying to impose a religious edict on all people.
Two bad lines.
Now for the context and who said them and why. The first is perhaps even worse in context. The second is less terrible in context but it remains a wretched choice of words.
You already know the context. The “savage” line is from a poster put up in ten New York subway stations by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative. Mona Eltahawy has been arrested for spraying one with purple paint. The context does nothing to make the ugliness of the wording look any prettier.
The “slander” line is from Obama’s speech to the UN.
It is time to leave the call of violence and the politics of division behind. On so many issues, we face a choice between the promise of the future, or the prisons of the past. We cannot afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment. And America stands ready to work with all who are willing to embrace a better future.
The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt – it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted “Muslims, Christians, we are one.” The future must not belong to those who bully women – it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a country’s resources – it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support.
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.
Yes; yes; no. The third para goes off the rails. Yes sometimes vandalizing images of Jesus is done as incitement and a kind of ethnic cleansing, but not always. Separate the two. Don’t make it a matter of forbidding attacks on images or prophetic reputations; make it a matter of incitement and violencem. Separate the two, Barack.
I would say more but Popehat got there first, so why bother.