Monday, 12 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie

I feel very uneasy about this. What happened last week in the city of my birth was dreadful. But in my opinion, when people play with matches they get their fingers burned. I saw most of the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo--I didn't know any of them, but some of them were regulars at our local, just down the road from their offices.
A few years ago I was offered a contract to publish 'Maurice Chevalier' in France, but was told by the publisher that I would have to remove certain comments about his private life. When I objected, the editor told me, 'We don't have the same freedom of speech here as you do in England. We don't like offending people.'
One year ago there was a 'comedy' sketch on television which showed Jesus on the Cross, and as a well-known comedian passed by, he asked Jesus if he wouldn't mind offering him hand-relief. I was so appalled that I called the station and was told, 'Chill out--we don't take religion that seriously here.'
Other religions are different, and I respect them for this. Not only do they have a religion, they have a culture, and they take their faith very seriously. Those who carried out the atrocities in Paris last week committed an unpardonable act, but so did the ones making fun of their spiritual leader by continuing to draw offensive cartoons which had already seen them requiring police protection after their offices had been firebombed. The wronged party should have sued the magazine, and bugger so-called freedom of speech and have it shut down. Now, because of their defiance, twenty people are dead, and it has cost France--a country whose economy is struggling the same as everyone else's--millions of euros in a police hunt. Then it was followed by a similarly expensive march which, though profoundly sincere so far as the 2 million were concerned, was led by a bunch of hypocrites, some of whom inflamed the cultural problem in the first place by sticking their noses where they didn't belong.
Now, Charlie Hebdo is planning on publishing a million copies of their magazine this week, and no one dares criticise them for this. Do they honestly think that this is not going to inflame an already inflammatory situation even more? Do they and the powers that be have any sense at all?  
And before the feminists and other educationally challenged bigots begin drawing their spears, because their only way in life is to persistently mistake shit for pudding, I do NOT support terrorism, or rape (the Ched Evans hatchet debate rages on) or any form of violence. I do however support common sense. If I was beaten up by skinheads in a darkened alley, I would make sure that I never walked down that alley again.

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