January 8, 2015
In 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini put a price on author Salmon Rushdie’s head. Rushdie wasn’t wanted “dead or alive.” Khomeini wanted Rushdie dead. I don’t know what the original price tag was for one dead author, but as of 2013, the price on Rushdie’s head was over 3 million pounds.
The Ayatollah is gone. The prices on artists’ heads are not.
In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot dead on a busy Amsterdam street. The first bullet took Theo off his bicycle. He tried to make it across the street. Theo’s murderer followed him on foot and shot him again. Then Theo’s murderer slashed Theo’s throat and stuck a letter to his chest with a knife. Theo was 47 years old. His crime was a short fiction film aired on Dutch public television depicting a Muslim woman’s difficulties in an arranged marriage.
In 2005, Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s drawing of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban put him on Islam’s hit list. There have been multiple attempts to murder Kurt. He lives in a home rivaling a Brinks security office and under police protection to this day.
Also in 2005, Danish publication Jyllands-Posten’s former editors Carsten Juste and Flemming Rose made the hit list – for publishing Westergaard’s drawing.
In 2006, Swedish artist Lars Vilks made Islam’s hit list. He, like Rushdie and Wetergaard, is still alive. He sleeps with an axe by his bed.
In 2010, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker received death threats for their depiction of Muhammad in a bear suit in their animated cartoon. They were assured they too were on the road to Theo van Gogh’s fate. A photo of Theo with his throat slit and a knife in his chest was attached just to make things festive. The South Park guys are still breathing. Probably because stations caved and censored a lot of the episode.
In 2010, in response to the South Park threats, Seattle artist Molly Norris, who worked for a Seattle paper, publicly suggested an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” Molly received so may death threats she quit her job, fled Seattle, and changed her name. As far as I know, she’s still in FBI protective custody.
In 2011, the Paris offices of satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed, forcing the publication to move after its offices were destroyed. Editor Stephane Charbonnier, you guessed it, was on Islam’s hit list. Had been for a while, fending off litigation and death threats. Charlie Hebdo’s crime? A few satirical and not particularly tasteful cartoons featuring Muhammad.
Apparently Muhammad seriously does not have a sense of humor because In 2015, armed men stormed Charlie Hebdo’s new Paris offices with automatic weapons and shot Stephane Charbonnier and 11 other people dead.
There is now an Al Queada Most Wanted poster being passed around the internet showing Charbonnier’s face struck out in red.
Think about that. These murderers, these serial murderers, don’t just keep little photos of their victims to themselves they can cross your face off of. They put your photo on the fucking internet. With a big red X through it.
THAT is fucking blaspheme.
The above is the short list. There are more.
And that’s a long time span.
17 years. For 17 years, artists, filmmakers, satirists, journalists, comics, authors, editors, gallery owners have been threatened, attacked, murdered in the name of defending the honor of a man who heard voices in a cave and has been dead for 1500 years. In Switzerland. Sweden. The US. France. Denmark. All over the fucking globe, artists are targeted, intimidated, threatened, and murdered.
A few bad apples, I am told. Most of Islam is not like that, I am told. Most Muslims are just nice people trying to go about their daily lives, I am told.
You know what a few bad apples are? The Unibomber. He was a bad apple, with a couple buddy bad apples.
This is a fucking orchard.
It’s time to burn that orchard down.
The Silencing of Theo van Gogh
FBI Warns Seattle Cartoonist About Threats
Salman Rushdie bounty increased amid anti-Islam film controversy
Al-Qaida’s ‘dead artist club’
Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier crossed off chilling al-Qaeda hitlist
Swedish Police Hide Threatened Cartoonist
Seattle Cartoonist in Hiding After Death Threats
The Danish Cartoonist Who Survived An Axe Attack
Jihad Against Danish Newspaper
South Park censored after threat of fatwa over Muhammad episode
France manhunt: Police raid homes, arrest several suspects after Charlie Hebdo massacre
Paris Killers Got Wrong Door Before ‘Decapitating’ Magazine
Satirical Magazine Is Firebombed in Paris
June 2, 2014
Martinez, 20: Christopher was looking forward to studying abroad in London.
