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Archive for the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Category

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Loosely translated, the above caption means I am NOT Charlie, but NO ONE will stop me from expressing myself. 

 

  This is a tough one, to be honest. There are boundaries to free speech, in some countries one cannot without valid reason legally shout the word “FIRE” in a crowded theater, for example. In other countries blasphemy is punishable by death. It is illegal to threaten the life of the US President, as another example.(that one has caused me to bite my tongue on occasion, just kidding)  One CAN do these things, but there may be ramifications. Where does it stop?  Where is the line crossed from satire to blasphemy and who decides where the line is drawn? The reader? The public? The police or legal system?  If someone were to tell me they idolized Adolf Hitler or Benjamin Netanyahu it would probably irritate the hell out of me, but certainly that isn’t sufficient reason to kill them, is it? If someone were to show me a pornographic rendition of Jesus Christ, it would certainly make me question their judgement and taste level, but is it right for me to shoot them?

If I may speak in generalizations for a moment, allow me to say that while I am not a Francophil in the classic sense, I love the France, Paris and the French. I love their passion, their contradictions, their art and poetry, their love of life. I would have easily joined in the resistance to fight the nazis as I would have to fight Franco in Spain. Anyone who knows me well knows this.  OK,, I even have to say I love Depardieu, or at least I did up to a point. One of of the things they do best is satire. They are masters at it and have been for centuries. As far back as Moliere and Voltaire at least. They have a wonderful irreverence that makes it natural for them. To hear that a French magazine such as Charlie Hebdo is writing pieces or publishing drawings satirizing religion, be it Christian, Jewish, or Islam, comes as no surprise to me, for exactly the reasons i mentioned above. A satirical humour is practically inbred, part and parcel of being French, if I may say so. However, saying that, I have to wonder if there are limits to what is satire and what is a slap in the face.

I suppose it has to do with how one perceives the INTENTION of the satirist. Is it their intent to give us a slightly evil laugh at our own foibles, fuckups and inconsistencies, a wink, a nudge or a push towards the reflection we give off in the mirror as we go about our lives? I am no expert on satire. I wish I had the gift. I love it when it’s good. I love it when I can laugh at it, and at myself and at my own foolishness.

I’m NOT implying that I agree with the murderers. Of course not. NOTHING ABSOLVES ONE FROM MURDER. I have heard reports that a “more calm group” of Muslims has taken Charlie Hebdo to court several times, to seek a legal means of settling the issue. As everyone reading has probably heard by now. apparently the Koran does not allow one to do ANY visual representation of the prophet Mohammed, be it in a drawing based upon their Muslim belief or certainly not in a satirical or provocative sense. It is, according to common interpretation, a crime punishable by death. In the Old Testament of the Bible, there were many crimes punishable by death. Adultery, theft, murder, and blasphemy were among the things that could lead to you to being stoned to death. That is the religious heritage of the West.It IS dreadful and still continues in those countries with the death penalty. Those facts are indisputable. In the Islamic faith, they still hold fast to an even harsher interpretation, at least in those areas that are more, what shall i say, closer to tradition, or in the more common word, “Extremist. We may find them abhorrent. I know that I do.  It’s easy to judge from the outside. We have every right to our own opinions on this. As I stated above the common belief is that murder is a crime against humanity, but then, in my opinion so is capitalism. Shall we shoot the bankers? (There’s a thought!)

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