My Thoughts On – To Be Charlie Or Not To Be Charlie

In Answer to “To Be Charlie Or Not To Be Charlie”

First let it be said I take no side with Charlie Hebdo and their cartoonist. I have never seen one of their cartoons and have so far successfully kept my browsers from going to their site or any other looking for such.

I have been following the blog, Citizen of an Idiocracy from where this post comes from for about a year and find the writing insightful and it as over this time given me many reasons to think about how my own basis work. This is true for this article as well. I write this because I think the initial piece is worth exploring further and so I hope my words are found to be has respectful as my intention is.

At the end of the second paragraph, or is it the third the comment is made “And in a Free World, I shouldn’t have to.” In this I would respectfully disagree. In a free world we do have to. I understand none of us wants to see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that we find disagreeable. But what is it that makes us free?

The author makes a valid point later in the post by asking us “Is Hate Speech the Essence of Free Speech?”, and I would answer no. Hate speech is not what free speech is about. So why do I feel that in a free world we have to put up with things we find disagreeable, i.e. Hate Speech?

I would ask which of the following two ideas makes us free, or conversely which of the two chains us, to hear an others opinion, that goes against everything we hold dear, or to be forced to silence ones own opinions? Of the two, forcing others to be silent, in my mind, causes the greater harm to all society.

This leads to the second point in this article I would expound on, the issue of offence. Later in the post the author ask us to think about offending. He brings up how the writings of Charlie Hebdo and that it’s “object of depicting a naked Muhammad is to offend” and in the next paragraph adds “If the object is to offend all Muslims…” It is my understanding that as free people we are held to a standard were we are responsible for our own actions. Those others, Charlie and the gang, do not control us. Is that not the meaning of being free, that we have control of ourselves? If so then is it not true that one does not give offence, one takes offence?

Yes the words of these my go against everything we believe however that cannot be used as justification for violence or even for that matter for forcibly silencing these people. Remember the person we silence today might be the person we are tomorrow.

In a free world we will all need tougher skin.

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

Citizen of an Idiocracy

Charlie Hebdo isn’t dead. It has been hijacked.

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie is trending. About this surge in support, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonist Bernard Holtrop has said, “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.” He added that this newfound fame was laughable and was coming from people who had never seen an issue of Charlie Hebdo before the shootings shot it into Internet stardom.

"We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends" - Bernard Holtrop, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist. “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends” – Bernard Holtrop, Charlie Hebdo cartoonist.

Statutory Distancing From Terrorist 

I try to imagine the horror of Charlie Hebdo’s journalists and editors in their last moments …and it sends a chill down my spine. I think of the newspaper office that I used to work in as a lowly sub-editor for a monthly salary of US$50. It was a matter of passion: to write, to report and to…

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3 thoughts on “My Thoughts On – To Be Charlie Or Not To Be Charlie

  1. Pingback: To Be Charlie Or Not To Be Charlie | Citizen of an Idiocracy

  2. Dear Carl, thank you for a respectful post. As I’m deleting hateful comments from my blog / social-media – your post is quite the window for a civil dialog.
    These are difficult times for Muslims too, who are no less victimized or saddened by these mindless attacks. Terrorist attacks stem neither from Faith, nor from Strategy. Even a Hezbollah leader has asserted that ‘the terrorists are more offensive to Islam than the cartoons’.
    As you must’ve noticed, I have not attempted to justify violence or advocated silencing of dissidents (see: statutory distancing paragraph). I agree that your argument that ‘we must live with the Agreeable AND the disagreeable in a Free World’ is more valid than mine. Point taken.
    I take slight issue with your second argument. There should be limits to Free Speech. We’ve seen only the least offensive materials from Charlie till now. But, as the NPR reports, a comprehensive display of Charlie’s materials goes well beyond most media organizations’ policy on offensive material. Most outlets have decided not to post the most offensive ones. You’ll see I accepted the ‘ISIS beheading Muhammad’ cartoon as potent social commentary.
    We live in societies where Rights are divorced from Responsibilities. Hence the need to curb Holocaust Denial. Hence the criminalization of Snowden. Hence the plea to not post videos of the murder of Ahmed Merabet. Hence my contention that some taunting is needless and merely hate-mongering guised as Free Speech. Yes, one is free to depict a naked Prophet. Or describe a differently-abled person as a ‘retard’. Or call a sexually active woman a ‘whore’. But such unbridled ‘Freedoms’ would mean a return to a Hobbesian State of Nature.
    I found your arguments valuable and insightful. So, I have pasted a link to this post in the original. May peace be upon you.

    • I did see in this post and others of yours that you have never condoned the senseless violence that we see around us for every sort of ism or ist.
      As to your idea on limits to free speech, I understand where you are trying to lead me and my only problem is where do we draw the line, and when we do draw the line, who is just enough, un-biased enough that he can act as guardian of that fine line.
      In the end while I stand by my original thought I do at the same time feel as you that senseless, unbridled taunts, that do nothing to bring about a truly universal brotherhood and who’s only intent is to drive another wedge between people should not be condoned. I will stand up on that side of argument if I must, but would prefer to be long suffering in this regard.

      Thank you for your words and blessings.

      Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

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