Hello all and welcome to my second 2015 installment of ‘ze nouveau blorg’, catering to all my english and faux-french pals alike. Today, we are tackling a topic that has been quite controversial in the general news sphere but more importantly, in my twitter feed.
The story goes, for all the rock-dwellers, that the headquarters of a parisian magazine (Charlie Hebdo) was burnt down earlier this year by a goup that did not take kindly to its front cover images. The covers which are often crude, graphic and extremely controversial.
So ever since then, large protests have broken out not only in Paris, but all over the world, with many celebrities and noted figures having come out in support of this magazine, donning a badge which stated ‘Je suis Charlie’ in solidarity of the famous french publication.
Now, as much as I love jumping on the protest bandwagon and standing up for issues that are important not just to our community, but to our world, I had to take a step back with this one. Not because I don’t mourn for the 12 lives lost to this brutal attack or for the loss of a business, or even that I support terrorism in any way, shape or form. What happened was horrible and lives did not need to be taken or buildings destroyed to make a point, but let’s clear the smoke and rubble and listen to the point being made.
Before you jump on that wagon, take a look at some of the covers made by this magazine over the years. Some of them are funny, some silly, some cringe-worthy, some outright shocking. I get that the intent is to create controversy but as a lot of humour tends to do these days, it crossed over into a little arrogant and disrespectful. For example, I am not a muslim myself,nor do I agree with certain aspects of the religion, but I understand that their beliefs and religious figures are important to them, most important of all being the prophet muhammad. There have been several covers comically depicting the prophet and the magazine have even used this same comic after the attacks. There are also other covers depicting black people as slaves, white people as the KKK and poking fun at Micheal Jackson’s death.
I understand that humour has always been about pushing the barriers and injecting jest into serious topics to make it easier to talk about in society, but there is always a fine line between jest and disrespect. Free speech should be respected but so should the beliefs of others. After all, if we’re making the argument that religious groups should be tolerant of lifestyles that don’t fit into their practices, shouldn’t we also be tolerant of theirs?
So inasmuch as I will stand up and speak out for the needless loss of lives and the overly aggressive way this terrorist group dealt with this controversy, I cannot don a badge that supports the content of this magazine. I do believe it is possible to show support to those who lost their livelihoods and loved ones, without supporting content that has belittled not only who I am but aspects of what I believe in, and a company which shows no regard to several groups, in their attempt to get people to show regard for one another. I support free speech (I do run a blog, after all) but I do not support disrespect.
So I am sorry Charlie Hebdo but Je ne suis pas Charlie
What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?