Je Suis Charlie Hebdo?

It’s been a fortnight since the appalling attacks and assassinations in Paris, France. Much has been said and written on the subject during that time and it might seem there was nothing left to add that was relevant.

It was with some degree of dismay I read, or listened to, the comments of certain media individuals and bloggers, following the killings. Their responses seemed to indicate that the staff of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ were in some way responsible for their own deaths, for daring to defy the Muslim extremists by publishing satirical cartoons of the prophet, Mohammed.

Perhaps the most prominent of these was Pope Francis, who suggested that, ”If you insult my mother you can expect a punch.” Apart from his total disregard for the obvious Christian response of ‘turning the other cheek’, a punch on the nose hardly bears any comparison to the devastating effects of an AK47.

The whole argument of whether ‘Charlie Hebdo’ was right or wrong to publish items insulting to the Muslim faith is entirely irrelevant. There is only one consideration to be made. It is simply this:

If someone insults you do you have the right to assassinate them?

I would hope that Pope Francis, and all other commentators quick to criticize those who were murdered in cold blood on that black Wednesday in Paris, would answer an emphatic, “NO,” to that question.

Any other response would be unthinkable in a civilized society.

4 Replies to “Je Suis Charlie Hebdo?”

  1. Yeah, that old trope of “she deserved it” the common plea of the abusive husband/partner resonated with Il Papa obviously to be applied to those who dare to speak up.

    Is there any hope at all RJA? I despair. This world sucks. Move me to another.


  2. Here, here!

    A friend of mine described the cartoons as ‘self-indulgent and viscerally vicious (I have a feeling some of that came from a ‘Guardian’ article – I am not sure, but she mentioned that newspaper).

    My response was that ‘Spittin’ Image’ could be described in that way regarding its treatment of Mrs Thatcher and her husband, when Guardian readers of my aquaintance applauded and rejoiced.

    – but there was no gunning down of the tv station. And surely that’s the difference between not just two societies but two ways of life.

    Because that’s what this is all about: not just freedom of speech, but Freedom with a capital ‘F’ – and civilization.

    Make no mistake, these people want to take us back 500 years. We need to stand up to them.

    And, Wisewoman – stay in this world for the time being … you may be needed!

  3. For once I disagree with your point of view RJ – it happens rarely!

    Those cartoons were a handy excuse to achieve some “blow-back” for the years of horrendous killings of innocents in the ME by French, British and US military. Is this not understandable? I’m not saying it was justified – it wasn’t. It is, though, understandable to me. Obama’s drones regularly kill far more innocents than the cartoonists who died – and nobody here turns a hair!!! Somebody should be turning hairs more often. It’s ok for us to do it, but not for them? Hmmmm.

    I do lay some blame on whoever decided to continue ridiculing French Muslims via these nasty and often obscene published cartoons, after threats had already been received to the magazine. Was it worth the 12 lives this continued and really repetitive ridicule cost? (Some of those who died probably had no say in what was published). Was it worth the agony of their loved ones? Surely not!

    “These people” as you call them would be more inclined to mind their own business if we in the West had minded ours for many decades, and left them alone, droneless, in comparative peace, to solve their own internal problems.

    What’ll happen now? – More bad feeling against Muslims in Europe, more drumming up of right-wing fascist tendencies as in the 1930s against Jews.

  4. I’ve been somewhat busy of late (plus recovering from ‘flu) so haven’t been able to respond in detail to commentators above. Suffice to say, I broadly agree with WWW and George.

    Twilight, we’ll agree to disagree. I note your concerns over bad feeling towards Muslims in Europe, but I feel the situation in the Middle East right now is way more acutely concerning. Personally, I was proud of the way French people handled the slaughter and showed such immense solidarity. That sort of response wouldn’t happen in America, nor Britain, I’m ashamed to say.

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