Thursday, April 16, 2015

Standing Up For Charlie

You all, my grand readers, are aware of the terrible
tragedy that recently occurred in Paris. I'm referring here
to the morning massacre on January 7 of this still new
year by two radical Muslim brothers at the offices of
the satirical weekly periodical Charlie Hebdo in which,
armed with various weapons, murdered eleven people
while wounding eleven more, all the while shouting
"Allahu akbar!" (God is great!).

Now, we have heard many accounts of how radical
Islamic sorts have made deadly reprisals against anyone
critical of them and/or their religion in many pars of the
world. It's all a part of their campaign, their jihad, to
make the whole world submit to Islam and their oppres-
sively draconian Sharia law. This movement and its
Middle Eastern origins have replaced the menace of
communism as the number one worldwide threat of
the moment, and is much more vicious and violent.
In some cities and towns in some countries, these
people have established their own little governments
--- quite separate in many ways from those of the
communities in which they have settled --- including
their own courts, in which Sharia law is the basis of
their governance. And they go after anyone who speaks
negatively about them and their faith.

Which brings us to  Charlie Hebdo. A magazine which
engages in stinging satirical takes on individuals and
institutions, including religious faiths, the staff at this
mag do not pull their punches; your faithful Peasant
can attest to this, having seen some online editions
of theirs. In 2011 they published an issue that they
renamed Charia Hebdo, French for Sharia Weekly,
in which they featured a cartoon likeness of the
Islamic prophet Muhammad --- a cardinal sin in
that faith and is considered an affront by many of its
followers, one that Sharia law requires terrible
retribution. The following year Charlie (the shorthand
name for the magazine) doubled down on this by
publishing a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammad,
including some caricatures "in the buff". Cartoonist
Stephane Charbonnier, Editor-in-Chief of Charlie
from 2009, was one of the people killed in the attack
in January; he was placed on Islamic terrorist group
Al-Qaeda's most wanted list.

Your liberty-loving Peasant finds some things in
Charlie that I don't find amusing, witty, or in any
way entertaining. Moreover, Charlie takes some
pretty wicked shots at Catholicism, my own faith.
But I do not wish death and destruction on the
publication, nor its staff. I adhere to the American
notion that bad, or in any way undesirable speech,
be countered by good speech --- speech that counters
the offending speech with logic, facts, and a sharp
retort. This is how such things are handled in the
good ol' USA (at least in some quarters, as
political correctness has displaced this tack in
academia and some other places). Freedom of
expression is a precious thing; when its is infringed
upon, a chill descends over a society. When it
is eliminated, be it by a tyrannical government
or a tyrannical political or religious movement,
the freedoms enjoyed by those in that society
will not long remain standing. Indeed, in a free
society where the right to speak one's mind is
guaranteed some mean-spirited, stupid, and/or
crude people will pipe up in print, online, or
verbally in a meeting hall or on a street corner.
But the right to freely express oneself cancels
must be extended to all in the society, for if it
is not then the society has no freedom of
expression, not really; if only a select few get
to have a public say then that right ceases to be
a freedom and then becomes a privilege. And
anyone trying to avail themselves of that privilege
would face terrible consequences.

This is what we must take away from the
Charlie Hedbo tragedy. And this is why
The Peasant supports Charlie's right to publish
what they wish.


No comments:

Post a Comment