Here’s the original, and the new.

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Discussion (61)¬

  1. DocAtheist says:

    Too perfect. It still got a laugh out of me, tragic and disturbing as it is. Well done, Author.

  2. Undeluded says:

    One of the greatest punchlines I’ve ever encountered!

  3. Geo_rich says:

    Not cool, pretty bad taste

  4. FreeFox says:

    @Geo_rich: Exactly. Just like the original. ^_^

  5. Spot on, Aside from the obvious extremeist side – it’s a faith that’s starting to implode – you only need to see Baseem Yousef’s inteview with either John Stewart or Huffington Post, to realise that people like the Muslim Brotherhood, will happily accuse someone of their own Faith as “not being Muslim enough”, if they feel that you’re not in agreement with them & what they say.
    So the flag update, makes it more of an “equal opportunity of attack” version. You may want to copyright that design now, before they use it.

  6. HaggisForBrains says:

    Wow! I was unaware of the original flag until now. This new one simply emphasises the true meaning of the original. Take care, Author, even lowering it to half-mast is considered blasphemy.

  7. steeve says:

    How so blasphemy? As a tool for inflicting damage upon a body, I think it’s just as effective. It’s not blasphemy if it’s true.

  8. Wow. [shudder]

    I wasn’t aware of the Saudi flag either, I’m embarrassed to say. UGH.

    Well done, Auth.

  9. Dalai Llama says:

    When it comes to a flag showdown, none can beat the Welsh:
    “What shall we have on our flag? Pretty colours like the other countries?”
    “Screw that, let’s go with a motherf***ing DRAGON!”

    Though I’m also quite partial to the sheer ‘evil empire’ vibe of the Albanian effort.

  10. Ron Murphy says:

    More on the flag at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Saudi_Arabia. As HaggisForBrains points out, it’s a dangerous business messing with their flag. The football issue is laughable.

  11. max says:

    Straight to the point. Well done!

  12. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Arab spring seed spreads
    It has grown and flowered
    The fields turn blood red.

  13. Pappy McFae says:

    Apostasy is always fun until the beheadings start.

  14. Geordie says:

    Very bad taste given the circumstances. Taking the piss out of muslim and christian retards is one thing but insulting the memory of a British soldier is quite another.
    Subscription withdraw pending retraction and published apology.

  15. DocAtheist says:

    @Geordie, the way I read it, the British soldier’s memory is not insulted. Rather, the insult is against those who attacked him. They did wield butcher knives, didn’t they? Author’s cartoon, with laser focus, highlights the brutality of the attackers.

  16. Ali A. Rizvi says:

    Brilliant. I grew up in Riyadh, and wrote about that experience a few years ago. At the end of the piece I addressed this very exact thing about the Saudi flag. They say it’s a religion of peace, yet throw a sword right under the religious declaration.

    (Here’s my article for those interested: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ali-a-rizvi/how-we-all-bow-to-the-sau_b_188799.html)

  17. J Ascher says:

    At work, there’s Muslim contributor to a “philosophy circle” group on the company’s internal social website who can’t or won’t see things through anything other than an Islamic lens.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Spot-on as usual, Author. I can’t see them taking up the design for real though, what with their obsessive need to live in the past.
    It’s been said many, many times before, of course, but I really marvel at the mastery of irony displayed by the Islamic fundies when responding to something as thought-provoking as this. “They insult the prophet by suggesting his is a religion of hate and violence. We hate them. They must die!”

    Of course, Saudi is far from being the only country to show weapons on its flag. Mozambique has a fucking AK47 on theirs (to ‘commemorate’ their civil war, no less) and even the eagle on the U.S. Presidential Standard has a quiver of arrows clutched in its left talon (to commemorate the subjugation of those pesky injuns, maybe?). And these are by no means the only ones.

  19. Three-tigers says:

    Only the first part of the phrase on the flag makes any sense, however, so why don’t they just stop after the statement, “there is no god”.

  20. bitter lemon says:

    I completely agree with Geordie regarding the insult to a British soldier’s memory.

