Crayons and Criminals

jewish depictionI do my best to not blog about the same subject twice within a short period of time but this topic? It is so important to all of us; to everyone, regardless of race, creed, colour or religion. Freedom of speech.

I am absolutely flabbergasted by responses to the Paris massacre I’ve seen on social media. They allude to several things, “allude” as these people do not come right out and say it; their stance being that this murderous act was to be expected because of the subjects of various cartoons by Charlie Hebdo.

Absolutely, by and large, the cartoons were offensive. The publication is not one that I would choose to read, as is my right.

In order to understand this bizarre reaction to the tragedy, I familiarized myself with the publication. I read French. I also live in a French province, this gives me, somewhat of an edge from a cultural and linguistic point of view.  It appears that many of those who seem to wish to ascribe some of the blame for these coldblooded murders to the victims themselves, don’t understand French and seem to think that using Google Translate will be a viable alternative. It isn’t.

This does not, in any way, negate the provocative nature of the cartoons but they are meant to be provocative. They are designed to invoke strong, visceral reactions. This is a long standing tradition for the political/social cartoonists. No one is immune. Christian, Jewish, Islam – Prime Ministers, Kings, Queens and Popes; all are fair game for social criticism. This helps to keep those who would hold themselves above us, in check. It exposes hypocrisy and corruption. It exposes the ridiculous.

There is no excuse for what occurred. There is absolutely no justification. It doesn’t matter what these cartoons portrayed. The best offense against the offensive, in this case, is to not read the magazine. If someone feels very strongly, a letter but under no circumstances should the material be formally censored. There are a lot of views that I find reprehensible however, I will defend the right of whoever is responsible to publicize those views. If I am really pissed off; I’ll write a letter and exercise my own freedom of speech.

I find Playboy, I find Penthouse and most porn to be offensive, to be detrimental to society but I would never think to bomb offices, murder staff.   They have the right to publish what they wish and I have the right not to view it.

Then there are the Aryan cement heads over at I find their views appalling, bordering on insane and as a result, I don’t go to their site. I don’t read their material. They do, however, in a free society, retain the right to be as despicable as they choose. I defend that right.

To allude that these murders were, somehow, the fault of the victims is beyond unacceptable. Are these victims being made into martyrs? Perhaps and yes, this is how it should be. They died because they exercised their freedom of expression. This is should be a fundamental right. I agree with the cartoonists, in principle, regarding religious icons. I find it absurd that any religion should have power of the lives of people in the way that Islam does. I find it disgusting that there are those who would seek to subjugate men, women and children on behalf of some imaginary character of myth and legend. It is unacceptable to allow women and children to be deprived of an education due to someone’s interpretation of a collection of fictional stories and verse.

These concepts need to be brought out and ridicule is warranted, regardless of the mythology involved, be it Islam, be it Judaism or Christianity.

The mentality behind these murders is the same mentality that attempted to murder Malala Yousafzai. The same mentality that bombed a school in Peshawar. These people need to be held up to ridicule by whatever means necessary. They cannot be permitted to instill fear in anyone. They need to be exposed as the cowards they are.

The same pencil should be poised at Christians who would seek to exploit children, to subjugate women using their own book of fairy tales. Or those who hide behind a collar, with a bible in one hand and the other down some child’s pants.

Or those in Israel who claim some invisible being told them that land belonged to them – no deed, no signed documents. The same invisible being who, apparently, turned into a bush and caught fire, while issuing lifestyle orders. This is used as justification to kill, maim and steal.

Our freedom in the west did not come without blood. It did not come without sacrifice and I will be damned if I allow anyone to attempt to infringe on that freedom.

The men and women who died in Paris, who were murdered for exercising their freedom, are martyrs.

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