Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Queen Rania’s response to Charlie Hebdo — a difference of class

January 16, 2016

This was Charlie Hebdo’s tasteless, vulgar, crude, attempt at satire using the Aylan picture

what would little Aylan have grown up to be? image Charlie Hebdo

what would little Aylan have grown up to be? image Charlie Hebdo

This was Queen Rania of Jordan’s response on Twitter“a doctor, a teacher, a loving parent …….”

rania on twitter

Rania on Aylan by Osama Hajjaj

Rania on Aylan by Osama Hajjaj

A difference of class


Class is not appearance and it is not personality or charisma; it is a style and elegance of behaviour and a consistency of actions.

The freedom of hypocrisy

April 29, 2015

There is a fundamental human right which needs to be included in the UN Human Rights Convention.

And that is the inalienable human right to be freely hypocritical.

Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons – many in very poor taste – were an “expression of freedom of speech”. In fact very few of Hebdo’s cartoons are actually clever or funny though nearly all are smutty. (And it is their lack of any real intellectual content which makes me think that the PEN award to Charlie Hebdo may be a tribute to the 12 who were killed but it is certainly not for any journalistic excellence).

I must admit that I see no great insult to women generally in exhorting women who are potential customers for weight loss products to be “Beach Body Ready”. Or any insult to mis-shapen men like me in exhortations to get “magnificent abs” so that we can wear – and show off – our Calvin Klein underwear!

But how is it that the very same people who so strenuously defended Charlie Hebdo’s “rights” to publish material seen as insulting by others, now want this – to me rather inoffensive – advertisement to be banned? And banned on the grounds that it is insulting to women and sexist. I don’t much care for the colour of her bikini, and I think that anybody who believes weight loss advertisements is more than a little gullible, but I think the right of Protein World to earn their bread by advertising their products is absolute.

An insult may be meant or not, but it is only perceived in the mind of the receiver. And even when an insult is meant, but it is not perceived to be an insult, then it is no insult.

A Protein World advert displayed in an underground station in London. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the adverts removed.

A Protein World advert displayed at a London Underground station. More than 44,000 people have signed a petition to have the posters removed. Photograph: Catherine Wylie/PA

It is no different in principle to this

or this one

I suspect that just as with the lunatics who attacked Charlie Hebdo, the fault lies in the minds of those who are irrationally insulted.

You cannot kill for free speech but you have to be prepared to die for it

January 16, 2015

The Pope just said that, if the limits to free speech are exceeded, then violence is to be expected. In spite of his separate statement that violence in the name of God was never justified, he has effectively condoned a violent reaction if and when some limit to “free speech” is exceeded.

Pope Francis says freedom of speech has limits

Pope Francis has defended freedom of expression following last week’s attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – but also stressed its limits. The pontiff said religions had to be treated with respect, so that people’s faiths were not insulted or ridiculed.

To illustrate his point, he told journalists that his assistant could expect a punch if he cursed his mother.

But his handlers at the Vatican soon realised that he was effectively saying that at some level of perceived insult, a violent reaction was to be expected and, by implication, justified. They tried to put the cat back in the bag, but they cannot get away from the fact that even a playful punch at an assistant was, and was intended to, represent a violent reaction:

Yahoo News: The Rev. Thomas Rosica, who collaborates with the Vatican press office, issued a statement early Friday stressing that the pope was by no means justifying the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

“Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight,” he said in a statement.

He said Francis’ words were “spoken colloquially and in a friendly, intimate manner among colleagues and friends on the journey.” He noted that Francis has spoken out clearly against the Paris attacks and that violence in God’s name can never be justified.

Leaving aside this Pope’s attempts at populism, he does not address the fact that all organised religions – and not least Catholicism – are fundamentally opposed to and deny free speech. They are all concerned with telling, and imposing on their members, what to think and how to behave.

Those who like to quote Voltaire and his “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”, need to admit that what he actually said was not that “free speech” was a right, but that “free speech was worth dying for”.

It could be argued that the Pope was saying the same thing. You cannot kill for free speech but you have to be prepared to die for it. The terrorists in Paris were killing because they felt insulted not because they were for or against free speech. The Charlie Hebdo journalists died for their right to express whatever they wished.

