'Dry Bones': Row shows clash of civilizations

dry bones 298.88 (photo credit: Yaakov Kirschen )
dry bones 298.88
(photo credit: Yaakov Kirschen )
Amid the ongoing furious Muslim reaction to publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, Yaakov Kirschen, who draws the twice-weekly Jerusalem Post "Dry Bones" cartoons, said the affair highlights a head-on clash between Western and totalitarian civilizations. "Western civilization is based on protection and freedom of the individual," said Kirschen. "When we face a totalitarian civilization, what is important is not the protection of the individual but of the civilization itself with its basic concepts and beliefs." He said that the Western world's view of a cartoonist is someone who uses his right to express himself in whichever way he chooses, whereas in a totalitarian society that kind of freedom cannot be tolerated. Europe had been too fearful of the Islamic extremist movement and had tried to appease it rather than proudly supporting Christian or Jewish values, he said. Kirschen, who currently leads several categories, pending final declaration of the results, in Jerusalem Post-sponsored Jewish and Israeli Blog awards, described his cartoons as not being of an attacking nature. "My cartoons are designed to make someone laugh and through this laughter, which causes the person to drop his guard, I am able to change the individual's mind and to convince the reader to see things the way I do." Kirschen said he does not draw anything that would alienate the adherents of any religion or way of life. "I don't attack people to wound them," he stressed. "If I cause pain, it is a bad cartoon as it defeats my purpose as a cartoonist, which is to seduce rather than to offend."