    I mean the guy’s a hero who fought and killed for his country, proudly shooting at women, children, MAMs regardless of their religion, creed or age. Being all secular and such. We should honor his memory by wrapping him in a secular flag without any bloodshed associated with it.

    Oh, crap, just remembered the British one has two crosses on it. I guess we’ll just have to wrap our hero in a tablecloth or something

  21. Micky says:

    don’t feed the troll

  22. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    It’s OK, Micky, we’re used to bitter lemon, a wannabe social scientist who likes to try and use us as lab rats when (s)he has a half-baked hypothesis about atheists. I’m guessing the latest idea has something to do with hypocrisy.

  23. E.A. Blair says:

    I seem to remember a dispute at an Olympics Games of years past because McDonald’s imprinted the flags of participant countries, including Saudi Arabia, on their drink cups. The claim was that it’s blasphemous to throw the cups away. I say, then don’t put something like that of the f’n flag.

    United States law forbids the imprinting of the US flag on anything meant for “…temporary use and discard…” {4 U.S.C. Chapter 1, §8.(i) }, should never be “…used as wearing apparel…” {4 U.S.C. Chapter 1, §8.(d) }, that the flag or any part of it “…should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform…” {4 U.S.C. Chapter 1, §8.(d) } and “…should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.” {4 U.S.C. Chapter 1, §8.(i) }. You wouldn’t know it from all the ways the US flag is abused, especially by self-styled “patriots”.

    I agree with Ambrose Bierce. He was speaking about impiety, not blasphemy, but the definition still applies: “YOUR irreverence to MY deity.”

  24. E.A. Blair says:

    Actually, bitter lemon is wrong. The flag of the United Kingdom has three crosses on it – the cross of Saint George, the cross of Saint Andrew and the cross of Saint Patrick.

  25. FreeFox says:

    AoS: What makes you dismiss BL’s (admittedly sarcastically framed) objection so out of hand? Soldiers do kill. Killing other humans is at best problematic. Shouldn’t the burden of justification be always on the side of the killer – including national militaries? Not defending their murder, of course, but what makes killing them more heinous and joking about such murders more tasteless than the murder of civilians in your home country, or indeed the murder of civilians in far away countries?

  26. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, BL is intelligent enough to realise that this cartoon is in no way an insult to the dead soldier, and that nobody here is joking about anybody’s murder.
    Take another look at BL’s post, particularly “I mean the guy’s a hero who fought and killed for his country, proudly shooting at women, children, MAMs regardless of their religion, creed or age” ; that’s one Hell of a list of allegations against a drummer, but that’s BL’s method of trolling all over.
    He wanted a knee-jerk reaction, for us to fall into the trap by making a ‘them and us’ type argument or to accuse him of arguing using a false equivalency, which in turn would have given some validity to whatever his hypothesis about atheists is this week. So far, he’s tried – and failed – to find evidence that we are anti-Semitic, pro-Semitic, Jewish overlords, and Islamophobes, always using the identical, light the fuse and wait for us to go bang method – which has repeatedly failed, but full marks for perseverance.
    You’re right, FreeFox, in that there is no difference between what happened in London and what happens in Afghanistan, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find anybody here who’d disagree with you on that point, which is why BL’s trolling has yet again hit the buffers.

  27. One of your best yet, m’dear 🙂 (And that’s saying something!)

  28. VoteCoffee says:

    Hey now, Mo has every right to be upset. You have no idea how offensive it can be when a person goes off the handle and senselessly butchers an emblematic representation of your country.

