3 years ago today was quite possibly the day that summed up to a tee, just how far Religious Extremists would go to further their ridiculous agenda.
“On 7 January 2015 at about 11:30 local time, two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others. The gunmen identified themselves as belonging to the Islamist terrorist group Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, which took responsibility for the attack. Several related attacks followed in the Île-de-France region, on 7-8 January 2015. On 9 January 2015 was the Hypercacher Kosher Supermarket siege, where a terrorist murdered four Jewish hostages and held fifteen other hostages.”
Sourced from Wikipedia
I think back to that day and remember how, for just one day, everyone in the Western World seemed to be on the same page. Political lines were erased; there were no “Left v Right” arguements, no “SJW v anti-SJW” debates. The only thing that seemed to matter was that EVERYBODY knew that this was indefensible, and barely ANYBODY was trying to excuse the actions of these animals.
Free Speech was important and neccessary, including the right to ridicule Religion without consequence.
The sad thing was, it didn’t last long.
A week after the massacre, according to a report in The Telegraph (link here) the Journal du Dimanche newspaper in France ran a poll that showed that 4 in every 10 people polled thought that Charlie Hebdo had gone too far by publishing the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
4 in 10. Let that sink in for a moment.
Though I believe in God, I’m not a huge fan of organised religion. Put simply, I think it causes more problems than it solves. However, I DO believe in respecting the fact that people have strong beliefs and that when those beliefs are challenged or openly ridiculed, that those people will either defend them or ignore them. Do you believe every word of the Bible, the Quran or the Torah? All power to you; just don’t try and shove it down my throat and don’t try to hold me to the same moral standards as yourself.
Defending your religious beliefs through discussion and debate is one thing. Slaughtering people because they drew a cartoon of your Prophet is not a reasoned reaction.
Yet still to this day, people insist that Charlie Hebdo should not have published the cartoons. To me, that says everything about the mindset of the “Left” and the “Woke” of us in western society; ready and willing to mock Christianity for being out-dated and archaic, yet among the first to defend any kind of insult to Islam. Ask someone who thinks that the cartoons shouldn’t have been published, about the violence that followed and you’ll get a half-baked response consisting of “but it’s mocking their religion” and “they shouldn’t have killed them but…”
It reeks of cowardice and the inability to be able to say anything negative about religious extremism.
It also has a more chilling undertone to it:
It’s justifying the outcome.
Are we so cowed and afraid to stand up to religious extremists that we’re willing to gloss over violence and slaughter? Have we really digressed to the point where we can’t even poke fun at the things that seem to some as beyond credible?
You need look no further than the likes of Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel for an answer to those questions.
Free speech is the very foundation upon which any society should be built. It allows us to develop and progress; to express ourselves fully and bring popular AND unpopular ideas to the forefront of human discussion. It is essential for the progression of our population, as without it, we are surely doomed to die out as a species.
If you can mock one religion, then you can mock them all.
WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
You don’t have to like it. But you DO have to accept it.
At this moment, 3 years after the fact, I feel that as a society we can no longer say:
“Je suis Charlie”
But hopefully, with a little backbone, we can throw off the blanket of cowardice and fear and once again claim the right to be able to say:
“Nous sommes Charlie”.
“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”