A Bad Year For Journalists – But A Good One For Sand?

Thanks in large part to the war in Iraq, 2006 was the deadliest year for journalists in a decade, according to a report from Reporters Without Borders. Eighty-one journalists and media staffers were killed worldwide, 65 of them in Iraq.

The report also says that the international community did little to protect imperiled journalists during the Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy. "It was as if, fearing a fight with Arab and Muslim regimes, Europe, for one, renounced all desire to make itself heard," argues the report. Perhaps those who gave up their voices were simply following the lead of the people of South Park. After the jump, an excerpt from the "Cartoon Wars" episode, in which the townspeople discuss what to do about the fact that a cartoon plans to show an image of Muhammad:

Prof. Thomas: We bury our heads. In sand. We take twenty to twenty-five dump trucks, fill them with sand from Monarch Lake, and then dump the sand along South Park Avenue. By using approximately eighteen dozen shovels, we can each dig a hole in the sand, stick our heads in the holes, and then have the person to our left bury them. If we can manage to get every person's head buried deep, deep in sand before the Muhammad episode airs, we could avoid looking like we're responsible for any part of this at all.

Stephen: No, no, wait a minute, it's ridiculous. What we need to do is just the opposite. Freedom of speech is at stake here, don't you all see? If anything, we should ALL make cartoons of Muhammad, and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want! Look, people, it's... been real easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades we haven't had to risk anything to defend it. But those times are going to come! And one of those times is right now. And if WE... aren't willing to RISK... what we have, then we just believe in free speech, but we don't defend it.

Randy: I like the sand idea.

Mr. Mackey: Yeah, me too.

Gerald: Yeah. The sand thing sounds a lot simpler.

Mayor McDaniels: We're gonna need eight dozen shovels and sixteen tons of sand! Let's move, people!