  29. FreeFox says:

    AoS, I dunno… I thought the first bit about “agreeing” with Geordie was sarcasm (as the polemic follow-up reveals) in that there was nothing impious in Author’s joke about the murder of a British soldier. As a theist I am hard pressed to find any anti-atheist sentiment even hinted at in BL’s line, or any attempt at baiting anyone except Geordie and maybe like-minded Geo_rich or (by extension) Micky. And Geordie does exactly make the distinction between making fun of religious retards (his word) and the death of a British soldier you seem to think nobody here would make. So, I find myself entirely on BL’s side and agree with his sneering at Geordie’s tribalistic, chauvinistic bollocks – which displays the same sort of bigoted intellectual dishonesty that this comic is dedicated to mocking. That’s not trollism but a necessary (if somewhat crude and inellegant) send-up of despicable 19th century ideology

  30. Micky says:

    Trolling = the intentional posting of inflammatory remarks with the intention of getting an emotional response (what’s the word for argument by reference to Wikipedia again?)

    Sorry FF, I don’t disagree with your sentiments, but I think you are seeing something that isn’t there (spoing!). I don’t think BL is sending up a despicable 19th century ideology at all, I think it is attention seeking behaviour, pure and simple.

  31. hotrats says:

    Channel 4 News has been giving exemplary coverage to the internecine rivalry between islamists in Syria and elsewhere (http://www.channel4.com/news/sunni-shia-islam-muslim-syria-middle-east-key-questions).

    It seem there really is a war on Islam, as the fundamentalists claim, but the depredations of their professed enemy, the USA and the Decadent West, are dwarfed by the impact of internal conflict between Sunni and Shia sects; these guys mean business, and they fight to the death.

    Essentially a doctrinal schism, originally over whether the tribe or family of Mahommed should inherit his authority, these days just a turf war over which bunch of robber barons can claim divine authority for their imperial aspirations, and like any tribal struggle it is driven by implacable, murderous hatred.

    The current debate over sending arms to the Syrain rebels centres on the risk of their falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. While it would be cynical to support the arming of the Sunni-Shia conflict per se, perhaps we have been overly pessimistic about the nightmare of Islamic world domination, and overlooked the possibility that Islam could destroy itself long before that by internal contradictions.

    If it is a religion of the sword, let them fight it out with whatever weapons they want – their game, their rules. Both sides have their extremists; Hezbullah are Shia, the Jihad Salfists are Sunni. Neither side can win without enormous attrition on both sides, and when the preponderance of diehard martyrs has thinned down a bit, Islam will presumably present a reduced threat to the West.

    As in our own medieval history, such ‘ethnic cleansing’ is an inevitable step along the road to civilization as we know it; our ‘un-islamic’ free speech, freedom of belief, and democracy are the product of similar bloody, pointless but in retrospect unavoidable conflicts between Catholics and Protestants.

    Eventually, Islam will be forced, like Christianity, to seek a Reformation, or Sunni and Shia will face their own mutully assured destruction. With their scriptural authority for holy war discredited and their political aspirations limited, Islam will be ready to join the dialog of civilized nations. So much easier than bombing Teheran, with all the military and diplomatic fallout that would involve.

  32. Kevin Alexander says:

    I’m not sure if Jesus’ version of the flag is offensive. I’d have to know if that’s a Halal cleaver.

  33. FreeFox says:

    Micky: Hmm, of course concerning BL’s motives, you may be right. No way to be certain. But I think the charge of trolling is getting thrown around too much anyway. This site is dedicated to “ridicule the sincerely held beliefs” of others, and rightly so. Honestly, don’t we all post to get an emotional response? Don’t we all use sarcasm, irony, and polemics to some extend? Of course there are more or less skillful ways to do that, but none should be silenced. So, I say, let’s feed all trolls and enjoy the banter. Or things get way too sterile and self-congratulatory on this board…

    In a way, I am really astonished about y’all. Are you seriously siding with the pseudo-pious criticism of Author’s funny cartoon instead of the polemic defence of the freedom of satire?

  34. FreeFox says:

    Also: Don’t you agree that the British state religion, including theocratic royalty, christian flag, and conflict with the equally ridiculous north-irish catholics *is* pretty pathetic and richly deserving of all the mocking it can get – including mocking dead soldiers? Doesn’t for example every dead on either side of the NI conflict practically mandate some tasteless, trolling, indecent ridicule? Or are the irrationalities that somehow have the right to be protected from merciless satire?

