William Thien

On The Latest Developments regarding Charlie Hebdo

Posted on: January 23, 2015

Recently I blogged:

Who would have thought the job of a political cartoonist would become one of the most dangerous professions in the world? On Dec 22 I wrote this:” How many times have we heard in the last ten years about Muslim fundamentalists beheading Americans and foreigners because of a small, square cartoon in some obscure foreign newspaper which depicts Islam negatively? We live in the electronic age. It’s only moments before someone will see something half way around the world.”
Look how the media has set its teeth to the massacre in Paris. I could have told you something like this was going to happen. Oh, hold it. I did. I hate to say it, but…
Freedom of speech and the press is one thing. Constantly poking fun at someone’s devotion is another entirely.


Headlines from Today’s various news sites range from 10 Dead, Churches burned, Leave Gaza, you French, or You Will be Slaughtered, to photographers being shot in Pakistan.

I blogged previously on December 22, 2014 that such reprisals should be expected if various media outlets and other such related entities continue to speak of the leadership of both foreign countries and other religions in such a disparaging manner. I concluded that it is unwise to behave in such a manner and that media outlets and related entities, even those in the entertainment world should not be expected to be insulated at taxpayer expense when only a handful of the readership shares such sentiments, even if a majority do. Then of course, the reprisal at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo occurred.

From where I am I find it difficult to side with any media outlet that wishes to defame anyone, even an individual in such a manner and profit from doing so, and then that media outlet expects to walk away unscathed. In fact in France, there are certain “hate speech laws” that prevent such behavior except they were not enforced with regard to Islam. The error lies not only in insulting Islam in such a manner, the error lies in the fact that right there in their own neighborhoods reside devout Muslims in large numbers. No measured discourse was occurring, rather, Charlie Hebdo was repeatedly poking fun at Islam and the Prophet Muhammad when we have seen time and time again that the more devout members of The Muslim faith respond directly to that type of defamation of their faith, often violently.

I believe in free speech. But little of value can be gained from mocking and constantly poking fun at someone’s devotion in such a manner. Nothing lasting in an attempt at peace can be gained from that ultimately except more enemies.

Personally, I don’t find fault with the current administration for not addressing the matter in presence at the latent moment.

But the persistence I see now with the increase in the sales of such periodicals that do mock one of the world’s largest religions in a manner which is not constructive is to me an omen.

Now, more than ever ladies and gentlemen, we must take heed.

With regard to the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo, there can be no question that the day put a smile on somebody’s face and I am not so sure I can’t say I blame him.

Did I not warn you?

Copyright © William Thien 2015

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