If you haven’t sniggered, burped or laughed at the recent Zapiro-Muslim cartoon debacle then you probably had a very pleasant weekend. Other citizens with real jobs, like the Mail & Guardian crew, fielded threats all morning on Friday from irate Muslims incensed by Zapiro’s latest offering depicting their Prophet as a psycho-case needing therapy for his humourless followers.
It didn’t take long before the responses hit the street, or the web. Calls for boycotting a R20 paper, which no one can usually find in most parts of the country, spammed email, SMS and BlackBerry inboxes that soon there would be no Zapiro, only Zuul.
You really need to watch Ghost Busters again.
Anyway, as the shoot-out at OK Corral ensued, Nic Dawes cited freedom poetry as he paraded on a stallion called expression, and Muslims circled the laager like clumsy natives drenched in wet gunpowder.
Back in the suburbs, the self-declared Muslim leadership brushed their teeth and waxed their underarms as they prepared to meet the infidels and negotiate a peaceful solution.
But the debate had started.
The Mail & Guardian and Zapiro defended their right to offend in the name of freedom of speech, and you can access those reports here or here. Meanwhile, the literary knives were drawn, with award-winning writer Hamish Hoosen Pillay drawing first blood, followed by the popular editor of the Al-Huda magazine Khadija Patel, and Cape Town-based journalist Sayed Dhansay completing a balanced analysis. David Bullard offered a typically bludgeoning column while Nic Price and Martha Stewart offered precious little to the debate.
Throughout the weekend, the self-declared Muslim leadership stroked their beards as they met with mostly themselves, forming new forums; creating new power structures to move forward as they searched for new portfolios to preen their CVs.
Between the diplomatic shenanigans of an opportunistic few, brought to earth to defend the beloved, others searched for more artistic ways to deal with the evil anti-Zionist cartoonist, whose name we shall never mention from this moment on.
But theirs was not an intention to retaliate or scratch a couple of puerile lines in assembling an unholy attack on satire.
Their cartoons represent all the voices drowned out by the din made by conflated egos defending libertarian expression or holy Prophets for reasons mostly self-satiating.
Zuhayra te Water Naude