Cartoons again: Another Perspective

Manorama Sarasvati has a thoughtful/scholarly response to the cartoons controversy, expressing some sympathy for the Muslim protestors (though obviously not for their violence). Her most provocative point might be this one:

When the larger narrative is articulated, as I have tried to do above, the particular argument that Muslims are overreacting to "just a few cartoons" becomes much more complex because of the context in which it circulates. In fact, the outrage of Muslims does not stem from a response to just a few cartoons, but rather to an entire visual economy which dehumanizes Muslims, and specifically, Muslim bodies, as a means of expressing and visually reinforcing western dominance. We need only to think back to the torture photos for another example in which the argument that the photos were the result of "a few bad apples" seems strangely familiar. It's only a few cases, we were reassured. Muslims have no need to get upset. And after all, there is a cost to freedom. The visual representation of what that cost is, and what it is has historically been, was hardly interrogated. It fit quite well into a narrative that relies on such logic for its continuation.

Though I agree with this particular point, I actually differ with Mano on the broader question of how to read the ongoing protests riots, for reasons indicated in my comments on her blog.