Je Suis Humaine!
I am Charlie. But above all else I am human. And I try to be open-minded and tolerant and democratic.
As with many. I watched in horror and amazement as the awful events in Paris and elsewhere in France unfolded over the last couple of days.
But, as I reflect today it is my hope that the spirit of Charlie Hebdo survives and that the world turns its back on the anti-Islamist and anti-Muslim rhetoric spouted by the likes of that vicious little man, Rupert Murdoch, who no doubt now will be issuing a grovelling apology to News Corporation’s second biggest shareholder, Saudi royal Al-Waleed bin Talal.
And the same can be said of the fundamentalist Christian redneck mid-American reaction filling the blogosphere and other social media, calling for an uprising and a shock and awe Crusade against the Islamic world, with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloping to the defence of Christianity clad in the white robes of the Klu Klux Clan, no doubt.
You are no better than the terrorists. Two wrongs do not make a right.
It terrifies me that in modern, multi-cultural Europe we can react in such a negative and extreme manner as the Pegida anti-Islamist protests in Dresden, Germany and elsewhere, reminiscent of Nazi anti-Jewish fervour of the 1930s. We attack mosques. We disrespect the robes of modesty worn by women in our streets. We meet hatred with more hatred.
The extreme political right should not be allowed to gain ground as aresult of this attack. Those fools at UKIP should not be beneficiaries.
I think radio presenter James O’Brien has the correct perspective.
These were terrorists. Nothing more, and a lot less. Yes, they murdered in the name of Islam. But it was a warped, medieval, flawed, and incorrect version of Islam. They no more represent the views of Muslims everywhere than I do the views of Anglo-Saxon white men around the world.
Muslims no more need to apologise for the actions of these madmen, than I do for the slavery of my forebears, the carpet bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, or Protestant atrocities in Ireland.
To kill a cartoonist for ridiculing the Prophet is plain stupid. If you want us to stop ridiculing you, stop doing ridiculous things! Do we really think that the world would be a much better place if we executed Ian Hislop? (actually, ignore that remark…..).
I would like to think that a God – yours, mine, or anyone’s would be big enough, divine enough, and powerful enough to turn the other cheek, and forgive those who affronted them.
The world religions seem to me to have much more in common than the differences between them. It is men and women that twist the words and their teachings to excuse their own behaviours and barbarism. It is men who invoke religion to justify war.
Let us hope that the words of Edward Bulwer-Lytton:”The pen is mightier than the sword”, prove to be correct. Freedom of speech has to prevail. Tolerance must win through.
And we should also retain a sense of perspective. Seventeen people were killed by these fools and a nation was terrorised. The dead included two Muslims – one a cartoonist, the other a police officer.
But, in the same amount of time Boko Haram two thousand massacred in Baga, Nigeria on the Chad border. Yesterday, another terrorist attack in Yemen killed thirty seven. How many more died in Iraq and Syria and in Palestine?
Where was the news coverage of those atrocities? Where were the demonstrations of solidarity for these victims. Or, do we only worry about terror when it is knocking at our own door…..
Oui je suis Charlie, mais surtout je suis humaine…