I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I’m not a racist, I’m not an Islamophobe (whatever the hell that is) and I’m not a member or supporter of the BNP or the EDL or any of its offshoots. But I am deeply concerned when human beings can’t speak their mind or make a few gags due to the threat of violence.
The offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, were bombed on 2 November 2011 by proponents of the religion of peace on account of supposedly unfavourable treatment of that religion (is there ever any other kind of treatment?) by the magazine: in reference to the electoral victory in Tunisia of an Islamist party, the magazine was temporarily renamed Charia Hebdo and Islam’s humble, peace-loving, so-called prophet was named as guest editor. The cover had a picture of Mohammed with a speech bubble in which he threatened:
“100 lashes if you don’t die laughing.”
And then, just as predictably and rapidly as bowel movement follows vindaloo, there was a violent explosion.
Such murderous acts, so clearly inspired by and committed in the name of religion, make me wonder who needs Satan when a god can motivate his flock to behave like this. Even Satan must squirm and raise an eyebrow at this stuff, and he’s more than entitled to query whether he’s been unfairly treated through history.
Like Joan Smith, I find it disturbing that this received so little attention in the media. Clearly, there were more important things happening, such as:
- An adulterous, overpaid professional player of ball games allegedly saying “fucking black cunt” to a fellow professional player of ball games (and as Rod Liddle hilariously points out here, it’s weird how the first and third words cause such little controversy these days).
- Sir Jimmy Savile dying.
- A poor European country with a voluntary tax system and high levels of corruption amongst its public officials experiencing – inexplicably – economic problems, and whose Prime Minister is – again, inexplicably – acting in the utmost bad faith.
Each of these is apparently more deserving of scrutiny than the enforced violent censure of a supposedly free press by men with the combined intellect of a volcanic rock and whose objective is the establishment of a global theocracy through violence.
The lack of press attention itself represents a victory on the part of the Islamists: Beardie & Co. don’t need to bomb all the newspapers because many of them have playfully rolled over and censured themselves.
The lack of reporting can be attributed to other publications thinking along one or more of the following lines:
- We don’t want to report this too heavily – and we definitely don’t want to reprint the images – in case it looks like we’re siding with Charlie Hebdo, because the crazies will firebomb us next.
- Charlie Hebdo are stupid for running this. Whilst we don’t condone violence, of course, you have to reap what you sow.
- Charlie Hebdo are being disrespectful. We, on the other hand, are respectful, tolerant, faith-aware and responsible, and we don’t do things like this.
The three reasons can all be summarised in one word: fear. Even the third one, which is ostensibly founded on respect, is founded on fear. Respect is given freely, not on pain of violence. And I find the second one particularly unpleasant because it is the equivalent of blaming a rape victim for wearing a short skirt, or for being good-looking, or for just existing.
Fear is a powerful thing and we can’t ignore it or expect others to take risks which we might not. But the least the media can do is have some intellectual and moral honesty and admit that their actions or inactions are driven by the fear of death, rather than perpetuating the lie that it’s driven by respect. You can’t deal with a problem until you acknowledge what the problem is.
I hadn’t heard of this magazine before but I have now and I have huge admiration for the bravery of its editor and staff – and I do mean bravery, not stupidity. They refuse to be muzzled and are now running another piece featuring a gay muslim kiss, under the coverline, “Love is stronger than hate”. As Jon Stewart of The Daily Show once said:
“If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values – they’re hobbies.”
On a similar note, I hate the word passion with a passion because it is indulged with hideous overusage and now simply means a liking or even just preference for something. Watch any reality freak show, or a celeb-heavy cookery programme, and notice how often you hear it. As Nigel Slater spunks in his pants during his latest episode of television food porn, whilst telling you how this or that food works and how he’s using pancetta but that you, low person, are mercifully granted His permission to use bacon, the word crops up again and again like the bloody weeds in my garden.
At some point during our uneventful, vacuous, greedy, consumerist lives we have forgotten that the word passion should be used to articulate our feelings towards things that really, really matter. Like freedom of speech. When someone asks you what you’re passionate about, for fuck’s sake don’t say food. Say freedom.
If you are curious for more knowledge about the ever-so-subtle Islamic Inquisition that you live under, I strongly recommend reading Bruce Bawer’s magnificent but spine-chilling book, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom.
Here is one of the quotes at the beginning of that book, spoken by Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the National Press Club in 2007:
If the press won’t stand up for a free press, we’re all fucked.