(Sometimes I wonder why something so simple is made so complicated. Of course, every individual can say or express whatever he likes. And of course he must take responsibility for that. He is not immune to the consequences of what he says. The problem comes only when the “free speaker” demands immunity from any prosecution and protection from any unpleasant consequence. The risk of retaliation – whether legal or not – must be taken by the speaker. Equally, the retaliator has no “right” not to be offended. The offense lies in his mind and he must take responsibility for his actions.)

But the Pope is not alone in being confused. His confused message is just an example of the many confused responses to the brutal murders at Charlie Hebdo’s office and the Jewish supermarket in Paris. Initially, there was universal condemnation of the killings and the “Je suis Charlie” meme was used to show solidarity with the victims and as a manifestation of support for free speech.

But it soon became clear that the manifestations of support were not as simple and unified as all that. The Left were – in their confused minds – supporting free speech and condemning violence by Islamic terrorists. But by some mental calisthenics they were also showing solidarity with moderate Islam. The confused Prime Minister of Turkey went to Paris and stood arm-in-arm with Hollande and other leaders and then went home and condemned the journalists for their insults to Islam and for the new Charlie Hebdo issue. The confused members of Pegida suppressed their dislike of the media and joined the wave of manifestations, to demonstrate their opposition to the Islamicisation of Europe. For them the attack was proof of the evil in Islam. They tried not to show too much sympathy for the Jewish victims but focused on the evil attackers. A confused Barack Obama did not know what to do and so – as usual – did nothing. Confused orthodox Jewish papers removed all women from their pictures of the Paris manifestation. A confused Angela Merkel joined the Paris manifestation and then went home and joined a pro-Muslim demonstration for balance. A confused David Cameron joined the Paris manifestation and then was quick to point out that he was only against the Islamic terrorists.

Al Qaeda in the Yemen claimed that they were responsible.

After a few days, while the support for free speech in the face of Islamic barbarism continues as the main theme, the message has now started to be diluted. Charlie Hebdo had gone too far and the reaction – while not justified – was to be expected. In other words the irresponsible journalists were – to some extent – culpable. By their racism and irresponsibility they had invited retaliation. The co-founder of Charlie Hebdo accused the editor of dragging himself and others to their deaths. The Pope said much the same.

SalonThe previously ubiquitous hashtags of #JeSuisCharlie were suddenly replaced by declarations that “I am not Charlie Hebdo, and torn commentators searched for alternative symbols to cling to in the wake of tragedy, such as Ahmed Merebat, the Muslim police officer killed by the terrorists as they made their getaway.

In the matter of three days, the staff of Charlie Hebdo had transformed from heroic symbols of free expression to the latest in a long line of racists whose right to say what they say we’ll defend to the death, even if we don’t particularly like what they’re saying.

But the events of Paris were not about free speech. They were – primarily – about Islamic terrorists who killed to satisfy their warped and twisted view of the world. They killed innocent Jews in a supermarket and journalists with a rather juvenile sense of humour. And while the Islamic fanatics may not represent the main body of moderate Muslims, the fringe that is radical Islam exists where it does because the main body of Islam exists where it does.

And the origins of most of the Sunni Islamic extremism are still rabid Saudi Arabian clerics and Saudi Arabian money.

Who is Charlie?

January 13, 2015


Omslaget på tidningen Charlie Hebdos nya nummer, Charlie Hebdo och tidningen Liberations redaktioner. Foto: TT/AP och Charlie Hebdo.

The cover of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo and the newspaper Liberation editors. Photo: TT / AP and Charlie Hebdo (via Swedish Radio)


A protestor holds a poster showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing a head scarf in front of the Reichtstags building with a crescent on top and the writing "Mrs Merkel here is the people" during a rally of the group Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, in Dresden, Germany, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.

