This afternoon 12 people were murdered in Paris. Ten of them were gunned down for creating satire, for lampooning and making jokes. Two of them were policemen. It appears that the magazine Charlie Hebdo was targeted because it satirised a religion, in this case Islam. You cannot have a liveable planet where murdering people who make jokes is considered to be sane by any organisation at all.
I would like to hope that not only, as the Internet banner now doing the rounds states: “Je suis Charlie” but “Nous sommes Charlie”. It is also essential to bear in mind that the murderers are the minority. As with Northern Ireland in the 1970s when I was growing up and not everybody brought up as Catholic and with Irish heritage or citizenship was “IRA scum” and bombing innocents, not everybody in 2015 with vaguely “Islamic sounding” names or with a Muslim heritages is a mad, murdering lunatic.
The dead included the cartoonists (CARTOONISTS!):
• Stephane Charbonnier (aka Charb) also the Editor in Chief.
• Georges Wolinski
I did find this incredibly powerful, coming as it did hours after the news broke:
Terror struck twice today, not just once. 38 dead in attack in Yemen. They're killing us in the name of our own religion.
— Iyad El-Baghdadi (@iyad_elbaghdadi) January 7, 2015
But we need more sanity in this moment of insanity. This comes from The Hindu newspaper in relation to the ‘Bollywood’ movie, PK. It reports:
…here we are again, having to defend Hinduism from those who seem to think that the slightest hint of humour or heresy can bring crashing down a religion that has stood strong for millennia. I refer, of course, to the controversy around the Hindu director Rajkumar Hirani’s movie “PK.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) wants it banned, and its members, along with those charming chaps from the Bajrang Dal, have taken to tearing up the film’s posters and halting screenings. The reason? According to VHP spokesman Vinod Bansal, “PK” “keeps making fun of Hinduism.” Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board have also demanded that the Censor Board remove some scenes in the interest of maintaining “communal harmony.”
It goes on:
Once a film has come through the Censor Board, no one has the right to demand that it be pulled from theatres because it has offended them. Everyone is sensitive to something, and if you begin to factor it all in, you’ll never make a movie.
And fortunately, the Indian government agreed as reported here.
So, let’s remember those people at Charlie Hebdo and let’s remember them via one of their great works:
Oh, and this one too… (I am English). It made me laugh:
And as this story goes live…
— Tim Smith (@GasheadAu) January 7, 2015