The following comes from a Jan. 9 story in the New Yorker magazine website.
…. The satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo has often been aimed at Muslims, and it’s taken particular joy in flouting the Islamic ban on depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It’s done more than that, too, including taking on political targets, as well as Christian and Jewish ones. The magazine depicted the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in a sexual threesome. Illustrations such as this have been cited as evidence of Charlie Hebdo’s willingness to offend everyone. But in recent years the magazine has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations, and its numerous anti-Islam images have been inventively perverse, featuring hook-nosed Arabs, bullet-ridden Korans, variations on the theme of sodomy, and mockery of the victims of a massacre. It is not always easy to see the difference between a certain witty dissent from religion and a bullyingly racist agenda, but it is necessary to try. Even Voltaire, a hero to many who extol free speech, got it wrong. His sparkling and courageous anti-clericalism can be a joy to read, but he was also a committed anti-Semite, whose criticisms of Judaism were accompanied by calumnies about the innate character of Jews.
This week’s events took place against the backdrop of France’s ugly colonial history, its sizable Muslim population, and the suppression, in the name of secularism, of some Islamic cultural expressions, such as the hijab. Blacks have hardly had it easier in Charlie Hebdo: one of the magazine’s cartoons depicts the Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, who is of Guianese origin, as a monkey (naturally, the defense is that a violently racist image was being used to satirize racism); another portrays Obama with the black-Sambo imagery familiar from Jim Crow-era illustrations.
On Thursday morning, the day after the massacre, I happened to be in Paris. The headline of Le Figaro was “LA LIBERTÉ ASSASSINÉE.” Le Parisien and L’Humanité also used the word liberté in their headlines. Liberty was indeed under attack—as a writer, I cherish the right to offend, and I support that right in other writers—but what was being excluded in this framing? A tone of genuine puzzlement always seems to accompany terrorist attacks in the centers of Western power. Why have they visited violent horror on our peaceful societies? Why do they kill when we don’t? A widely shared illustration, by Lucille Clerc, of a broken pencil regenerating itself as two sharpened pencils, was typical. The message was clear, as it was with the hashtag #jesuischarlie: that what is at stake is not merely the right of people to draw what they wish but that, in the wake of the murders, what they drew should be celebrated and disseminated. Accordingly, not only have many of Charlie Hebdo’s images been published and shared, but the magazine itself has received large sums of money in the wake of the attacks—a hundred thousand pounds from the Guardian Media Group and three hundred thousand dollars from Google.
But it is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech. It is possible to approve of sacrilege without endorsing racism. And it is possible to consider Islamophobia immoral without wishing it illegal. Moments of grief neither rob us of our complexity nor absolve us of the responsibility of making distinctions. The A.C.L.U. got it right in defending a neo-Nazi group that, in 1978, sought to march through Skokie,
Illinois. The extreme offensiveness of the marchers, absent a particular threat of violence, was not and should not be illegal. But no sensible person takes a defense of those First Amendment rights as a defense of Nazi beliefs. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were not mere gadflies, not simple martyrs to the right to offend: they were ideologues. Just because one condemns their brutal murders doesn’t mean one must condone their ideology….
The scale, intensity, and manner of the solidarity that we are seeing for the victims of the Paris killings, encouraging as it may be, indicates how easy it is in Western societies to focus on radical Islamism as the real, or the only, enemy. This focus is part of the consensus about mournable bodies, and it often keeps us from paying proper attention to other, ongoing, instances of horrific carnage around the world: abductions and killings in Mexico, hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year, internecine massacres in the Central African Republic, and so on. And, even when we rightly condemn criminals who claim to act in the name of Islam, little of our grief is extended to the numerous Muslim victims of their attacks, whether in Yemen or Nigeria—in both of which there were deadly massacres this week—or in Saudi Arabia, where, among many violations of human rights, the punishment for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging. We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others….
To read the original New Yorker story, click here.
The issues in Paris are that no one should be punished for what is not a crime under the law, nor by vigilantism, and that immigrants to an established society are obliged to play by the established rules, seek to alter them by peaceful means or go back where they came from. I do not care for the style of satire in Charlie Hebdo, but the perils of allowing the modern state more than a modicum of censorship authority are too well established by modern history.
Did Carlie Hebdo offend Pope Francisco?
As mentioned in the article, where is the outrage over the continued slaughter of innocent people in Nigeria? 2000 people were killed by the Mohammedan terrorist group Boko Haram in one day. And yet no one seems to care. 12 French atheist provocateurs are killed and the whole world weeps. France either must return to the Catholic faith or they are doomed.
As this article points out, as did Bill D. of the Catholic League, and others, the French newspaper was vicious in its hatred of Catholicism and other religions. Just because we think we are free to do something evil does not mean that it should be condoned by society. The French paper was much sinister than MAD MAGAZINE, and it is unfortunate that so many people came out to praise this modern day rag. As a very traditional Catholic pointed out, why are deniers of the Holocaust jailed, but the people who wrote for this paper are praised and glorified? It is because the world has abandoned Christ and His Church, and not listened to Our Lady of Fatima. Without God we act worse than animals and savage beasts.
Karl – France enjoys freedom of the press as do we in this country. If you do not like a publication then don’t buy it or look at it. You state the world has “abandoned Christ and his Church”. I think that in many respects the Church has abandoned us.
