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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/10/15

Response on charlie hebdo

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Message Sally McMillan

I think Richard Seymour has a point, but it doesn't go far enough. Does freedom of speech mean we can say and print and show whatever we want regardless of how racist or insulting or false it is towards somebody else? With every right comes a responsibility.

The movie ""The Interview" by Sony , besides being a poor movie, was an attack upon North Korea's president and a gross violation of responsible speech, not to mention poor judgment. Like the Danish cartoon of a few years ago, the speech of the French newspaper was an attack upon the prophet and the beliefs held dear by many. Irresponsible. Both justify their speech as satire. Is this kind of satire responsible, especially in today's tense world situations? What does it say about the judgment of the people engaging in it, let alone those who support it?

We certainly don't support the killing of these journalists. Why did they do this? We don't have a final answer on that yet, but as a nation we have approved "retaliation" as a response to actions we don't like. Our president continually announces that we will retaliate on anybody who does something that hurts or irritates us. Retaliation is always Israel's excuse for attacks on Palestinians. Are these people who attacked Charlie retaliating for the insults the paper prints about their prophet and the beliefs they hold dear?

It seems that retaliation is accepted when undertaken by states.The difference is that now individuals are starting to practice retaliation, too. They object to being insulted, being discriminated against, being repressed. So they respond with their methods of retaliation. We call these people terrorists. Is there also state terrorism?
Maybe it's time to substitute some other methods for retaliation. Maybe nations could lead the way by their example. How about showing respect for each other, practicing responsibility in what we say and do, engaging in dialogue when differences or conflicts arise? There 's a lot of reflection needed and questions to answer.

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Sally McMillan is a mother, a grandmother, an activist and a writer. She's from Philadelphia, Iowa, and now Albuquerque. She has four children and 12 grandchildren.

She is a graduate of Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia PA (more...)

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