Non-Reaction to Cartoons

Feb 16th, 2006, in News, by

Early reactions on the first Muhammad cartoon issue were muted.

Some background to the Indonesian media situation and the reaction to the cartoon controversy by John McBeth of the Straits Times, http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=39280. One of his premises, "But the fact that an error of judgment in a country as far removed and inoffensive as tiny Denmark could trigger such a reaction in Indonesia" is shaky given that the vast majority of Indonesians have not reacted at all to the matter.

While it is natural for news outlets and people in general to focus on events and dramatic happenings, as we have done here, with the protests, publishing of the cartoons by some newspapers, more protests, Denmark going weak at the knees, and boycotts, it needs to be made clear that in most cases, like this one, nothing has happened for most people, nothing has changed, the cartoons have actually aroused little interest or response from the colossal majority of Indonesian Muslims and the organisers of the demonstrations, mainly fanatical fringe groups, have failed to muster much of a crowd for any of their events. Out of a population of about 200 million Muslims the biggest demonstration saw 1000 people attend, hardly mass movement stuff.


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