Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Steerpike, Jan 7, 2015.
- George Orwell
Thoughts with Charlie Hebdo
I want to buy all their back issues. Are they translated into English?
I have other issues with Orwell's statement but I'll save them for another thread.
Reminds me after the Danish cartoon riots how many websites sprung up with Mohammad cartoons and all the historical depictions of Mohammad that were pointed out from 2,000 years of Islam.
I hope that their cartoons are printed in tomorrows papers as an appropriate defence of freedom of speech.
Some people we born a few centuries too late and would be more at home in the Dark Ages.
"Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect."
- Salman Rushdie, earlier today.
The bolded is the most important part for me because it speaks to the usurpation of the epistemology that affects all sides, theist and non-theist alike, in such a devastatingly negative way. Doing this (the attack on Hebdo) in the name if faith is to make a whore of one's faith.
A POV worth reading, not because it changes anything about today's attacks or the earlier riots against the Danish cartoons, but because it presents a different take on the satirical cartoons:
Slate: Depicting Mohammed - Why I'm offended by the Danish cartoons of the prophet.
The author, Reza Aslan, is an outspoken female Muslim. She speaks out against her own people more than speaking out against the West.
Obviously the reaction to the cartoons is the wrong thing, a bunch of animals reinforcing the stereotypes. They're ignorant idiots.
But we don't often think of the Mohammad satire as a form of racism.
I think satire, even satire that may appear on the surface to employ racist sterotypes, is more nuanced.
Related, a post from Neil Gaiman some time back on why we protect unpopular speech:
It's amazing the different, and often incompatible ways in which people classify and quantify other people. Here in PR it's perfectly normal and has significant meaning to be told that someone is "half Colombian and half Chilean". To me, as an American-raised latino, that just makes the person all latino. The admixture being pointed out is not something that registers on my sensor screen. It's like saying someone is half Canadian and half America. What? Do you mean dual citizenship? No, just that their mom is from Ottawa and their dad is from Omaha. What? What does that even mean?? Why are you telling me?? There is no useful data in that statement. Perhaps we don't see Mohammad satire as racism because we only link race and religion in a very limited way here in the West, so we just don't see it as something that's linked up. Further obfuscation may come in the form of The Shield Against Scrutiny enjoyed by religion in our culture that makes certain things un-talk-about-able in rational circles.
ETA: For example, you never see Islamic concepts pictured along-side people of South-East Asian descent, unless the thing being spoken of is happening in South-East Asia. Islam is hugely popular and practiced in that area of the world, but that's not the face westerners think of when we think of Islam.
I don't disagree, @Steerpike, about the true satire. But the article made me take a second look at this particular satire wondering if I had overlooked something.
Consider satire involving watermelons and blacks, or blacks depicted as huge lipped natives. We would recognize the racism right away even if there was some satirical intent. I just hadn't thought of the controversy over the Mohammad cartoons as racist, but I can see how they might be.
True. And I don't think you can go wrong taking a second look at things and thinking about them some more.
This is so sad and awful, not only because of the lives lost, but the attack won't do any favors to the already Muslim-prejudiced atmosphere in France (and elsewhere in the West). Although it's quite ironic that now such comics and imagery spread even wider. My FB feed is full of Je Suis Charlies and Mohammad caricatures.
I can see her point, but it also makes me wonder, in the end, did the terrorists attack Charlie mainly because they think their comics are racist, or because they criticize fundamentalist aspects of their religion (or show images of their prophet)..
I read an article yesterday that discouraged spreading videos and images of the attack because that plays into the terrorists' pockets. In essence, the point was we sow terror around us on their behalf.
Good point. These guys are brainwashed. But there might still be an underlying current of racism that is involved in the disenfranchisement that was a setup to the brainwashing.
I get angry watching all the talk about how well trained they were, what professional soldiers, how they held the weapons... all of it feeds the beast.
It also disgusts me to hear the talk of maybe the magazine went too far and our editors have decided not to reprint the pictures...
It might be a fine line between respect for a religious group and caving to terrorists but in this case, print the damn pictures. Print them everywhere on everything. Consider it the equivalent of shooting back.
For there to be racism, there would need to be a bias against a particular race. No one is claiming that Charlie was biased (as they were offensive to everybody).
That depends on ignoring that some people conflate Muslim with Arab, usually conflating Persians and some other ethnic groups into the lot.
