The backlash following Everybody Draw Muhammad Day has begun. The Facebook page for “Everybody draw Holocaust day” is, as I post this, “liked” by 1,271 people.
And, well, obviously they’re all entirely welcome to draw pictures of the Holocaust happening, or not happening. They’re certainly free to highlight the other genocidal atrocities in recent human history that don’t get as much attention, even if they want to throw a distinctly anti-Semitic slant on it. But it’s clear that it’s little more than a petty foot-stomping tantrum in response to people’s religious sensibilities being offended. The page description begins:
The difference is that you draw Lies about Muhammad and we draw Truth about you.
What does a drawing of a lie about Muhammad look like? Was my drawing a lie because he wasn’t really that skinny? The only statement made about Muhammad by most of the pictures drawn of him is that religious zealots don’t get to impose their own laws on the rest of us. People have been killed over this issue, and so we’re making a stand for our free speech by defiantly publishing pictures that some people don’t want us to. Nobody’s lying about anything, and you have to be pitiably thin-skinned to take it that way.
It’s a shame it’s so wacky, because in places they have a germ of a point. These people should have the right to question the accepted historical narrative of the Holocaust, however batshit insane and culturally offensive the way they go about it. In one of the group’s photo albums, there’s a snapshot of this Wikipedia page, which lists various notable convictions that have been made against people for the crime of Holocaust denial in parts of Europe. People have been fined thousands of Euros and imprisoned for years for expressing what I can only assume are their honest beliefs. It’s such an offensive opinion that people don’t even want to have to hear it.
And that is wrong. But the message is getting lost in a wave of anger and indignation against the people who have caused a different kind of offense against Muhammad. The way the founded of the group sees it, “[t]he secularist world proudly parades and legitimizes” this unfair punishment. By recounting it on Wikipedia, apparently.
So, yeah. The remedy for bad speech continues to be more speech, rather than silence. And religious fundamentalists continue not to understand anything.