That is Father Karl. You are wrong Will, the Church did not abandon anyone. It was men within the Church who compromised and they abandoned the teachings of Christ’s Church and they told God that they knew better. France in many ways abandoned the faith. So have many in this country. The churches are empty in many places in the world. And now you want to blame that on the spotless bride of Christ. Blame the men and the women who thumbed their noses to God and Humane Vitae. Blame those such as yourself who are so riddled with pride that you still insist on being disrespectful to someone who represents Christ. Will, unless you’ve been in a cave, we are way past terrorists valuing the sanctity of life or caring about respecting others right to free speech. Father Karl is right. When man totally abandons the supernatural then it is only a short time before his actions become unnatural. We have not listened to Our Lady of Fatima. We now have the scourge or chastisement of Islamic terrorism in the world. Here is some free speech. Mother Theresa said that the downfall of America will come from the sin of abortion which is terrorism of the womb.
Catherine – First of all, I have no way of telling if Karl is a priest or not so I am being neutral and using his first name. Catherine, this is a discussion group and do you really expect people to use their real names. I think not.
You say the Churches are empty. Your right and do you know why? The answer is simple. Since V2 there has been no leadership, no guidance and we have been left alone. We have so called leaders like the AB of San Francisco who is no where to be found these days. We have the Pope that is traveling again when he should be speaking out against what is happening to Christians in the Middle East. He should have gone to Paris not Colombo or Manilla. Religion is the problem of this world and its about time all these so -called religious leaders sit down together and stop all this madness and that includes Rome & Tehran. One final comment, France has not abandoned the faith – the faith has abandoned France and the world and its time to get it back!!!
And what have you personally done WILL about your complaints ?
Are you contacting your own Diocese Bishop with issues when appropriate?
Are you contacting other Diocese Bishop(s) with issues when something involves their Diocese ?
Are you contacting the US Papal Nuncio in Washington DC as appropriate?
If you are not doing your own job, you should not expect others to do theirs.
This falls under taking the log out of your own eye prior to taking the splinter out of your brothers’.
Do your duty.
CCC: ” 907 In accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay people] have the right and even at times a duty
to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church,
and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful,
with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons.”
Also see Code of Canon Law: 212 #3.
Will is not the only one who falls into this category.
Father Karl is so right.
Without God man behaves worse than beasts. That is why God instructed the Hebrews in Dueteronomy 21:10-13 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites are allowed to take “beautiful women” from the enemy camp to be their captive wives. If, after sexual relations, the husband has “no delight” in his wife, he can simply let her go.
Further, this is why our kind and merciful God commanded the Hebrews in Dueteronomy 2 ;32-34—So Sihon and all his people advanced against us to join battle at Jahaz; but since the LORD, our God, had delivered him to us, we defeated him and his sons and all his people. At that time we seized all his cities and doomed them all, with their men, women and children; we left no survivor.
We are not defending the right to obscene and racist speech by protesting the terrorists killing human beings at the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo . We are defending the sanctity of all human life.
Charlie Hebdo operatives heaped obscene ridicule on everyone—except the Left.
They were obsessed with skewering religious leaders such as orthodox Jews, Jesus Christ, the Pope and the prophet Mohammed. They were agent provacateurs who no doubt thought they were better than the people whom they lambasted.
If I dislike my neighbors and I post obscene cartoons about them around the neighborhood—and I put my name on the poster as the responsible party, I better have a strong security system because I suspect they will naturally retaliate one way or the other. Those in the neighborhood with criminal records may consider physical harm, rather than respect me for my “freedom of expression.”
Folks at Charlie Hebdo underestimated their neighbors.
I presume you do not thereby condone such “lack of respect”. These radical Islamic crazies also target perfectly sober scholars like Christoph Luxemburg (pseudonym) who criticize their false prophet. Dante puts Mohammed in Hell. Should those who sell the Divine Comedy in their book stores be afraid of “natural retaliation”?
Tom , i think that in the case Al Qaeda’s approach to Islam, those selling the Divine Comedy should indeed be aware that they could be potential targets. Al Queda in Yemen has announced that the offense against Mohammed has been avenged, but then warned that if more offenses occur, more ‘judgment; will be in the offing.
How can you gloat over people being murdered?
mous: NOBODY here is gloating over people being murdered! Really? Here is what the Pope has come out and said: https://divacup.com/how-it-works/how-it-works/
Pope Francis has just stated that free speech does not include being disrespectful of one’s religious beliefs. I agree with him, but … At what point, however, does freedom of speech stop. Does it stop, for example as it is forbidden on college campuses today, where anything that might offend others is unacceptable? Does it stop when it is aimed at the head of governments? Except for the “yell fire in a crowded theater” limitation, where does freedom of speech stop? If I have free speech protection for “X”, will they take away your protection for your views on “Y”?
Pope Francis is not the end all in his daily speeches, although he is right that we should be respectful of others religions.
(Popes are not perfect, and neither was St Peter and the other 11 appointed Apostles. I believe Jesus did not appoint perfect men to teach us all a lesson – to think before we judge any statement.)
LAWS vary greatly across the earth, and Pope Francis does not know them all.
In the USA, we have the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; . . . .”
Regarding our FAITH we simply have to turn to the CCC:
# 1907, 2477, 2496, 2494.
The CCC is second only to the Bible.
No one is gloating over this, but some of us are sick to our stomachs over what Hepdo produced. What is in the picture in this article is mild compared to some other pictures he printed. I have seen worse pictures on other websites of what Charlie Hebdo’s group produced against the Catholic Church. All I can say is that it was vile, blasphemous gutter filth. Some pictures even blasphemed the Holy Spirit.
Correction to third line: “other pictures IT printed”.
Please not the disinformation slipped into the last paragraph: “. . . hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year.” Pure lie.
The Telegraph tallied 521 and has 504 names from June to August last year:
The CPJ counts 7 journalists/media killed in Palestine last year. The over a dozen number. Is that the pure lie?
Even by the Israeli Defense Forces’ own account, over half of the casualties in Gaza were civilian. The UN’s estimate is 69.1%, 30% of those children (hundreds).