Germans Avoid Collective Guilt

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Early this morning, Tim Cavanaugh announced, "I've got a hunch that the In-toon-fadah is winding down." In fact, there were hopeful signs as early as last Thursday. According to Agence France-Presse (by way of The New York Times), "two masked gunmen" in Nablus "kidnapped a German from a hotel, thinking he was French or Danish….They turned him over to the police once they realized their mistake."

The gunmen may not have grasped the distinction between speech and violence, or between a private Danish newspaper and the Danish government, or between the Danish government and the Danish people (every last one of them, including random tourists and, presumably, babies born after the offending cartoons were published). But they drew the line at punishing Germans for something Danes had done. Although I'm not sure why citizens of France get more blame than citizens of Germany, since papers in both countries reprinted the unflattering portraits of Muhammad, this has got to count as progress of a sort. Likewise, since a paper in the Netherlands ran the cartoons, it was surprisingly open-minded for demonstrators in Beirut to beat a Dutch photographer only because they "mistook him for being Danish."

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21 responses to “Germans Avoid Collective Guilt

  1. Didn’t an Egyptian newspaper print the cartoons? Shouldn’t they attack all Egyptians too then?

    Maybe newpapers in all the world’s countries should republish the cartoons, then they can get back to killing innocent people regardless of country of origin.

  2. “Maybe newpapers in all the world’s countries should republish the cartoons, then they can get back to killing innocent people regardless of country of origin.”

    Best quote in a while I’ve seen.

  3. Maybe they just have an appreciation of the Germans’ method for eliminating the Jews. Or is that all a myth to them?

  4. I’d much rather eat a danish than beat a Danish.

    Feel free to read a double-entendre into that if it suits your fancy.

  5. Yet more proof that herding behavior and thinking of people in terms of group identity always yeilds destructive outcomes.
    I must admit, though, that I’m guilty of it too. Part of me sees this sort of thing and says, “Screw it. Let’s exterminate the brutes.” (Thanks to an earlier post for the last phrase.)

  6. “Freedom Fries” anyone?

  7. I hear the Defense Dept. is working on a cartoon bomb as we speak.
    Code name: The Crusader.

  8. All I know is, I now have a sweet costume ready for this Halloween. I’ve always wanted an excuse to wear a bomb on my head.

  9. Deus ex Machina,

    The activities of fascists (be they Germans, Hungarians, Croats, etc.) towards the Jewish population of Europe during WWII is often discounted in the middle east. Indeed, as far as I can tell, its a robust industry in the region.

  10. Let me have a Danish to go.

  11. Perhaps this reveals another potential source of racism: embarrassment. If I didn’t know any better, I might allow my embarrassment at the fact that these protesters and I are members of the same species to be transformed into the belief that they aren’t.

  12. The angry Muslims should extend their boycott to England, Scotland, and the U.S. Lots of Danish blood in those countries. Diluted to be sure–most of it came from the Viking era–so maybe a lesser boycott is called for? I’m not good with these religious bans, to be honest.

    Hey, just trying to be helpful.

  13. I’m pretty sure that a German paper (Die Welt) published some of the cartoons last week. And unlike the French paper, no one belonging to it apologized/was fired afterwards. The latest chapter in this tawdry saga is just surreal.

  14. Eric II,

    France Soir is owned by an Egyptian (who may also have French citizenship), and it was the owner who fired the editor.

  15. Although I’m not sure why citizens of France get more blame than citizens of Germany, since papers in both countries reprinted the unflattering portraits of Muhammad, this has got to count as progress of a sort.

    Well, yes, for Islamists this probably would be progress. We take what we can get. If they set off six car bombs instead of eight, then that would be definite progress.

    Hatemail welcome.

  16. Is the gal in the new Valentines Day-themed Reason ad to the right the new intern?

  17. Yes, of course she is, B.P. She’s also a computer scientist, and I am also an underwear model, and tofu tastes just as good as steak, and smoking is good for you, and money grows on trees, and…

  18. wise ass:


    Marvel
    beat DoD to it.

    Kevin

  19. Hmmmmm any wonder why there might be a lack of respect?

  20. Several fellow Germans who have traveled the region have pointed out to me that some of their Arab contacts displayed open admiration for Hitler and the Nazis. Whether or not their crimes are believed to have been committed, their propaganda is still out there, being reprinted and, like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, reaching a grateful audience.
    Non-Westerners who are full of hate often see Germans as potential allies, not least because of the last two wars we waged. The rather ambivalent attitute towards the ideals of the West (to put it mildly) of the Schr?der government might have played a role, too. Metal Storm , the jingoistic best-selling novel by two Turkish authors (which has, AFAIR, been briefly discussed on H&R) sports a coalition of Turkey, Russia and Germany in the Third World War against America. VS Naipaul, in his book Beyond Belief , describes a teenager in the Tehran of the late 1990s who calls himself a Nazi, because ‘as an Iranian, I am Aryan. So I am a Nazi.’ Old lies travel a long way.
    And sometimes there is just what might be called a ‘the enemy of my enemy’ mindset, as with the Indian man who told me that by attacking Britain in WW2, Germany helped to bring down the British Empire and therefore to foster India’s independence. Because Germany lost its few colonies after WW1, and the monstrous crimes it committed afterwards, its imperial past is being less remembered than that of other European powers. That may help in some situations.

  21. I think this open letter to Hitler from an Egyptian daily speaks volumes.

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