Jan 9, 2015


The recent massacre of 12 lives in France is unforgivable. France a country with libertarian view has been a country close to my heart. I enjoyed visiting the country and the French are friendly people even though I had difficulty understanding their language full of extra syllables that are silent. It is these extra syllables that are silent that has caused this massacre, as we are seeing and reading about France  being a fertile ground for recruiting members for fighting in the so-called Islamic State. Has the French freedom been abused or those who have perpetrated this heinous crime have misinterpreted this French freedom of expression as freedom to kill, since killing is also a form of expressions? I see the problem in this interpretation of freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression should not be taken as a general license to ridicule the sensitivities of others who feel that any such ridicule of what they consider as sacred is sacrilege. What these 12 brave souls have done is that they stood tall in defending their ideals. That is the greatest honor one can get for what he believed in. 

The case of those who perpetrated this crime is equally defensible in the eyes of many in the sense that they have defended their faith, which despite many attempts by rational people to dissuade the magazine from publishing provocative caricatures depicting the Prophet(s) of Islam or Islamic values in derogatory terms, has continued to defend its freedom policy. The Prophet is reported to have said "none of you shall become a true believer till I (meaning the Prophet) become the most beloved of ones parents, children and all people together (لا يؤمن أحدكم حتى أكون أحب من والده وولده والناس أجمعين)". This is a powerful statement that demands absolute love of the Prophet. This is not unnatural. We will do anything for one whom we love. The case in Zidane's famous headbutting the Italian player for insulting his sister to provoke him and disorientate him, thereby losing the world cup. If this could be situation of a football legend what will be situation of those who love the Prophet more than their parents? Would they tolerate any insult on him?

As much as the French magazine may desire or even determine to keep to its free expression policy it also must take into account the possibility of backlash that may strike it at any time, because in this globalised era no one is living in a vacuum and no one can predict where the threat will come from. So as a responsible magazine Charlie Hebdo must balance its coverage. Not everyone can take every joke and that too every time at every place.


No comments:

Post a Comment