I am curious to see how other people feel about the controversy surrounding the woman in Sudan who allowed her students to vote for the name “Muhammed” for the class teddy bear. People were calling for her execution, and frankly she was lucky to make it out of Sudan.
First off, I agree that it was culturally insensitive to name the teddy bear, an animal and an icon, after the prophet. However, I think the Sudanese people’s reaction to this has been completely overblown and should not have escalated as far as it did. It reminds me a lot of the Netherlands cartoon fiasco that happened a little over a year ago.
Just a random thought here, but what I find interesting is that the students didn’t seem to think naming the bear Muhammed was all that offensive. Is it possible that they did not see the teddy bear as an animal or a simple icon but as something a little more real? Kids have the amazing ability to have a gray area of reality/pretend where teddy bears can have feelings, the child is a super-hero, there really is a dragon they have to kill everyday on the way home from school, etc. This aspect of childhood is one we cherish looking back on as grown-ups, and yet at the same time scold children for “pretending” and not seeing things “as they are,” and then there are events like this that take something very innocent and playful and – pardon my impartiality here – completely trash it! It’s just sad that childhood has become so charged with grown-up problems. Don’t even get me started on the poor kids who can’t play outside for fear of being shot.