I watched the events in Paris unfold last week with great interest and a sense of continuing deja vu. I decided against commenting on it and chose to focus on the English footballer rapist story instead. As usual, for me, the main story is rarely what interests me it’s the reaction to it. In my last post I published a few of the offending cartoons that led to the slaughter in Paris. Prior to posting I gave it some serious consideration. In small town Ontario I was actually a little worried for a time, then it passed. Noel gave me a hard time because he said I posted anonymously, so I doubled down and added my name and location to the comments. I’m still here so I was probably worried for nothing. So the above gives me some idea on how brave the folks at Charlie Hebdo are in publishing as a front page a depiction of Prophet Muhammad again.
The above screen shot is from the stats page of this blog it shows views by country from the past 7 days. You’ll have to take my word on this but the views from the UK, France, US and Germany were mainly from Sunday and Monday, after I posted the cartoons and are not normal for this blog. I get a couple of views a week from my brother in Germany a couple from another brother in the UK and the occasional snow bird in the States catching up on local affairs. Not sure what the St. Lucia views are all about maybe someone from Collingwood on vacation over there. The Myanmar views have been cropping up a bit lately, and for some reason I keep getting a steady stream of views from Israel. So Noel can mock me all he likes, I find it a bit unnerving having that kind of attention from unknown people from Europe and the USA.
A couple of the cartoons depicted the Prophet Muhammad, which is considered blasphemy in that religion, if you do a search on Google “Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons” you can easily find cartoons that must really offend Muslims from Charlie Hebdo. I could not and would not post those images because I found them offensive and I am sure many of you would also. They show Muhammad naked with depictions of full genitalia and engaging in activities I can’t even describe in this space. I think I have a pretty good sense of humour but even after I translated from the French I didn’t find any of it funny. BUT I defend their right to be offensive. I am not a Muslim and this country is not a Muslim country, neither are France, US, Australia, Britain, Germany either, so whether Muslims like it or not people are allowed to be offensive about Islam, Christianity, Judaism or any other religion. I have listened to some commentary from people who describe themselves as “moderate” Muslims and they are calling for all cartoons, drawings, written word, that Muslims find offensive against its religion to be banned and labeled hate speech. It seems that even without any legislation, the CBC, BBC, CNN most British, US and Canadian newspapers have complied. I always wonder how some of the followers of Islam think that they are entitled to special treatment within our western secular societies?
I noticed in the coverage of the unity march in Paris a lot of placards saying “I am Charlie”, papier-mâché pencils, people carrying posters of pens etc. But what I didn’t see were people displaying pictures of the offending cartoons, which would have shown that the people attending the march would not be silenced by guns and violence. I keep hearing our leaders tell us that Islam is a religion of peace. But over the past few years we have seen terrorist attacks in the US, Canada, Spain, UK, Australia, France, Bali, not to mention Israel and throughout the Middle East and Africa all in the name of one religion. Maybe it’s time to rethink this whole religion of peace thing.