From the New York Times Week in Review Section, an interesting article exploring the intensity of Arab rage over European cartoons. The article's author, Michael Slackman, links much of the rage to the frustration of many Muslims in Middle Eastern countries who lack the ability to participate in the political system as well as the lack of response to multiple accidents (such as the recent example of an Egyptian ferry with 1400 passengers sinking in the Red Sea). From the article:
But in the coincidence of the two events, there is a clue to a dynamic that has played out in this region for many years: Leaders often call attention to external enemies — most often the Israelis — as a device to allow their own subjects to blow off steam. The anger itself is almost always home grown.
The crisis over the cartoons has often been portrayed as a clash in values between the Muslim and Western worlds, focusing on issues of free expression and respect for other cultures.
But that crisis and the ferry sinking also reflect another difference in perspective. While the West speaks of democracy and freedom, Muslims here tend to speak of justice. There is widespread feeling that the region's governments deny their people justice, and this feeling has been instrumental in the increased support for Islamists throughout the Middle East, whether the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or Hamas among the Palestinians.
Click here to read the full article.
For more on this topic and to see a timeline of events dealing with the protests of the cartoons, click here.