I reserve my right to offend and be offended

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.

country views

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.


11 thoughts on “I reserve my right to offend and be offended

  1. re your hits from Myanmar….there are twelve of us, mostly from the Collingwood area, who are travelling through Myanmar together. I check your site, and the local newspaper sites for news of home!

    • Thanks for letting me know Doreen, it’s always nice to solve the occasional mystery of how my views come about. I was in that country in the 80’s when it was called Burma. One of the most beautiful places on earth is Pagan (I think they call it Bagan now). Also loved Mandalay, sunset boat cruise on the Irrawaddy river, the Shweedagon Pagoda in Rangoon. The Mandalay beer was crap though. Best regards to all those of you in Myanmar from Collingwood.

  2. This is only the tip of the iceberg, Bill and VFAN….and yes, you would well surpass a list of 40’s and 50’s, reaching numbers that would shock most people. So shocking that it create’s people to revert back into their comfort zone within their own community, and so they should. We cannot expose ourselves to it constantly and not have adverse effects on our psyche. Terrorism is a Global problem, not a Muslim one. It is a very complex topic and in order to put it into context, it will be necessary to look at the all the facets within it, such as the historical evolution of terrorism so that we can recognize the act when executed, regardless if we don’t want to admit it occurred. We also must consider the impact of propaganda in the cover-up and control of society’s view of it and why it is done. Remove the blinders of propaganda and we will immediately begin to see all the players and their part in it. If we were to broaden our understanding of what Terrorism is we would begin to see lists that we didn’t consider before, such as ‘state sponsored terrorism’ as only one, of many, examples of Terrorism.

    The University of Maryland hosts the online “Global Terrorism Database.” The website, said to be the “most comprehensive unclassified data base on terrorist events in the world,” keeps an in-depth record of global incidents of terrorism spanning the past 43 years (1970-2013). The database has registered a staggering 125,000 incidents of terrorism. Some of the top-line statistics for the past four decades include records of 58,000 bombings, 15,000 assassinations and 6,000 kidnappings. The majority of these crimes appear to have been state sponsored rather than the independent actions of insurgent groups.

    Right or wrong, the mere mention of the word “terrorism” conjures up images of bearded Muslim men, as seen in this blog and many other’s. Remove the blinder’s and the discussion will become more of an overall reality, rather than a perceived and controlled one.

  3. VFAN the other thing I hate is when leaders and people on the TV say this is nothing to do with Islam, every time they kill and bomb. Look at Gords list above if its nothing to do with Islam who is it to do with?

  4. I agree Bill. The world has always been a violent place. Point taken. However it seem’s to me it’s heating up again. I can’t think (Or don’t want to) of anything worse than the Holocaust but religion always seem’s to rear it’s ugly head. People are being slaughtered for insulting someones invisible friend. Muslim is not a race it’s simply a religion and should be criticized by any rational mind.

  5. “The Shoe Bomber was a Muslim
    The Beltway Snipers were Muslims
    The Fort Hood Shooter was a Muslim
    The underwear Bomber was a Muslim
    The U-S.S. Cole Bombers were Muslims
    The Madrid Train Bombers were Muslims
    The Bafi Nightclub Bombers were Muslims
    The London Subway Bombers were Muslims
    The Moscow Theatre Attackers were Muslims
    The Boston Marathon Bombers were Muslims
    The Pan-Am flight #93 Bombers were Muslims
    The Air France Entebbe Hijackers were Muslims
    The Iranian Embassy Takeover, was by Muslims
    The Beirut U.S. Embassy bombers were Muslims
    The Libyan U.S. Embassy Attack was by Musiims
    The Buenos Aires Suicide Bombers were Muslims
    The Israeli Olympic Team Attackers were Muslims
    The Kenyan U.S, Embassy Bombers were Muslims
    The Saudi, Khobar Towers Bombers were Muslims
    The Beirut Marine Barracks bombers were Muslims
    The Besian Russian School Attackers were Muslims
    The first World Trade Center Bombers were Muslims
    The Bombay & Mumbai India Attackers were Muslims
    The Achille Lauro Cruise Ship Hijackers were Muslims
    The September 11th 2001 Airline Hijackers were Muslims’
    Religion of peace? maybe not so much. And I never worry about offending anyone. People in general seem very easily offended. Especially when their religion is mentioned. Gods are very fragile and cannot take any criticism. G.

    • Its easy to present a list like that and argue that it supports a point you are trying to make. But really it doesn’t. I could easily make a list of non-Muslim attrocites of the modern era; from the Holocaust to the Oklahoma bombing. It just proves there are a lot of sick and twisted people out there, but no religion or culture has a monopoly.
      In general though, I find myself agreeing with Mr Nobody on this topic (this had better not become a habit). A year ago I might have disagreed. 2015 is the year in which I stop tip-toeing around religious sensibilities. I’ve had enough! The world will be a better place when more people realise that, while there is no God, its best if we enjoy ourselves while respecting everyone around us. Superstition is part of the problem, not the solution.
      Now, Id better get off the computer before Mr Bunkertoad comes back.