A record 25,000 attended the Pegida demonstration in Dresden on 12th January 2015 BBC/AP


Right-wing Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke

Right-wing Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke at the European Parliament 12th January 2015 BBC/Reuters

Nigel Farage the UKIP leader, who is a clown in many ways and on many issues, does have a point regarding integration (not immigration). It is not mass immigration – as he believes – but the blind worship of a soppy, separatist, “multi-culturism” which has removed the incentive and need for immigrants to integrate. The grooming rings of Pakistani immigrants and the attempted take-over of Birmingham schools have certainly been enabled – perhaps only partly – by the cowardly worship of “multi-culturism”. Like it or not, Europe is and will continue to be multiethnic. That requires the separate cultures to be subordinated to a single over-riding culture, which in turn has to be something new which evolves from the various new inputs. Immigration inevitably gives multi-ethnicity but it is the blind worship of multi-culturism which hinders integration. No doubt prejudice and racism also hinder integration but even here, the separatist nature of multi-culturism entrenches racism.

I love the fact that in the UK, chicken tikka massala has gone mainstream and I can get it at M&S and at the pub. But I am equally glad that the pub remains a pub and has not been converted into a dhaba. When I want channa – bhatura my favourite dhaba is in Handsworth, but thankfully that dhaba will never be a pub. There is a place for the dhaba to exist, but it is the pub serving the chicken tikka massala which is integration in motion.

(I shall leave my ranting about all organised religions for another time and another post).

It is not immigration but integration which is the real issue.

BBC: Mr Farage, leader of the anti-EU UK Independence Party, said mass immigration had “made it frankly impossible for many new communities to integrate”.

“We do have, I’m afraid, I’m sad to say, a fifth column that is living within our own countries, that is utterly opposed to our values,” he said.

He is quite correct that in Europe, the supporters of radical Islam are self-confessed fifth-columnists (defined as any group of people organised to undermine a larger group).

If Islam is not to be represented by its rabid killers ……..

January 7, 2015

The Paris killers are identified but still at large. But the wanton and savage attack upsets me and I cannot avoid that this post has become a bit of a rant.

It is a short step from a rational detestation of barbarous, young, bigoted and intolerant killers of any kind becoming Islampohobia, when the killers are all, once again, self-confessed followers of radical Islam. The radicalisation of young Muslims in Europe nearly always includes three factors:

  1. A rabid, supposedly religious, imam or mullah or self-anointed preacher, and
  2. an impressionable, immature young person (usually male), and
  3. a failure of parenting

Right now there are radical preachers revelling in the Paris attacks and congratulating the killers. These radicalised young Muslims in Europe are not poverty-stricken. Very often they come from fairly prosperous families. They are not uneducated or unintelligent but they are warped and twisted and brain-washed. When they are unemployed it is because they wish to be unemployed. (They differ from some of the right-wing fanatics of Europe who are often unemployable).

But if Islam is not to be represented by its killers then it is first the Islamic communities of Europe which have to drive out the rabid preachers and improve their own parenting to stop the conversion of their children into these murderous, hate-filled, savages. Merely wringing their hands and condemning these actions after the event is not enough. It is behaviour that counts.

The face of Islam today is the very real behaviour of ISIS, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, the Taliban and a host of similar jihadists together with the absence of actions (not just voices) from the Islamic community to prevent or eradicate the disease. It is high time that the moderate Islamic community realised that – like it or not – they are being defined by their most extreme, warped, fanatics. The demonisation of Islam will not stop as long as Islam does not rid itself of its demons.

Is it any wonder that Pegida is gaining strength in Germany?

I don’t care for any organised religions where preachers take it upon themselves to tell others what they are to believe.  But right now I find organised Islam (Shia and Sunni and Sufi and every jihadist faction) the easiest to despise.


Caroline Wyatt, BBC Religious affairs correspondent has just posted this:

The killings at Charlie Hebdo are a deeply unwelcome reminder to the west that for some, mainly young radicalised men, their fundamentalist interpretation of their religion matters enough to kill those who offend it.

As a result, across western Europe, liberally-minded societies are beginning to divide over how best to deal with radical Islamism and its impact on their countries, while governments agonise over the potential for a backlash against Muslims living in Europe.

Today, mainstream Muslim organisations in the UK and France have unequivocally condemned the killings, saying that terrorism is an affront to Islam.

But the potential backlash, including support for far right parties and groups, may well hurt ordinary Muslims more than anyone else, leaving the authorities and religious leaders in western Europe wondering how to confront violence in the name of religion without victimizing minorities or being accused of “Islamophobia”.

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