  35. Suffolk Blue says:

    Great cartoon! As ever!

    Shirley I can’t be alone in having misread “trollism” as “troilism” above!

  36. botanist says:

    ?? ‘and don’t call me Shirley’ ??

  37. bitter lemon says:

    Thanks, Freefox for taking the time to think about my comment, and AoS you got the message but not quite. To bare my motives, my comments this time were indeed directed at Geordie. The hypocrisy or more likely idiocy behind that (implied) statement about “our soldiers” versus “soldiers of God” was staggering. Am I the only one who couldn’t see the nuanced difference between killing for one flag and not the other? Or that the cleaver on SA’s flag, would be well complemented by a Gatling gun drawn on the British one, or a mushroom cloud on the American one?

    The problem is that nobody questioned, or rather dismissed, Geordie’s comment as trolling, but mine was instantly identified as trolling. This just confirms my belief about what a smugly self-congratulatory circlejerk this place is. Sure, I could join a conversation about all this, but the occasional stone thrown at the glass house is much more fun 🙂

    Also, these days I only come here when I’m really bored, and have the time. The first happens more often than the second, unfortunately (I’m not working with rats anymore, and glia lack personality).

    For those who are interested in trolling places such as this but find the limited audience boring, please join other professionals like me at the place of never-ending fun. There we can all come together cackling like hyenas, just like this place here, but better

  38. Couch party says:


  39. Mary2 says:

    Bitter Lemon, We are smug because we called you out for trolling even though you admit that it what you were doing?

    And then, like a five year old, you tell us that you could beat us at a conversation if you really really wanted to but, of course, it would be so little competition for you that you can’t be bothered – even though you started the conversation.

    Yawn. Not impressed. What must it be like to be so superior to us mere mortals?

  40. Author, it continues to amaze me how educational your efforts are, as are the comments. Thanks for this one.
    Bitter Lemon, you just spoinged my irony meter. I dismissed Geordie’s comments as trolling, which is why I didn’t bother to respond to him. I only respond to trolls who claim they aren’t trolls while telling us that they were just trolling ’cause, you know, it’s fun. I think you fit my definition of asshole.

  41. FreeFox says:

    *sighs* apologies, AoS…

  42. FreeFox says:

    btw, Mary2, been wanting to tell you for a long time how much I like your avatar. Classy, funny, dignified, self-ironic… just awesome! ^_^

  43. JohnM says:

    I’m puzzled by Mo saying “God, …” Would he use that word, even when speaking English? Surely the individual mystique of various, different revealed religions rests in part on their practice of encouraging and using partisan parlance.

  44. mary2 says:

    Free fox, one can but aspire to be as awesome as Miss Piggy. She is much more funny, classy and dignified than I will ever be. When I am feeling particularly butch I change the picture to one of her cruising on her Harley – Barbie pink, of course.

  45. VoteCoffee says:

    @Mary2: I always enjoyed her roles in the Pigs In Space saga 😀

  46. Couch party says:

    Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah ; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves…. Quran 48. -29
    So his companions are merciful among themselves ! The moment he died they started slaughtering themselves over who’s the rightful successor and they’re still slaughtering themselves till now (Sunni vs Shia) . So that flag belongs to those Wahhabis whom I call Mohammad 2.0 nothing new under the sun ! What do u expect from a guy like creator of wahhabism mohamad ibin abdul wahhab to bring forth ! A cool saudi flag? The guy was living in the desert with an education of garbage in garbage out so of course the end product would be swords not flowers .

  47. Kevin Alexander says:

    And that she is seductive and that she is a pig…
    Just doesn’t get any more haram than that.

  48. VoteCoffee says:

    Oh yes it does. She’s in love with that unclean hunk of meat, Kermit!

