Saturday, April 19, 2008

The difference...

This blog poses a challenge: Spot the difference!

Four frames.

From the left:

Three front-page pictures show:

The first, a futuristic vision of what European capitals may look like in the future, with mosques competing for domination of the skyline with such European monuments as the Eiffel Tower and the leaning tower of Pisa.

The second: a map of West Europe with the Islam symbol of crescent and star in red emblazoned upon it.

The third: two photos showing very religious observant Muslims in London.

The forth: a huge gold Star of David, balancing its axial sharp edge by piercing into a small square of the Union Jack.

The difference?

The first three represent a reality in which Muslims live in London, legally, while adhering to their traditional ways, build mosques, expand their sphere of influence throughout Europe. The suggestions being that Muslims are increasingly gaining power and influencing the visual shape of European cities and all over.

The fourth frame is a rather stark juxtaposition between symbols. No human beings, no cultural environment, and no context. The Jews are denoted as a giant, metallic, sharp-edged symbol, cast in gold, menacingly driving a stake through the very core of Britain. Note the relative size of the Star and the Union Jack.

I suspect that the aim of the exercise was to show that there is no difference between Islamophobia and antisemitism.

However, I think this shows exactly how there is a difference between the two. While the fear of Muslim increasing power is shown by means of maps, people, and landscapes, the fear of Jewish power is abstracted into an almost surreal simplicity. No visual facts are provided, as they are provided in the other three.

To simplify: It’s like comparing a recorded event in which a handful of British jihadists blew up a subway station and the medieval myth of the blood libel, in which Jews murder little Christian kids in order to use their blood for their ritual food preparation.

The difference is in the effect that a well-known, ancient frightening myth has on people, as opposed to measurable and verifiable reality. One is esoteric, arcane, secretive. The other is declarative. One is insidious, invisible, working its evil by deception and shape-shifting. The other is open, known, knowable, and therefore ultimately controlable.

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