Cartoon Jihad: Symptomatic of an Emotional Culture
When you put a bunch of hysterical people together, it is no wonder that they turn to arson and rioting to express their anguish. And, they don’t hesitate to take out their hurt on anybody or property that they deem could be associated in some way with the object of their distress.
Egyptians recently attacked the offices of the ship that sank in the Red Sea:
Hundreds of relatives of passengers on a ferry that sank in the Red Sea attacked the offices of the ship's owners Monday, throwing furniture into the street and tearing down the company's sign. Riot police fired tear gas to restore order.
Family members also tried to storm a hospital in another port town after it displayed photographs of corpses retrieved from the sea. They wanted to get into the hospital morgue to see if their loved ones were there.
The widespread rioting over the Danish cartoons concerning the Prophet Mohammad is another good example of what happens when cultures allow high levels of public emotional display. The acceptability of the public emotion lessens personal restraint and facilitates violence. Naturally there are people who are able to manipulate the emotions of the masses. The latest is 11 & 16 dead in Libya and Nigeria respectively.
The high public emotional volatility may well be a regional cultural phenomenon. Muslims are now demonstrating in the U.S. but they are doing so with restraint. In New York:
Some of the protesters were assembling at noon with signs. The protest was organized by the Islamic Leadership Council, an alliance of more than 100 mosques and the organizers have assured us that the protests will be peaceful, unlike what we have been seeing in other parts of the world this week.
Apparently they were.
While in Pakistan:
In southern Pakistan today protesters were throwing rocks and wielding sticks. They took to the street and blocked a main highway. Dozens were detained and 125 arrested for violating a ban on these rallies, the crackdown following violent protests all week in which five people died and western businesses were andalized and burned.
The public emotionalism is another factor about the Middle East that the West needs to understand for friend or foe alike.