      • Bill I get sick and tired of that Oklahoma bombing being brought up whenever someone mentions the fact that most terrorist attacks in the modern era have been proliferated in the name of Islam. So for the record since 1995 give me a list of non Muslim atrocities/terrorist attacks, bombings world wide and lets compare it with Gordon’s list above. I will give you a start:
        1998 Omagh bombing, County Tyrone carried out by “The Real IRA” 29 people killed.
        To compare with Gord’s list I need at least 16 more and Gord missed one or two also.
        Rules are lunatics on shooting rampage’s do not count and has to be religious or political with multiple victims.

      • A challenge? I like that!
        I think I can easily match you by listing 16 attacks. I hope I can easily surpass Gordon in terms of body count too.

        OK, so we already have a sample IRA attack (there were scores of bombings in the 70s and 80s but we will count them as one) and the Oklahoma attack.

        How about the Basque separatists (ETA)? Again, scores of attacks in recent decades but I will count them as one.

        The Rwandan genocide accounted for an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 deaths. The religious distribution of Rwanda? Roman Catholic 49.5%, Protestant 39.4% (includes Adventist 12.2% and other Protestant 27.2%), other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 1.8%, animist 0.1%, other 0.6%, none 3.6%

        I think I’ve already surpassed Gordon’s body count. Richard Reid – the “shoe bomber” couldnt even detonate. My guys make Gordon’s look like amateurs!

        How about the Sarin attacks in Tokyo; 1995. A religious cult killed 12 and injured dozens more.

        Lets not forget the Sabra and Shatila massacre. This was the killing of between 762 and 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites, by the Lebanese Christian Phalange groups in 1982. The Israelis – the occupying power in Lebanon at the time – allowed the attackers into the Sabra neighbourhood and Shatila refugee camp for one night to do their worst. Obligingly, at the Phalanges request, they even fired illuminating flares to help the night’s work go smoothly.

        As a wild card, Im going to throw in the Jonestown masscare. 913 people dead after drinking the cool aid. Another non-Muslim religious nutcase.

        No list of modern attrocities would be complete without a downed airliner. Lets not forget Air India Flight 182. Downed in 1985 by Sikh extremists (they may have cloth wrapped around their heads but they aint Muslims). 329 dead. And this is a good time to take issue with Gordon’s inclusion of the Air France Entebbe hijackers. Wilfried Bose and his dreadful girlfriend may have been Palestinian sympathisers, but Muslims? No way!

        The Japanese embassy hostage crisis began on 17 December 1996 in Lima, Peru, when 14 members of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) took hostage hundreds of high-level diplomats, government and military officials at the Japanese ambassador’s residence. It didn’t end well, especially for the terrorists. I dont know much about the MRTA but they are named after an Inca king.

        1993; the Waco Siege. David koresh and the Branch Davidians. 76 dead. I’m not sure about this bunch of religious nutcases. Does this count as a terrorist attack or attrocity? I’m including it anyway because – to be honest – Gordan has some suspect inclusions too.

        FARC, the Colombian terrorist organisation, has around 7,000 to 10,000 active members including child soldiers. The group is notoriously known for using landmines and is held responsible for the death of 460 soldiers and thousands of civilians. FARC funds itself through illicit drug production and distribution, kidnap for ransom, illegal mining & extortion. Not Muslims.

        The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) is a militant religious cult accused of widespread human rights violations including murder, abduction, mutilation, child sex slavery and making soldiers out of children. Between September 2008 and July 2011, the group has allegedly killed more than 2,300 people, abducted more than 3,000, and displaced over 400,000 across Central Africa.

        Heres one that I bet very few remember: The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre was a shooting attack carried out by American-born Israeli Baruch Goldstein, a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement, who opened fire on unarmed Palestinian Muslims praying inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (or Mosque of Abraham) at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank. It took place on February 25, 1994. The attack left 29 male worshippers dead and 125 wounded. The attack only ended after Goldstein was overcome and beaten to death by survivors. Charming.

        The Srebrenica genocide was the 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. The killing was perpetrated by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The Secretary-General of the United Nations described the mass murder as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. This was the climax of years of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. I should point out that, as with several of the attacks and attrocities mentioned above, not only were the perpetrators non-Muslims but the victims actually were Muslims!

        I think I must be up to around 16 by now. This could go on all night and easily get into the 40s or 50s. But its getting depressing and Mr Bunkertoad wants his laptop back.

      • Oh dear Bill you had to resort to Rwanda. I thought we were talking terrorism. If we want to talk state sponsored genocide I will bet your Rwanda and raise you an Islamic State. I am sure they will be up in similar numbers as Rwanda was with their head chopping and crucifying, by the time they are finished. I was talking modern era. Too much to say in a reply to a comment so this calls for another blog.

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