As the story unfolds about the savage gun rampage in Paris at the Satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”, it becomes increasingly clear that those speaking out about the event are focused on the issue of free speech. This cowardly group of gunmen are hiding behind the idea of being offended by cartoons to excuse their murderous behaviour.
How can we accept this kind of nonsense in this day and age – the right to free speech is something everyone talks about but the reality is that we don’t have the freedom as there is always someone who will shout louder and more viciously than you can express yourself. In Western Europe especially we are constantly on edge when discussing any issue seen as contentious. From Rape to Islam, Rights to Immigration we will always find those who will staunchly defend themselves on both sides – this attack today shows that there are those who will do it in an even more aggressive way.
It is claimed that the gunmen shouted “we have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” as they killed cartoonists and writers in the office. With a dozen dead and a further ten injured this is an overreaction beyond comprehension. All because they dared to tweet a cartoon of the Islamic State militant group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Really? We are all aware of how pathetic and weak the excuses are already with IS and their ongoing fight with everyone around them but this is the first real attack on this side of the continent and only a couple of hours after the tweet appeared on their feed. This wasn’t a long-planned attack (even though they were firebombed previously for publishing a caricature of Muhammad) but a spontaneous one that shows us these idiots are all around us.
While everyone will always demand the right to freedom of speech, increasingly we find ourselves staying quiet “just in case” we offend anyone. From hacking Sony and interrupting the release of a film about the North Korean Leader Kim-Jong Un or today’s barbaric actions there are those who want to silence the world in any criticism of them. It’s impossible to achieve this and it does make you think how lucky we are in our democracy that we can challenge and question everything in our own system.
Thoughts are with all those affected by this callous action and hope that it doesn’t stop satirists, cartoonists and others from holding up a satirical mirror to the world.
If you are offended then tough – not everyone will agree with things that are said and done but just because you feel aggrieved doesn’t mean that you are right.
Don’t like it? Then tough; fuck off and dry your eyes.