  49. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, apology not neccessary, but appreciated and accepted nontheless.
    I knew bitter lemon was up to tricks again because his criticism bore little relation to the post he was criticising.
    If you look back at what Geordie wrote, there was no suggestion that it was OK to mock ‘their’ dead whilst ‘ours’ was off-limits. At best, I saw a clumsy attempt at a Poe playing on the arbitrary nature of offence; at worst, Geordie simply failed to see that just for once the punchline wasn’t intended to be funny, and came to the erroneous conclusion that it was a joke at Drummer Rigby’s expense. To my mind, all that was said was ‘I come here for the usual output of mocking the absurdities of religion, not for sick jokes about murder victims‘.
    Looked at this way, you can see why BL’s snide comment was a ‘straw’ critique intended to make us read into Geordie’s post something that was never there in the first place; all the talk about hypocrisy, about killing being right or wrong / funny or not funny depending on which side one’s on, came not from Geordie but from bitter lemon. All that came from Geordie was either a Poe, or a failure to recognise that this one one of those rare occasions that Author wasn’t playing for laughs.

  50. FreeFox says:

    Nah, don’t agree there. I mean, no idea what Geordie thought, but this is a joke about the reality of “noble islamist warriors” by comparing them correctly with butchers. The profession (or gender, religion, or any other characteristic) of the victim makes absolutely no difference for this comic, solely the beastial way in which he was murdered. If you think about it, this one is no more or less funny than, say, the one about theocratic fascism. But several people suddenly had problems with this one, and that’s clearly because of the idiotic knee jerk adulation of those who murder for their flag instead of for some other flag. BL was right in that. Of course, he’s still a dick.

  51. MarkyWarky says:

    FF, BL et al, would you not admit that, while not what is right from a purely rational perspective, it is not true to say that all “murder in the name os a flag” is the same, and that note all victims/perpetrators are equally deserving of ridicule? Taking that argument to it’s extreme, Hiltlker was no better and no worse than Private Tommy in the trenches. Sometimes, in the real world, some people ARE on the side of right, and some are on the side of good, even though when analysed their actual actions (killing) cannot be distinguished one from the other.

    So while we Brits have a lot to answer for, we are at least a democracy, with leaders answerable to the rest of us. As a Brit, I hate our theocracy just as much as anyone does, but at the same time am thankful for our decision making process, which at worst at least attempts to put people like Drummer Rigby in harms way only when necessary, and to kill people only for the “right” reasons.

    I’m not stupid enough to think our foreign policy is not often driven by power, greed and bigotry, but I am at least content that we have checks and balances in place. I could be proven wrong, but I believe the Christian equivalent of a jihad, instigated by the UK government, would be impossible in the society we have. That gives me some confidence that Drummer Rigby is not at the same low level as those that murdered him.

    It IS possible to legitimately revere one “murderer” while ridiculing another.

    And no FF, the joke is not about “the reality of “noble islamist warriors” by comparing them correctly with butchers.”, it’s about pointing out that if the flag were designed today from scratch, with the same sentiments as when it was created, it’d have the modern equivalent of the sword. It simply makes you realise what the flag ACTUALLY depicts.

    In my case at least, there is no “idiotic knee jerk adulation of those who murder for their flag instead of for some other flag”. Instead I have considered respect for those who put themselves in harms way, without being compelled to and at the behest of a democratic process, to defend a society that is at least somewhat like the one I think all human beings should be able to live in.

  52. MarkyWarky says:

    “Sometimes, in the real world, some people ARE on the side of right, and some are on the side of good” should obviously read “………………….right………………..wrong.”

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, the meat cleaver in the cartoon isn’t there to compare the killers to butchers, it’s there because that’s the weapon used in the attack.
    You said But several people suddenly had problems with this one, and that’s clearly because of the idiotic knee jerk adulation of those who murder for their flag instead of for some other flag;
    I’ve read back through the comments and saw only two people with a problem with the cartoon. One was Geo_rich, and the other Geordie, and neither said anything about killing for flags. Personally, I think that where most of us understood that Author was using the killing of Drummer Rigby to make a valid point, they saw instead a joke about his murder, and to be honest if that was what Author had actually done then I would have found it in poor taste too, just as I would have found a joke about Afghan or Pakistani children dying in a drone strike poor taste.
    You even answered Geo-rich yourself by explaining the punchline, so it was clear that you thought he had simply missed the point. As much as I hate to say it, I think you allowed yourself to be led by bitter lemon’s rather inventive interpretation of what they’d said, and by his very emotive description of Rigby’s imaginary crimes against humanity; could that have been a knee-jerk reaction to the criticism of a fellow troll (albeit a rather sub-standard one)?

