Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's not over yet...

Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia, known by all of us as a source of information, is refusing (rightfull) to remove medieval artistic depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, despite being flooded with complaints from Muslims demanding the images be deleted.

More than 180,000 worldwide have joined an online protest claiming the images, shown on European-language pages and taken from Persian and Ottoman miniatures dating from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, 'are offensive to Islam', which prohibits any representation of Muhammad. But the defiant editors of the encyclopaedia insist they will not bow to pressure and say anyone objecting to the controversial images can simply adjust their computers so they do not have to look at them.

The images at the centre of the protest appear on most of the European versions of the web encyclopaedia, though not on Arabic sites.

On two of the images, Muhammad's face is veiled, a practice followed in Islamic art since the 16th century. But on two others, one from 1315, which is the earliest surviving depiction of the prophet, and the other from the 15th century, his face is shown.

Some idiots are claiming the pictures have been posted simply to 'bait' and 'insult' Muslims and argue the least Wikipedia can do is blur or blank out the faces. I can not even imagine that these fools are making 'demands', together with threats...

In one of its adverse reactions, Wikipedia has been forced to set up a separate page on its site explaining why it refuses to bow to pressure and has also had to set up measures to block people from 'editing' the pages themselves.

Modern and mythless: Turkey today

Zafer Senocak looks at the mythological vacuum in a Turkey that remains divorced from its past.

Early in the 20th century in the Ottoman Empire, young writers and intellectuals – people like
Yahya Kemal (1884-1958) and Yakup Kadri (1889-1974) – debated the possible mythological content and references of a Turkish culture which was reshaping itself with an eye on the West.
Ottoman history had nothing comparable to Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment eras.

Phenomena such as the French Revolution were viewed from afar, with a good deal of scepticism. There was no such thing as a translating facility which might have transmitted works of European literature and philosophy. There was a dense cultural barrier between the Ottoman Empire and the Western world.
But around the mid-19th century the Turkish intelligentsia began casting its eye with increasing curiosity on Europe, particularly on France. A hunger for new ideas overcame the centuries of lethargy and self-containment.
That is how far back the roots of Turkey's orientation towards the West go.
Social reforms in the Empire were the harbinger of a cultural revolution which was to be completed half a century later by Mustafa Kemal, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

Most reform-minded Turkish writers were quite aware that a modernisation of their nation's culture could not be based solely on contemporary dynamics, but also – and always – on old traditions and mythological sources of inspiration, that is to say, on the foundations of the Turkish imagination. There was a search for a fundamental mythology as a source of inspiration for modernisation. comtinue here

Day Opening - February 23