Je Suis Charlie

This post was prompted, obviously, by yesterday’s murder of the Charlie Hebdo journalists, apparently by Islamist fanatics. Now some people felt that Charlie Hebdo went out of its way to offend Muslims, this is not true. Charlie Hebdo went out of its way to take the Mickey out every one. It didn’t matter whether you are a Catholic, a Jew, a Protestant, a Buddhist or especially a French politician, you will find something in the magazine to offend you. Do a Google Image search for Charlie Hebdo and you will see what I mean.

The attack yesterday was an attack on freedom of speech. It was an attempt by people who believe that their god would approve of wiping out anyone who disagrees with them. It was an attempt to silence all criticism of their fanatical death cult. The sad thing is that it may work after a fashion. Newspaper editors, columnists and cartoonists may think twice before publishing something, though I think that Steve Bell hits exactly the right tone in today’s Guardian:
Steve Bell 08.01.15

We need to keep pointing and laughing at these people. I know that what they do is not particularly funny, but it is ridiculous.

The post was also prompted by a couple of things that Billy Bragg said on Facebook.

Yesterday he just left this quote:

“Fanaticism is a monster that pretends to be the child of religion” Voltaire

I can basically agree with that, though I am not so sure about the word pretends, bastard child possibly, but this sort of fanaticism stems from a particular understanding of religion. Whether its out working is the killing of twelve journalists in Paris, flying an aeroplane into the World Trade Centre or murdering abortion providers in Alabama, the problem is religion and actions that can be justified by a selective reading of a holy book.

A woman called Rekha Kodikara posted this in response;

Je suis Charlie

Just because I believe in religion
Does not mean it is sacred

Just because I believe in God
Does not make me holy

Just because I speak
Does not mean I am right

Just because I am silent
Does not mean I agree

Just because I criticise
Does not mean I hate

Just because you are angry
Does not mean I fear

Just because I think
Does not mean I am free

Just because you pray
Does not mean you are blessed

Just because you kill
Does not mean I will hide

Just because you threaten
Does not mean I will surrender

Just because there is religion
Does not mean we are happy

Just because there is God
Does not mean we live in peace

Hate is ruled by fear
Fear is governed by ignorance
Ignorance can lead to dogma
And Dogma can lead to death

Freedom from Fear
Je suis Charlie

I don’t know if she is Christian, Muslim, Bahai or what ever but it does make a poetic case for good religion.

Today Billy said this;

I was rather disappointed by the number of people who responded to the Voltaire quote I posted yesterday by seeking to blame people of faith for the massacre carried out in Paris. When you say that religion is the problem here, you condemn all believers, just as the fundamentalists condemn all non-believers.

Multiculturalism means having respect for things that you yourself don’t subscribe to. The killers yesterday were intolerant of those who had different views to their own. In times of outrage, intolerance becomes contagious. We must guard against those who wish to punish all Muslims and people of colour for the crimes committed yesterday.

I have no wish to target people of colour or Muslims in revenge for yesterday’s attack on Charlie Hebdo. Similarly because I do not feel the need to apologise for every white racist attack, I do not necessarily expect every Muslim in the world to apologise for this.
Having said that, all religions are based on a false premiss, some like wooly Anglicanism, Sufi Islam and Zen Buddhism seem to be fairly benign, others like the Salafist form of Islam seem to be anything but. I see no reason why I should be prepared to tolerate this in the name of multiculturalism any more than I should tolerate the racism of Britain First, rampant homophobia or sexism.


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