Thursday, March 20, 2008

A veiled Muslim view of art
by Bashir Goth
18 March 2008
The reappearance in the media of the Danish cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, following the arrest of three Muslims accused of planning to kill one of the cartoonists, has re-opened the debate on art and freedom of expression between the West and the Muslim world.

It is unfortunate that violent demonstrations in different parts of the Muslim world in response to such types of artistic expression have often overshadowed the opinion of the silent majority of Muslims who do not adhere to such a limited perception of Islam.

Danish newspapers described their publication of the cartoons as a sign of protest against the attempt by Muslims to gag their freedom of expression through fear tactics. Many people in the Muslim world, however, viewed the cartoons as an affront to their religious beliefs and expressed their anger through emotional outbursts and mob demonstrations.

READ MORE in Commongroundnews

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

U.S. All Talk and No Action on Human Rights
By Bashir Goth
The Current Discussion: The U.S. State Dept. says China's no longer one of the world's worst human rights offenders. Are they right?

Does it matter, one might ask, whether the U.S spills tons of ink accusing China of all kinds of human rights violations or absolves China of any wrongdoing at all? For many years, the U.S. State Dept. was criticizing many countries, including China, for their human rights records. Most of these countries, however, knew that the U.S. human rights reports were just like the boy who cried wolf. Leveling criticism without accompanying it with punitive action makes such reports meaningless.

The U.S. had listed China as one of the worst human rights offenders due to China’s oppression of the Tibetans and Uyghurs, its shackling of the will of the Taiwanese for 60 years, its torture of political dissidents and its degradation of human dignity in child labor and sweatshops. Despite all that, America still continued all these years to renew China’s most-favored-nation trading status. Now China has launched its worst repression campaign against the Tibetan people just after America dropped it from the human rights offenders list. That appears to be a divine ritribution for the U.S. issuing such an unwarranted clean bill.

The U.S. State Dept. also repeatedly criticizes many of its Middle Eastern friends for their dismal human rights records. But some of these countries remain as major recipients of U.S. aid.

READ MORE in Newsweek/WashingtonPost-Postglobal.