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Charlie Hebdo, Freedom & Responsibility

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Hamid Abbasi     Permalink
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From Je suis Charlie * Nous sommes tous Charlie...!!!!!!!
Je suis Charlie * Nous sommes tous Charlie...!!!!!!!
(image by jacilluch)

A tragedy, a massacre and above all, another reflection of how intolerant and insecure this globe has become, which we see as interconnectivity and interdependence. The barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo should not be limited to "Who Killed? Where did they Flee? Were they trained or not?". A debate, if we see it as a starting point toward developing a universal harmony among all inhabitants of this planet, should commence from the notion of "Your Freedom vs My Sentiments".

Modern publishing, reporting, philosophy, research is indebted to the scholars and visionaries across generations, ethnicities, nationalities and religion. In history, it is referred to as "Renaissance" by some and "Golden Age" by others. In terms of norms and moral standards, a person in Morocco cannot take the honor away from Shakespeare, nor can a soul in Paris negate the existence of Avicenna of Persia. For the discovery of our existence, and mutual understanding on this planet has been credited to us all, and so should it remain. Hence, for the debate over "Freedom of Expression or Speech" to be limited to the discretion of the "West" or "Developed World" contradicts the basic spirit which has powered minds across the globe against ignorance and illiteracy for generations.

Charlie Hebdo is a glowing example of fault lines which are not only dividing East from West. It is where the battle of inter and intra religious harmony is lost to the few who believe in sword and might to overcome obstacles. I have searched for a literature of hate or non-tolerance from the time documents have been kept, and to my great relief, that is not what is handed down to us or those before us, irrespective of geography, religion or nationality. What has been celebrated and acclaimed remains the work oriented toward the common good, harmony, science, literature, history and so on. The genesis of this massacre may well be traced to the patronage and celebration of "Freedom of Speech" over the devastation of the sentiments of millions, aside from whether it was a Muslim, Christian, Jew or a Hindu on the receiving end. These are not medieval times, where norms and standards could not be set . If "Freedom of Expression or Association" has become so central to our newly defined paradigms, why then do nations impose ethics and responsibilities on citizens? A wider debate may emerge on the crackdown on nationals travelling to Syria to join "Jihad".

The cost of freedom is responsibility, whatever the manner or form. Charlie Hebdo chose a line of action which they deemed different, attractive or constructive. But let us not forget that millions in Africa and Asia die of famine, war or disease, with no or little reflection in print or an electronic publication. I came across John Swinton's ideas on an "Independent Press" and I borrow a few lines

"We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes."

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The last terminology can be rightly translated as "Intellectual goofs", as our century and the one gone by have exploited the fault lines rather than redressing them. The world today is more volatile, more intolerant and less accommodating. The bullets that took away the life of the exceptionally talented members of the Charlie Hebdo team were shot against all humanity, and there is no justification for that. The killers deserve no classification or grouping, just the label of "International Terror Operators" and they deserve eradication so that no future life is lost in this manner. However, it is time to give respect, observe norms and based on this, enjoy our freedom of expression.

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Holds a Masters Degree in International Relations. Been engaged with Development Sector from the past 5 years. Field of expertise and interest remain international political dimensions, current affairs, Pakistan affairs etc

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