This is really interesting, and I think perfectly topical
Ironically (some might think) enough, they actually profile themselves anti-racist.
Since there is no such thing as "race" in biology of humans, it's ethnic groupism. Just as a Hutu can be a racist against a Tutsi, and vice versa, the boundaries of those ethnic groups are not always just facial features and skin color.
While not justifying the attack, world views do differ and simply insisting that others think like you is pointless.
To most Muslims, being Muslim is part of their identity, their being. They truly believe in a way the West hasn't since the Crusades (if even then). An insulting portrayal of the Prophet is as heinous to them as if you had walked up to their mother and kicked her in the belly or you had burned their house down. It is really that bad. It is practically inevitable that out of the many millions of Muslims, a small portion are going to get violent.
Imagine walking into a bar in the deep south of the US and throwing a Union flag on the floor and pissing on it. How likely are you to walk out of there unscathed? Or going to a public place in Harlem and claiming you had carnal knowledge of Martin Luther King. Do you have the right to free speech? Of course you do. Does it make you bulletproof, not really.
Now you can debate whether this is sensible or not, but that doesn't make the reality of their belief go away, any more than Atheists can make the Catholic Church close up shop, or the Labour Party can convince the Conservatives to all join UKIP.
As a side note, there are many more Muslims in Asia than there are in the Middle East.
(And no, I am not a Muslim. I have lived in the Far East for much of my life and I know many Muslims and the Islamic culture.)
No one is denying the beliefs exist. That seems self-evident, based on the evidence. The fact that the belief exists doesn't make the belief correct, or justify violence against people who do not share the belief, or provide a reasonable basis for journalists or others in media to censor themselves.
No, but you miss the point. It is not a matter of right or wrong. Just as in my other examples. The fact is that in doing what Charlie Hebdo did, they were openly inviting an attack.
Walk up to a bear and poke it in the nose. What do you expect to happen. Is the bear "right" to rip you to pieces? Don't you have the "right" to poke the bear? Why should you have to avoid the bear? Is the presence of a bear any reason to prevent you from enjoying that part of the woods? And yes, it could be avoided by killing every bear in existence or putting them all in zoos. Is that the solution you propose?
I don't know. I understand what you're saying, but it sounds to me a lot like saying that women who dress a certain way are inviting sexual assault. Once someone makes a conscious decision to commit a criminal act, I don't think you can really shift blame to the victims. That's unlike a bear, which is an animal as opposed to a reasoning human being, and is acting on instinct.
I agree. I think once we start sympathising with the perpetrators and looking for fault in the victims we have stepped onto a very slippery slope. Yes, if you antagonise certain people they may respond in a way you don't like; but this shouldn't become a call to censorship.
And what the hell have bears and zoos got to do with the price of fish? I fail to see the connection.
I am not calling for censorship. I am saying that if you take an action to insult or provoke someone who does not think like you or accept your concepts of social order, you have to accept the consequences. Yes you can retaliate, but all the raised eyebrows and hypocritical "surprise" and shock at the attack is just stupid. When you attack the core of a people's society and beliefs, then they will inevitably respond. Calling them names and beating your breast will achieve nothing.
If you refuse to see the connection to my examples then you are either incapable of seeing the world from another person's point of view or are being deliberately obtuse. The bear has no concept of your "rights" or your beliefs of what should or should not be permitted. It lives by its own bear social code and will respond accordingly. Calling the bear names and shouting at it will do nothing but engender greater anger on its part. Leave them alone or destroy them if you have the capability and stomach for genocide. Those are your choices.
Charlie Hebdo was not practising free speech. The magazine was going out of its way to pick a metaphorical fight and when the victim chose to respond in a way they did not expect they (and others) cry foul. And yet one of their own reporters was dismissed for writing something insulting about the Jews. So some speech is more free than others?
If the bear example does not resonate, then how about this one. Get on a train and then scream obscenities, plus racial, religious and sexual insults every person you meet aboard, refusing to be silenced when they move away or ask you to stop. Sooner or later someone is going to take physical action to stop you. Is such an assault legally right? Of course not. Is it unpredictable? Of course not too. So your solution is to put every passenger on the train in jail so that you can continue your campaign of insults and thus protect your free speech on another train?
Separate names with a comma.