Je Suis Charlie Hebdo: but Obama, Clinton and all the free speech loving cowards don’t want to be him
“Je Suis Charlkie Hebdo”. Everyone’s saying it. Free speech rules! The British politians who want to regulate journalists; the Twitter narks; the police; and the newly Enlightened all just love Charlie Hebdo and that free speech.
This Buzzfeed writer’s catharsis is not untypical of the collective epiphany.
When in 2011 the offices of Charlie Hebdo were firebombed following the trailing of a special edition mocked up to look like it was guest-edited by Muhammad (editor Stéphane Charbonnier had to live under police protection) Time magazine’s Paris Bureau Chief didn’t side with free speech. He went with this:
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?
The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to have much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam. The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists (and offend average Muslims) with articles and “funny” cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed—depictions forbidden in Islam to boot…. do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.
Good luck with those blood and guts drawing your publication will now be featuring…
Editors, staff, fans, and apologists of Charlie Hebdo have repeatedly pointed out that the paper’s take-no-prisoners humor spares no religion, political party, or social group from its questionable humor. They’ve also tended to defend the publication during controversy as a kind of gut check of free society: a media certain to anger, infuriate, and offend just about everybody at some point or another. As such, Charlie Hebdo has cultivated its insolence proudly as a kind of public duty—pushing the limits of freedom of speech, come what may. But that seems more self-indulgent and willfully injurious when it amounts to defending the right to scream “fire” in an increasingly over-heated theater.
Time magazine now screams “Je suits Charlie Hebdo”.
A massacre brings about a change of heart.
And it goes to the top. Take this from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:
“We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential be be inflammatory.”
And there was Barack Obama who after the pisspoor anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims was given as the reason behind a murderous attck by Islamists, tossed free speech under the bus, when he opined:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam… we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”
Hillary Clinton said of the U.S. government, “we absolutely reject content and message”.
The film was dire. But the right to cause offence is also a vital part of what the US is. Satirizing radical Islam is no differnt to lampooning Mormons, Jews, Methodists or even Buddhists. The right to denigrate religions is something Obama should support.
Antony L. Fisher adds:
…USA Today published as a counter-point to its own editorial, an op-ed from “radical Muslim cleric” Anjem Choudary, who skips the mealy-mouthed platitudes about the right to free expression and instead puts the blame on the French government for not stopping Charlie Hebdo from provoking Muslims, “thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk.”
This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”
However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.
I would argue that lambasting a government for failing to abandon free speech in the face of a murderous heckler’s veto is more offensive than any cartoon could ever be. But I am glad to see Choudary’s abhorrent views laid bare in black and white to be reviled or defended and debated, peacefully, in the “world of ideas.” His rationale that Charlie Hebdo bore a responsibility for yesterday’s atrocity is more direct and honest than those who argue that certain subjects should be protected from satire, and that satirists need to qualify by race, gender and class before they take aim at these sacred cows.
The righteous illiberals who slammed Charlie Hebdo and now shout his name don’t want to be him. They’re not brave enough.
In 2012, Charlie Hebdo journalist Laurent Leger told CNN:
“In France, we always have the right to write and draw. And if some people are not happy with this, they can sue us, and we can defend ourselves. That’s democracy. You don’t throw bombs, you discuss, you debate. But you don’t act violently. We have to stand and resist pressure from extremism.”
You don’t need a minute’s silence and to turn the lights off. You need to make a lot of noice and to set the lights to full power.