George Chen, 19: Everyone who ever met George remembered his smile. He planned to work at Lockheed Martin.
Cheng Yuan Hong, 20: Cheng studied computer science and during science competitions stopped to help other teams keep up.
Katie Cooper, 22: Katie’s Facebook page says, “When in doubt, choose love.”
Veronika Weiss, 19: Veronica was a water polo champion making straight A’s in math.
Weihan David Wang, 20: Weihan planned to spend the summer with his parents.
Weihan won’t be spending the summer with his parents.
Elliot Rodger murdered Christopher, George, Cheng, Katie, Veronica, and Weihan on May 23rd, 2014.
If we remember names when we remember May 23rd in Isla Vista California, those names should be Christopher, George, Cheng, Katie, Veronica, and Weihan.
August 10, 2012
In grammar school. His name was Joey. He wore shit clothes. Horrible cast off clothes. Like corduroy coats. He was a foster kid. He was tiny. Smaller than other boys. He wore bad glasses. Big rimmed glasses that probably came off the cheapest ugliest conveyor line of glasses ever. He was always nice though. Polite. He smiled at me sometimes. The world handed him the ugliest set of circumstances and he was still nice and still had a nice smile and I had no idea how that worked.
And those shit logging town boys used to wait for him. On the playground. On the path. Everywhere on his way home. They’d wait and they’d outrun him and they’d beat him up.
I stopped them once. I don’t know why I was on the same route that day, but I was, and it pissed me off. Seeing them picking on this kid because he wore an ugly corduroy coat and ugly glasses. Ugly shoes too. And he was too little to fight back and there were a bunch of them and only one of him. There was nothing this kid had to wear that didn’t set him up as a target.
There is this thing that happens among kids. This preying on the weak. Joey was weak. And I was angry and I stepped in there and yelled and they let him go.
That didn’t make us friends. He was sort of humiliated a girl saved him and didn’t smile much at me after. Also I have no freaking clue why, when I yelled, people stopped and listened. It’s not like I came from the right side of the tracks either. But when I got mad? People backed off. Even a pack of over hyped we’re-about-to-give-an-ass-whooping logger town boys backed off. And they let him go that day.
They didn’t let him go other days though. I wasn’t there other days. And one day Joey was gone. It didn’t work out at his foster home.
I’m thinking about Joey because of this story my friend Kym posted. About this kid. He got picked up in Northern California. Wanted for stabbing his step father to death. The kid is the step-son in a house with three younger sons who all belong to the dad. He’s little, like Joey. And at the age of twenty, he backed into a kitchen, said don’t come any closer, and when Step Dad did, the kid stabbed him. And the step-dad died. And the kid ran.
And his grandfather is telling him to turn himself in. Really, Grampa? That’s your back up plan?
They just picked Zachary Price up in Northern California and are shipping him back to Texas.
They have the death penalty in Texas.
And now I am thinking about Joey.
September 20, 2011
In Florida. I was already tired when Jamie said, Hey, let’s swim out. I said I was tired. I had been in the water a long time already. I had just come in. But I was the only swimmer in the group and Jamie needed a partner. Jamie said, We’ll just swim out to the sandbar. You can stand up out there. I said, How far? He pointed. It wasn’t that far. Maybe a half mile. I said, Sure, I can do that. So off we went.
And we got a half mile out. And —
Natch, the right thing to do was keep going, right? Keep swimming out for the sandbar? It couldn’t be much further and I was pretty tired and didn’t want to swim a half mile back without a break. Well probably not the right thing to do. But that is what we did. We kept going.
I know what a mile is because in high school I used to run around a football field that was exactly a quarter mile per lap. I ran that football field lap a lot — I got in trouble a lot. [That was before the knees quit on me forever.] I figure we did another six times around that football field, out in the ocean, looking for that sandbar. And still —
So there we were way out in the ocean. And I mean way out, we were probably about two miles out at this point. And THEN we headed back.
