Monday, January 19, 2015

The Vineyard of the Saker: Why Charlie Hebdo offends me as much as the terrorists

by Jiwan Kshetry

It goes without saying that the new set of iconoclasts condemning the unjustified bravado of Charlie Hebdo, including this author, loathe the terrorists as much as anyone else and there is no question of justifying their grisly deeds. It is merely to remind the triumphant supporters of absolute 'freedom of expression' that if you sow poison, you cannot expect to harvest otherwise.

Journalists using their pencils and pens being brutally murdered with Kalashnikovs, can there be anything more despicable than that? To borrow the words of a 'common man', a bunch of terrorists trying to apply blasphemy law with AK-47 on non-believers, can there be anything more outrageous than that? Should we let some psycopaths decide what limits we should impose on our 'freedom of expression'?

All of a sudden a large number of human beings worldwide are asking these questions to themselves. Mainstream media (MSM) all over the world have multiplied and amplified these questions to such an extent that another cohort of people with ambivalent feelings towards the issue are increasingly feeling guilty for not being as outraged by the French killings as the former cohort and thus not contributing enough to preserve the sanctity of freedom of expression in the world.

So, are the Charlie Hebdo killings all about terrorists trying to apply blasphemy laws in Europe to muzzle freedom of expression worldwide? It seems so if the whole saga is taken out of context and understood within the compromised limits of 'conventional thinking' as decided by the MSM. The reality is, however, far more complex with no easy answers to the questions.

Before entering the prickly issue of freedom of expression vs sacredness of religious faiths, let me clarify this: I am a non-Muslim. A bit of quasi-journalism has made my skin thick, so I am not easily offended; even when I am, I mostly keep it to myself and it is beyond me to decipher the psyche of people who are eager to do as extreme things as blowing themselves up when offended by others. You can call me the prototype of tolerant citizen in this increasingly intolerant world.

Minding your own business and leaving others to mind their own, that is my way of showing to the world that I am a tolerant and peaceful citizen here. If I start dictating others how they should run their business, I am no longer tolerant and peaceful. If I still say I am tolerant, that is sheer hypocrisy and mockery of true values of tolerance. My attachment to my faith does not at all resemble with that of the Muslims anywhere in the world, nor does it with that of the Jews, the Christians, the Hindus, the Jains, the Buddhists and so on. Still I am perfectly alright with their way of carrying on with their faiths: some indulging in idolatry, others condemning it, some claiming a single god, others proclaiming many, and so on.

Yet, I am now badly offended by what Charlie Hebdo was and is up to, to be honest, even more than that by the terrorists who rampaged the magazine office. The MSM- propagated arbitrary dichotomy--between people advocating freedom of expression by showing solidarity to Charlie Hebdo and those ready to sacrifice that freedom either out of indifference or out of passive complicity with the deadly terrorists--is a hoax to me. Increasingly, they appear as the two extremes of the same spectrum of intolerance and insensitivity to the belief and faith of the others.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Why Charlie Hebdo offends me as much as the terrorists

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