Friday, November 30

The strange case of Gillian Gibbons: sometimes it takes the actions of a dolt to clarify a situation

Thousands of protesters, many brandishing clubs and swords, took to the streets of Sudan’s capital Friday, demanding the execution of a British teacher who let her students name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, was found guilty Thursday of insulting Islam and sentenced to 15 days in jail. She was spared the more serious punishment of 40 lashes.

That angered many in Khartoum, who rallied in Martyrs Square outside the presidential palace. Protesters waved sticks, knives, axes and swords.

“Kill her, kill her by firing squad!” they chanted. “No tolerance, execution!” (1)

"Ms Gibbons’s son, John, 25. a marketing consultant, told the Daily Mail the family was struggling to take in the punishment. He said: "It’s really difficult at the moment, my head is everywhere. I don’t want the verdict to lead to any anti feeling towards Muslims.

"Everyone has been very nice, but one of my fears, and I imagine my mother’s also, will be that this results in any sort of resentment towards Muslim people." (2)

Let us be clear. It is an insult to idiots to brand Gillian as such; she is simply a dolt. When you see that a government is carrying out genocide, this is not the place to take yourself for a mission to spread happy feelings -- not without an army at your back, or at the least a thorough understanding of the situation you're walking into.

One Sudanese cleric demanding Gillian's execution called her "arrogant." There is a kind of arrogance about Gillian's attitude -- as if the Sudanese Muslims can be petted and stroked into tameness, in the manner of the now-famous photograph of her petting a leopard.

But Gillian's escapade in Sudan most reflects the arrogance of the British government, which bends over backward to pander to the "sensitivities" of Muslims. Yet the situation is clearly not about religious sensitivities. It's about a primitive and repressive form of government.

That it's not Sudan's government calling for Gillian's execution is beside the point. The Islamist government in Khartoum brands Gillian's action a crime, so it's only a difference in interpretation as to the severity of the punishment.

When one considers that Gillian's crime was to allow small children to name a toy "Muhammad," the question is how apologists for Islamic government think there is some way to come to terms with barbarism.

1) New York Daily News

2) London Times Online

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