After watching the below interview with Kurt Westergaard I thought it might be fruitful to explain the deeper meaning of the turban-bomb cartoon to an international audience, and follow some of the implications this have for an interpretation of the drawing. After all, that turban-bomb is slowly becoming a symbol of western resistance to the ongoing islamisation of our culture. In the first part of the interview James Cohen - a blogger from The International Free Press Society website - asks what the west accomplished by embarking on the policy of appeasement during the mo-toon crisis. It then occurred to me that atleast one of the outcomes of this policy. was that no one even dared explain to muslims, why the cartoon is funny. In fact nobody even tried to explain the joke to the rest of the world, in fear of stepping on the toes of muslims. This has made it hard for foreigners to understand, how that bomb got into Mo' s turban in the first place. I guess the truth is really the first victim of war.
In various interviews Kurt Westergaard repeatedly stated that he "wanted to express, how some extremists use the Quran as their spiritual ammonition." But as any dane can hear, this answer is not entirely honest, it seems somewhat retrofitted to the crisis scenarios after consulting the danish intelligence agency, who also handles Kurt Westergaards security on a daily basis.
First of all it is impportant to know, that the turban-bomb is essentially a play on a danish expression. If someone suddenly and unexpectedly becomes very fortunate, the danes say "He got an orange in his turban" or "an orange has fallen into his turban". This expression goes bach to the danish author Adam Oehlenschläger who in 1805 wrote a version of "Aladdin" as a versed drama (-Ala ad-din, litterally "the nobility of the faith). The reason that this expression made its way into everyday language was probably that a very influencial litterary critic named Georg Brandes took the tale of Aladdin as a symptom of cultural failure, where happiness and succes came about without any effort and hard labour on behalf of the recipient. All you had to do was to rub a lamp, and a djinn would appear and do all the hard work for you. In contrast Georg Brandes was inspired by Nietzsches cultural ideal of the Blonde Beast, and used Oehlenschlägers Aladdin to illustrtate his progressive points. What triggered this condemnation is clear from the mystic song leading the sorcerer to the lamp
'Tis ever thus, that Fortune freely hails
Her favourite, and on him her blessings showers
Even as to heaven the scented flower exhales
Unwoo'd she comes, at unexpected hours;
And little it avails to rack thy brain
And ask, where lurk her long reluctant powers
Fain wouldst thou grasp - Hopes portal shuts amain
And all thy fabric vanishes in air;
Unless foredoomed by Fate, thy toils are vain
Thy aspirations doomed to meet despair
From these verses the sorcerer realises, that he has to find the boy suited for the task of retrieving the lamp in a play of chance, not by seeking the most fit. In the book Alladin is walking down the street with some friends, and they gather in front of the sorcerers window, because he once a day throws out three oranges to the children. Aladdin catches both the first and the second orange, and as the other children are holding him down, to keep him from getting the last one, it lands in his turban. This incident is dramatically important, because it convinces the sorcerer that Aladdin is the boy he needs. In other words that orange is what destines aladdin to the wonderful lamp, the empress and all the fortune and palaces.
Given this context it is clear why the turban bomb is not just an evil heartless cartoon intended to "hurt one billion muslims". It actually conveys a message. It seems to say, - that of all gods children Muhammad got jinxed. He got "war" instead of "wealth".
For a dane this is funny because usually when people get something in their turban it is associated with happiness and fortune, rather the opposite of an ignited bomb. This is what humor psychologists refer to as "incongruency," which is thought to precede laughter. Furthermore the idea of a bomb landing in Muhammad's turban without him realising it, complies with the humorous figure of the "stroke of bad luck" and places him in a state of ignorance incapable of thinking about anything alse except the shahada written on the front of the bomb - All of which adds to the fun, of course.
Muslims cannot understand this joke, because they live in a culture where people who carry a bomb in their clothings usually put it there themselves in order to blow themselves up along with everone else around them, in the path of Allah. A culture where schoolchildren are taught that Allah, the creator of the universe, told Muhammad, that this is the way to go. Thus the bomb is not placed in the turban by the whims of Allah as a stroke of bad luck - it is put there to praise him.
Thanks to vladtepesblog for editing this wonderful little interview