Saturday, January 10, 2015

Can we please learn the right lesson from the killings in Paris?

Please take a look at this disgusting image from a German magazine:



It says, "You cannot murder our freedom!"

It deliberately depicts a crazy looking person meant to be Muhammad sitting in a bathtub of blood.

Is this a mature, reasonable manner in which to respond to this recent situation in Paris?  No. It is a childish, malicious and racist way to respond. It encourages hatred toward the Muslim religion and does nothing to resolve the underlying tensions in France between the dominant culture and the new additions to French culture who are not being treated fairly.

"to play devil's advocate" is an expression in English which means that a person will make an argument that others will probably not like, but the argument has to be made if a person cares about the truth.

So I am going to play devil's advocate in regard to this recent situation in Paris where several followers of the religion of Islam killed several cartoonists from the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

So the magazine Charlie Hebdo often presented cartoons mocking (making fun of) the prophet Muhammad.  Why?  Can someone please tell me what purpose drawings of Muhammad naked or having gay sex might have accomplished? 

The argument I would like to make is that having the freedom to say anything you want to say does not mean you are obligated to say horrible things that will offend, harm and provoke other people.

What is especially troubling to me is that now everyone seems to feel cartoonists and writers should go out of their way to mock the prophet Muhammad, as a tribute to those cartoonists who died in Paris.  This is INSANITY. 

I would also like to please point out that in France the Muslim minority has been discriminated against and treated badly by the white, French dominant culture.  I would argue that the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo were RACIST in nature and meant to attack people who were different from the French and of a different color and culture.

I would argue that the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo were not free speech, but a form of racist hate speech.  Just because you have the right to say anything you want to say, this does not mean you are obligated to attack people of a different color and culture. 

Of course, there was no justification for the murder of the staff or the innocent people who were taken as hostages.  But please remember the quote: "You reap what you sow." If you put hatred, racism and anger out there, you will NOT receive kind-hearted consequences. If you sow hatred, please do not be surprised if you reap hatred. Unfortunately, what seemed to be continually racist and hate-filled images reaped a hatred far too extreme. 

What ever happened to the idea that we need to become the peace and the change that we wish to see in the world?  Charlie Hebdo was spreading peace and love?  No, they were attacking a sacred figure over and over and over again.  It became part of the way they made their living to attack the religion of a minority population of a people of color in France.

Freedom of speech does NOT mean that you have to attack people you do not like because of their race or religion.  The highest form of freedom of speech consists of addressing matters with civility and humanity. But it takes maturity and character to reach this level, and I do not see much maturity in the responses to this horrible attack that I am seeing in the news.

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