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Reflections on the Charlie Hebdo attack

Je m'appelle Charlie, and to a small extent, Je suis Charlie Hebdo, although before this week I didn't know Charlie Hebdo existed. I'm a fan of cartoons, and I'm a fan of satire, but not really a creator of either one. Snark, I can do. Sarcasm, sure. Satire is advanced, though, and requires a commitment to art I've not yet found. I am reminded that I could use more of even the American versions, Mad and Cracked and even Funny Times in my life, even though I know they do not go anywhere as far as Charlie Hebdo goes.

This display of animosity over the principle of freedom of speech is simply amazing to someone who thought the issue was settled in the West over 230 years ago. We all think someone saying something that's funny or outrageous is nothing to get one's knickers in a twist. Just don't listen or read the things that offend you. Well, I thought everyone in certain countries would think that.

I have a problem with the idea that individuals would emigrate to a far country and then demand that the values they left at home still be enforced in the new place. But Europe is now in a sticky place as far as immigrants go, far worse than the U.S., especially with Muslim immigrants, or so it seems. Do they start enforcing a strict adherence to "our way or the highway" when it comes to their cultures? Or do they bend or even adapt to the newcomers?

Yet, it's possible that Charlie Hebdo merely made a convenient target. "Others, though, insist that the sources of the violence are alienation and resentment, not theology," says an article in today's New York Times, Raising Questions Within Islam After France Shooting. Which came first, the crime or a more subtle social issue? That's a discussion we've had in America about a number of different topics. We're not going to be able to ask the perpetrators of this week's outrages in Paris any questions, so it will take a long time to tease the answers out of the mess.

The difficult thing is realizing (continuing to realize) that we live in a world where violence comes out of the blue like this, and we have to work very hard to not simply let terrorism have its victory. We have to be wary without giving up our principles. Easier said than done, perhaps.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2015 03:00 am (UTC)
I'm all too aware of how the extremist Muslims are determined to impose their rules on EVERYONE.

I'm also too aware of how the world seems to be going to hell at an exponentially increasing rate.

Sad how our lovely little planet has been turned into a major crap fest by the greedy and the crazy.
Jan. 12th, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
Religious extremism in any form scares the life out of me.

Here in the US we have to contend with subtler forms of violence instigated by the Religious Right on a daily basis--not just attempts to coerce people into their "my way or the highway" beliefs, but with attacks via legislation on reproductive rights and any kind of social progress that they feel threatens their idealized vision of the traditional 1950's nuclear family...or perhaps 1850's...or keep counting backwards by 100's.

Until we can get Scalia off the SCOTUS, this will continue.

Feb. 5th, 2015 01:15 pm (UTC)
It's a difficult one. America has been branded as the 'Land of the Free' - yet what happened to the Native American's freedom? (And it took the blacks a while to get theirs). England has a perpetual stream of immigrants entering the country, but not the room or infrastructure to deal with them.

I do believe in the right of people (and publications) to express their views without fear of violence and, yet, I don't think mocking the deeply held beliefs of others is cool. And I do think that too many people are incapable of distinguishing between people who follow a particular religion and fundamentalists who distort it to their own ends.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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