By now I was beyond really tired. It is one of those stupid things, like you want a towel that just fell on the floor but you are too lazy to lean down to pick it up so you think you will just pick it up with your toes? [Yay! No leaning required!] Only by the fifth or sixth time you drop it trying to pick it up with your toes, you would have saved yourself the time and effort if you’d just leaned down and picked the towel up in the first place? This doesn’t kill anyone in the bathroom — well, not often, anyway. But it does kill people in open water in the ocean.
We stopped to tread water and I said, Jamie, you are going to have to go back and tell David you drowned me. [I was kind of pissed about the whole drowning thing and wanted him to know he was going to suffer for it. He was too, David would be more pissed. Also, David was the boyfriend who would one day die a passenger in Jamie’s car — this was not the first or last time Jamie would be reckless with another person’s well being.] Jamie said, No, Max, I’ll pull you in. He meant it, too. Jamie was good hearted, if reckless. [Jamie died in the same accident with David.] But Jamie was struggling too. There was no way. We would both die. So I lied. I said I could make it. And he pretended to believe me.
We started swimming again.
I was numb. Cold. Couldn’t feel my arms or legs. I kept telling them to move. And they sort of did. But not enough. Not like they were supposed to. I was getting slower. And slower. Swimming forward was just staying in place. And it was getting easier to just stop.
Then I saw the sailboat.
It is amazing how much energy you find when you are ready to die and see something you can reach. The shore? No way in hell. But that boat? I stroked a collision course for that boat.
When I grabbed a line on the boat the guy on the boat was kind of surprised. He was just some tourist with his wife and two kids, probably not that great a sailor, just ambling along keeping the shore in sight in a rented little sailboat he probably didn’t have a lot of business being on. But who was I to judge? I didn’t have a lot of business being this far from shore tired out of my mind ready to drown. Probably he was not just surprised that I caught his boat, but that two people were stupid enough to be out this far too. And he looked like he really wanted me to let go of his boat. I said, Listen, I’m going to drown, you have to pull us in to shore. [By now Jamie was hanging onto his boat too so Boat Guy was getting really uncomfortable and starting to look around like maybe more arms were going to appear out of the sea and grab his boat.] And he said —
I can’t. The rules say we can only have four people on the boat.
Okay. Think about this. Someone in the middle of the ocean [okay not the MIDDLE, but you get the gist, we’re a freaking mile out] just told you she is going to die if you do not help her, and you are thinking about whether or not to help because of “the rules.” [Which by the way, in the sea are, you fucking save her.] Because, um, you might not get your deposit back.
I said, Listen, I don’t need to get on the boat, I just need you to pull us in to shore.
He was still having probs with the situation.
I said, I’ll pay your deposit.
[It was three hundred dollars. To live. Not a problem!]
I said, You get, if you don’t pull us in to shore, we are going to die?
Which is when I said, If you don’t pull us in to shore, I am going to capsize your boat.
So he pulled us in to shore.
On Facebook some of us were talking about this situation in Texas on Highway I-45. Almost thirty women were murdered — and more than that went missing.
The one that really got me was the twelve year old’s headless body dumped in a pond.
A guy friend on Facebook said, If you have to take that route, get a permit to carry.
I said, You don’t need a permit to carry. Only to carry legally.
And I remembered that guy on that boat. That guy so worried about the rules he was going to leave two people in the ocean to drown.
June 12, 2009
I am not posting today.
I want you to read something else instead :
Death at the Holocaust Museum and the Degradation of the American Dialogue
~ by Michael Rowe
Ann Coulter, the self-described “conservative Christian” right-wing talking head, is much on my mind as I contemplate the horrifying images that came out of Washington from the Holocaust Museum, where white supremacist James von Brunn opened fire in an attempted mass-murder of Jews. His killing spree was cut short by security guard Stephen Tyrone Jones who put himself in the line of fire and died so others might live.
I am remembering an October 2007 segment of the Donny Deutsch Show where Coulter asserted that America would be better off if everyone was Christian and that “the Jews” merely needed to be “perfected” through conversion.
*interestingly i do not think it has occurred to coulter if her postulations are correct that means christians all just need to be perfected through conversion to islam — mohammed was the prophet/messiah following on jesus’ heels after all
*do not skip :::more:::