Saturday, January 17, 2015

Je suis Charlie? Pardonnez moi, Non.

Here's your 'stupid sign'.

Radicals targeted a relatively unknown publisher and gave them world-wide attention. Mega-millions worth in advertising, virtually guaranteeing broad interest and success.

'Charlie' is a troublesome offshoot of western 'freedom of speech'.  (OK, you're free to speak your mind, but that doesn't excuse being inflammatory and callously thoughtless, publishing nude depictions of ... let's not go there.)

Make it real.  Say instead of a religious satire, they had been publishing insulting and disgusting cartoons belittling your children ... in the local newspaper and in fliers on their school grounds ...  and say it had been going on for years, despite your requests that they stop.  How deeply might you be offended?

From the Washington Post ...
"GENNEVILLIERS, France — Rather than fall quiet as requested during a national minute of silence last week, three boys in Hamid Abdelaali’s high school class in this heavily Muslim suburb of Paris staged an informal protest, speaking loudly through all 60 seconds.
Across France, they were not alone. In one school in Normandy, some Muslim students yelled “God is great!” in Arabic during that same moment. In a Paris middle school, another group of young Muslims politely asked not to respect the minute, arguing to their teacher, “You reap what you sow.”
Abdelaali, a 17-year-old high school senior who did observe the quiet minute, said he did so only because he was outraged by the killings in the name of his religion that were carried out at Charlie Hebdo — the satirical French newspaper attacked by Islamist extremists. But he also said he feels disgusted by a newspaper whose provocative cartoons had used the image of the prophet Muhammad for satire — and which continued to do so in its tragicomic first edition hitting newsstands Wednesday morning. “I know some kids who agreed with the attack,” he said. “I did not, but I also cannot say that I support what Charlie Hebdo is doing.”
Within France’s Muslim community of some 5 million — the largest in Europe — many are viewing the tragedy in starkly different terms from their non-Muslim compatriots. They feel deeply torn by the now-viral slogan “I am Charlie,” arguing that no, they are not Charlie at all.
Many of France’s Muslims — like Abdelaali — abhor the violence that struck the country last week. But they are also revolted by the notion that they should defend the paper. By putting the publication on a pedestal, they insist, the French are once again sidelining the Muslim community, feeding into a general sense of discrimination that, they argue, helped create the conditions for radicalization in the first place."
I am not Charlie.  Most are not Charlie.  I'm not a radical religionist either, nor are most others.

While we generally agree that terrorist violence isn't going to solve problems, we similarly agree that deliberately provoking another to anger won't either.

We have Muslim friends in Egypt and Kenya.  Time together and thoughtful conversations over the years have been profoundly illuminating.  We share common values, common goals for our children, common hope for our communities and the world.  And the last thing any of us would do is deliberately insult the other.