When is free speech acceptable

The first week of January 2015 saw some pretty abysmal murders. The French satirical paper lost 6 of its workforce by gunmen who were a couple of days later killed by police. A sort of die by marksman if you want, considering the way they charged the police at the end. Really sad.

Charlie Hebdo was a cartoonist who ridiculed just about every faith, not just Muslims.

“Staff from the satirical newspaper also vowed to continue with their work and confirmed further details of the new edition headed by Mr Luzier is out tomorrow. Mr Luzier, who escaped the massacre because he had overslept by half an hour, described crying after he drew the picture. He said: ‘We are cartoonists and we like drawing little characters, just as we were as children.”

Well that cartoon again depicts the Muslim Prophet Mohamed…. which of course was the very reason that the gunman said they were killing! He confirmed, apologetically: ‘Yes, it is Muhammad.’

I personally have been for almost all my life a non believer, not quite understanding how this bogy man in the sky could exist by letting some people suffer so badly.

I guess I have this idea that there may be something there, but the current religions that I see have little to offer me as a free thinking person. Perhaps Buddhism is the closest where specifics are not made and a very general set of rules focusing on the good will to all men theme.

I do however have an interest in religious practices, and in another world at a different time and place I guess I could have followed one faith or another.

Charlie Hebdo first appeared in 1970 as a successor to the Hara-Kiri magazine, which was banned for mocking the death of former French President Charles de Gaulle. Some how it seems that free speech to the French satirical publishers includes being able to make fun of the death of a very famous leader.

In 2006 we had the now famous “”it’s hard being loved by jerks” again referring to Mohamed, In response, French President Jacques Chirac condemned “overt provocations” which could inflame passions. “Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided”, Chirac said.

If its essential to insult men’s faith it is not a satirical piece, its offensive and should be a off limit area.

The french justify these insults under freedom, and the rest of the world rally to their call, even though 99 percent of sensible news papers would never print an article or cartoon coming from these so called journalists.

As always with freedoms and the power contained in the pen, it is necessary to have great sensibility that goes with the responsibility of power that you wield.

Charlie did not exercise that responsibility, as real free speech is never acceptable nor allowed today in any shape or form, its the illusion that it is that attracts.


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