Willem Velthoven

Media make normal people like me ANGRY

Actually, de Volkskrant had an exellent "comic war" analysis by green left MP Naima Azough. The image was put right above it. In all it's daemonising glory. A shouting islamic man in black religious dress directing his invisible followers towards the already burning building.

Unless you had read the caption of the same image in NRC the monday before...


AP image of burning Danish embassy in Beirut with shouting, gesturing religious leader in foreground. - At the bottom you see the captions of two very decent Dutch newspapers. The top one is from "de Volkskrant" it just says that it's a picture of muslim protest against Danish newspaper "Jyllands Posten" printing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. The second caption appeared 5 days before in an even more respectable newspaper frome the same publishing house, NRC Handelsblad. NRC's caption is suggesting that the religious leader in the foreground is trying to calm down…

The NRC caption explains that the religious leader in the foreground is trying to calm down rallying demonstrators. Thus acknowledging that not every muslim in Lebanon thinks and acts the same.

Actually, in the respected progressive newspaper de Volkskrant the same image was reproduced on the "Forum" page. That is the open discussion department of the paper. It is supposed to celebrate heterogeneous opinions.

Is it only an ironical coincidence that the simplified presentation of that AP photo crowns the piece of ms. Azough in de Volkskrant?

She argues that the cartoon row is just the next step away from dialogue. That regimes and media use the conflict for their own purposes. In the mean time christian cultures are reinforced in the idea that all muslims hate them and the other way around: the idea that the west is fundamentally anti-muslim creeps up on more and more people in islamic cultures.

The editors of de Volkskrant are proving ms. Azoughs point by their image choice and the way they caption. What's going on here? A live demo?

Actually, this (formerly catholic;-) newspaper is demonstrating involuntarily how media are part of the problem. Next to Naima Azough's piece there is another essay by Nahed Selim. Selim has some sensible observations but she projects them on all muslims systematically. Muslims should not think this and muslims should not do that. Quoting paragraphs from the Q'uran and base generalisations about more than a billion contemporary people on it.

How un-heterogeneous can you get?

Anyway, quoting a few lines from any big book to suggest anything about its readers is cheap rethorics. It's like quoting a few lines from the Bible as basis for generalisations about the editors of de Volkskrant: way too simple. Unresponsably simplistic.

I'm sure those christians can do better than this.