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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Turkish group claims LEGO Jabba's Palace is racist, offensive to religion

Let's compare some fiction and fact...

- Jabba's Palace was first built by the B'omarr Monks, who continued to live within it and practice their religion long after after Jabba the Hutt took over and made it his headquarters.

- The Hagia Sophia was a Christian basilica until 1453 when Ottoman Turks forced their way inside, slaughtering thousands of innocent people whose blood poured into the streets of Constantinople. From that time on Christians were forbidden from worshiping within their own building.

Got that? Good. Because it only makes the claim by a group of Turkish Austrians that LEGO's new Jabba's Palace set from its Star Wars line is "racist" and an affront to religion all the more ridiculous.

LEGO version of Jabba's Palace (left) and Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (right)
One is a place that has known murder, slavery and intolerance toward others. The other is a children's toy.

From The Telegraph article...

Austria’s Turkish community said the model was based on Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul and that the accompanying figures depicted Asians and Orientals as people with “deceitful and criminal personalities.”

The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement calling for Lego to apologise for affronting religious and cultural feelings.

The anger was provoked by “Jabba’s Palace”, a model of the home of Jabba the Hutt from Lego’s Star Wars product range based on the blockbusting series of science fiction films.

Jabba is the large slug-like creature who holds Han Solo captive in the film Return of the Jedi, and his palace is the setting for several crucial scenes, including using Princess Leia as his slave.

Jabba’s domed home and accompanying watchtower bare, according to the statement, an unwanted resemblance to Istanbul’s great Hagia Sophia, and another mosque in Beirut


The Jabba case came to light after an Austrian Turk complained to the organisation after his sister had bought his son the box set.

Austria’s Turkish community also took issue with the figures that went with the palace, including Jabba.

“The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” said the statement posted on the organisation’s website.

“It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.”

The crimes associated with the figures, the statements adds, include terrorism, slavery, murder and human sacrifice.

Taking into account that many of the Lego figures carry weapons, the Turkish organisation also urged parents “not to buy toys of war or toys of discrimination” as the model goes against the “peaceful coexistence of different cultures in Europe”.

As an indication of the anger felt over Jabba’s Palace, the organisation said it was considering taking legal action against Lego for inciting racial hatred and insulting human dignity.

Hit the link for plenty more of this ludicrous story, including a statement LEGO released in response to what the Turks are insisting.

How about some more comparison? Like, how the Turks in Austria are claiming that "The crimes associated with the figures... include terrorism, slavery, murder and human sacrifice."

There are numerous accounts written by those who survived the conquest of Constantinople about how Sultan Mehmet II allowed his soldiers to plunder the city for three days: butchering anyone who got in their way, stealing from homes and separating families. Mehmet II took the city's most beautiful young women - and men - to be in his private harem (those who resisted were beheaded). Many boys were pressed into the service of the Janissary corps. Not long after the conquest, the Ottoman Turkish sultan sent several thousands of children to each of the major potentates of the Muslim world to be slaves.

So far as we know, the only criminal activities that Jabba the Hutt and his gang engaged in were spice-smuggling and gun-running.

Nor do I ever recall Jabba employing suicide bombers, declaring jihad against anyone or even declaring that Luke's announcing himself as a Jedi as being "blasphemy". Come to think of it, Jabba tolerated a lot of "coexistence of different cultures" at his court.

Yup, Jabba the Hutt and his palace are insulting to certain cultures and religions, no doubt about it...


Chris Knight said...

Well, let's be clear here: the nonsense about LEGO is not coming from anyone inside the nation of Turkey. These claims originate with Turks living in eastern Europe, which has had a substantial Turkish population for centuries. The country of Turkey has been despised for almost a hundred years by many Turkish people because it is a secular government, and not an Islamic regime.

This wild-eyed idiocy is coming from people who have NO real understanding of a nation's history or culture. It's mostly a result of the unfounded teachings of a number of radicals. That and too many who refuse to question those teachings and those behind them.

So far as the Armenian massacres go: I'm a bit conflicted. The genocide happened under the Ottoman Empire and Kemal Ataturk was quick to officially condemn it when the Ottomans fell and Turkey became a republic. An admission of the genocide would go a considerable length toward relations with Armenia however. Much as there exists a relationship between the Israeli and German peoples today.

One of these days I'd love to visit Turkey. It's truly one of the most fascinating countries in the world. I'd especially like to visit Istanbul. And especially the Hagia Sophia: absolutely among the most beautiful works of architecture ever built.

Anonymous said...

Jabba DID engage in slavery Chris. He made Leia his slave girl. He even made her put on that outfit!

Chris Knight said...

Leia wasn't really Jabba's "slave". She was more like his Playmate of the Month(tm).

One friend last night remarked that Jabba didn't force Leia to wear a burqa :-P