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Je Suis NOT Charlie

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mark John Maguire       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   40 comments

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In the next few days we will hear much from politicians and the mainstream media about the importance of the freedom of the press following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. On the face of it this seems quite a reasonable response to such an outrage; yet time and again we see that the greatest enemies of press freedom are the former and that the latter expend most of their energies on using such freedom to spin out propaganda on behalf of the former! The right of a rather unpleasant French magazine to publish anti-Islamic cartoons may be defended, but it is an uncomfortable thing to hold up as a symbol of press freedom, even if it is a true measure of a society's freedom how it tolerates opposing views. Of course, it is also widely understood that there is a fine line between freedom of expression and incitement to religious, racial or cultural hatred, but Charlie Hebda has strayed some way over the wrong side of that divide.

Islamaphobia is gathering strength in the Western world and this polarisation of cultures suits a variety of interests on both sides of the divide. That is not to say that the actions of the (presumed) Islamists who have murdered at least 10 of the Charlie Hebdo staff can be justified in any way -- they cannot -- but had a group whose motive was, for instance, anti-semitic in nature, been attacked in a similarly murderous way, would they have been so stoutly defended? They might be -- and yet one doubts this and a sneaking suspicion persists that politicians and media find that the Charlie Hebdo attack fits the prevailing anti-Islamic narrative -- and it accords happily with the West's aggressive foreign policies in the Muslim world. It should also be said that there is something very unedifying about the expressions of outrage from Western governments over the murder of several journalists when the murder of so many innocent women and children in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan et al has been regarded with such silence.

Yes, it is inexcusable to exact such a terrible revenge upon the Charlie Hebdo staff -- but we should not seek to sanctify the peddlers of religious and cultural hatred either. Moreover, so that we may not be open to accusations of hypocrisy, we should also condemn with equal vigour those amongst us who have wreaked havoc upon so many Muslim nations in recent years.
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I was educated at the University of Manchester, Swansea University and the Polytechnic of Wales, where I studied History, Philosophy and Intellectual and Art History (MA). I have lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Holland and the UK as a (more...)

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