Saturday, January 10, 2015

And Neither Are You

"We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends."-
Dutch cartoonist Bernard "Willem" Holtrop, Charlie Hebdo, Libération

needless ...
Je ne suis pas "Charlie".

I'm all for free speech ... our First Amendment ... Religious tolerance ... artistic Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ... and I feel Voltaire.

100%.  Unequivocally.  Deeply.  Fiercely.

BUT ... Despite these truths, held to be self-evident ... 

In the same way one doesn't walk through the streets, loudly swearing or screaming racial epithets ... shouldn't bash and attack, bully, name-call, defame ... wouldn't think (most of us) of insulting one's parents -- an elderly couple, the sick or disabled -- in overtly derisive or hurtful language, simply because we are "free" and we CAN ...

With these same social, civilized, common sense constructs, every culture, religion should be respected.

These filters were often missing in Charlie Hebdo - replaced by offensive antagonism and needless provocation ... not "in the name of", but rather, too often, confused with "freedom".

YES:  Unequivocally, deeply, fiercely - Charb, Cabu, Wolinski and Tignous, the four cartoonists killed in last week's barbaric, 12th century act of non-secular "vengeance", had every right to choose their battles, and (should have had) every freedom to wield their satirical depictions of whichever "intouchable" archetype they wished (whether it's "forbidden" to visually depict one of these, the Prophet Muhammad; or in fact, it's not).

But knowing the 'nothing to lose' hoplelessness and diseased mental functioning which informs fundamentalism, from abortion clinic bombings to Haredi violence to jihadi terror ... Simply put, Why go there?

If you know that what you do -- say, write, depict, draw -- can inflame ... and you choose to do it anyway, defying potential consequences -- announced, threatened consequences -- Are you to blame?

Put another way, perhaps more palatably:  to what extent do you share responsibility for what happens as a consequence of your informed disregard?

This is only food for thought.  In no way (it should go without saying) do I feel anything but revulsion, condemnation and hate in response to the cowardice, barbarism, intolerance and delusional idolatry of the Charlie Hebdo killers ... and all jihadists, terrorists, takers of life, regardless of the color of flags, gods or skin.
"Fuck You." - Charlie
But instead of inciting ... inviting, in fact, causing carnage ... provoking loss of life, dragging colleagues, neighbors, countrymen into what amounts to battles in war ... 

Why not stand down for a minute or two?  Use common sense.  Apply a filter ... not because you're 'forced to'.  But because you CAN.

That's the freedom it makes sense to choose.