WOULD you stand by and do nothing if you came across a woman being raped?
What would you think of the man holding down the defenseless woman to make it easier for the rapist to carry out his evil deed? And what would you think if you saw a group of other men standing by watching the whole grotesque event, but doing nothing to stop the attack? As you survey their sweaty, contorted faces, you suddenly notice one is even capturing the whole event on film while another is whistling a tune. There is another angry-looking man, but he is pointing accusingly at the victim as she is being attacked while another is goading the rapist and encouraging him in his vile act.
Would you be able to live with yourself afterwards if you did nothing to help?
I like to think that you would do something to stop the rape --either by picking up your cell phone and calling 911, hollering "help" as loudly as you can, or maybe by hitting or attacking the rapist. Personally, if I came across such an attack and was armed, I'd blow the rapist's brains out.
I was actually e-mailed a cartoon of what I've just described. I think it was supposed to induce a wry grin, maybe a faint chuckle or a couple of guffaws. Instead, it provoked a train of thought which ended with a sigh and a shake of the head in total dismay. The metaphor was blindingly obvious. The young, defenseless maiden is almost certainly Palestine, but if you want you can substitute Palestine for Iraq or even Iran. Those gathering around at the table are obviously the belly-dancing Arab leaders to which I often refer, who dance and sway and entertain America while delivering whatever tasty morsels are demanded on a plate to the US. The cartoon is obscene, but it is compelling because it is simply telling the truth -an awful, horrible analogy of the situation in the Middle East today. The rapist, by the way, is dressed as a US soldier.
I love satire and irony, especially when it is done through clever caricatures, cartoons and comedians. The secret of a great cartoon is one which rips ruthlessly into foreign powers, political figures or dictators who seize public platforms and shamelessly hog the limelight. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and when it is being wielded by a talented artist, it can deliver its target straight into the 'laughing stocks,' without mercy. But, as we saw from the Danish cartoons -which were of an appalling quality, it is not funny when you target individuals simply because of their skin color or faith. When a gifted cartoonist hits the spot, naturally the image will literally zoom around the world courtesy of cyberspace. Such an image is winging its way into email inboxes at the moment, but the irony is so bitter I doubt if it will make you laugh. You can view it on the website http://www.mahjoob.com.
The site has been set up by Abu Mahjoob Creative Productions (AMCP), which says it aims to condense and encapsulate human communication to raise public awareness, deliver a message or simply tell a story in the most striking and effective manner. The agency was set up in 1999 using the signature "Abu Mahjoob," --a creation of AMCP's co-founder and creative director Emad Hajjaj. The name Abu Mahjoob, which literally translates "father of the hidden," reveals so much by pretending to hide it. It plays reverse psychology, subtle conclusion and a cynical sense of humor to make the reality of life around us even more somber and striking than ever. I only wish the Arab leaders would look. I wonder if that Egyptian butcher Hosni Mubarak would recognise himself. He is a vile man who will sacrifice and deliver his people on a plate to the Bush gang. Of course I can spot the Khalijee kings and despots alongside the right royal hypocrites of Jordan, Morocco, and Tunisia. And let's not forget those who are occupying the Arabian Peninsula; they are all depicted in this grotesque parody of life in the Middle East.
And what are we, as the Ummah, doing? Most of us are standing from a safe distance watching the watchers. I wonder what that makes us.