    Marky, nicely put.

  54. lol says:

    ah, yes. how very relevant and incisive, since we all know the culprit was a loyal saudi.

  55. MarkyWarky says:

    lol, I’m assuming your post had a sarcastic tone, but as the cartoon explains, it’s the flag of Mo’s homeland. It carries an inscription saying “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God”. It clearly ties Islam to a weapon of murder, Rigby’s killers did it in the name of Islam, and so the cartoon is entirely apropriate. It doesn’t try to tie Saudi Arabia to the attack, it ties Islam to it.

  56. FreeFox says:

    AoS and MM: I really don’t want to say that the murderers on one nation’s payroll are necessarily as bad as the murderer’s on another one’s, and as a former German I am wholeheartedly in favour of some large-scale murders (being a faggot, jd, and vagrant I’d have hated growing up in Germany if there hadn’t been several million murderers willing to stop the bugfuck crazies elected by my grandparents.) But anyone coming to THIS SITE and complaining that jokes involving dead british soldiers are in poor taste just bloody well deserves to be trolled. Sorry. And I am kinda disappointed at how little negative reaction there was to such irrational flag-waving tribalism on this board.

  57. Pierce R. Butler says:

    Jesus seems a bit slow on the uptake (or else I missed it, over 11 years ago, when he redrew the Saudi flag with a box-cutter).

  58. Daz says:


    I used to work with a Muslim bloke who would use either “God” or “Allah” as the mood took him. There-again, he was generally blaspheming at the time, and was happy to stand his round in the pub after work, so long as we chose a pub which sold decent coffee. So, just possibly not the definitive answer you’re looking for…

  59. lol says:

    Muslims of South Asian/Persian extraction often use the loanword “Khuda”, often used in the parting salutation, “Khuda Hafiz” or “May God protect you” (similar to Allah Hafiz, which may be a later re-Arabisation). I use God most often when I speak English to non-Muslim people, and fairly interchangeably with Allah when I speak English to Muslims.
    The word Allah seems to be a contraction of al, “the”, and ilah, “deity”. This is common to the other 98 “names” of God – “The” plus an attribute which God epitomises.
    These habits vary from Muslim to Muslim, really, just as the distinction between prayer/salaah (arabic)/namaz (another Urdu/Persian usage common with South Asians) varies. At University I notice a lot of South Asian (including Asian British) Muslims undergoing a shift from the Urdu to the Arabic lexicon.

  60. lol says:


    sorry for the late response. I’d argue the sword is more a weapon of war than one of murder; cleavers are more murderous. The distinction in my mind probably springs from the fact that swords are specifically crafted as battle weapons, while cleavers are produced literally for butchery and home use, and it’s usually blades just lying around the house that would be associated with murder.

    I would say that the Saudi flag is an attempt to identify the al-Saud with Islam and the sword, to represent both their questionable claims to being the guardians of the Holy Mosques and, implicitly through their relationship with the descendants of Ibn Abdul Wahhab as well as through the sword, the protectors of the religion itself. It also recalls that they gained control of the peninsula through the sword. In short, it links Islam to the al-Saud and war to the al-Saud.

    The alteration, therefore, accepts Saudi Arabia’s self-identification as the guardians of Islam but replaces the association to war with one to the murder in Woolwich. While it literally juxtaposes the declaration of faith with the murder, in specifically invoking Saudi Arabia, the cartoon makes clear that the link is between a Saudi “brand” of Islam and a (therefore presumably) Saudi “brand” of murder.

    This is fairly rambly and quite likely a case of TL;DR, but I hope I’ve managed to convey something of what I had in mind back in June.


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