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Let the Principles of Charlie Hebdo Live On

January 8, 2015,
Claire Montanaro

Over and above issues of freedom of speech, what happened will raise questions about the wisdom of encouraging multi-culturalism, about how far society is divided by race, religion and culture, about the hatred that festers in the midst of civilised countries, about how human beings can be so merciless, about the proliferation of heavy weapons worldwide, and how to react as the violence of Syria is replicated in the heart of Europe. TruthThe staff at Charlie Hebdo had been under threat for years for their mockery of aspects of Islam, but refused to be cowed. Other journalists and publications took a different view, carefully avoiding publishing anything that could offend or create reprisal, and indeed there have been other concessions to threats of violence in, for example, Sony’s initial withdrawal of “The Interview”, in the face of the anger of North Korea. Fear can compromise principle, and that is unfortunate. Believe in your truth. For now there is unity of condemnation of the murders in Paris, but how long it will last is uncertain. Cartoonists, today, satirise the proponents of religious revenge, who are likely to continue to attack the heart of the society they hate, but whether their freedom of expression lasts is questionable. Anti-Muslim sentiment has been seen in Germany in the last few days, and this may develop into greater tension between different communities in all western countries with a Muslim population. Meanwhile, thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq need shelter  - will they be welcome in Europe or the US? Solutions to these problems are few, and it may be years before the world has reshaped itself to be a community of mutual support and caring, but I believe it will. What is important is that all of us, wherever and whoever we are, shun violence and encourage tolerance, and do what we believe to be right. There will be madmen always, but to fear them gives them power. They live in the shadows: flood them with light – and let the principles of Charlie Hebdo live on.   [byline]]]>

Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger with special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of "Spiritual Wisdom”.

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2 comments on “Let the Principles of Charlie Hebdo Live On”

  1. G'day, Claire!
    Two points about this latest terrorist brouhaha come to mind here:
    First, there was once a satirical French publication called *Le Canard enchai^ne'*. Although Pre'sident Vale'ry Giscard D'Estaing tried muzzling it, murder *never* was involved. Note the contrast between then and now.
    Second, there is the issue of resilience. After the attack on the Canadian Parliament and then the North Korean cyberattack on Sony Entertainment, there was initially a psychological shock. What then followed were a) lessons to be learnt and put into practice; and then b) responses suited to the situations. In the former instance, security measures to address weaknesses were initially discussed and then put into practice (to some extent); whereas in the latter instance not only did Sony re-think not only suppressing *The Interview* but finding alternate means of getting the film to market, as it were. Moreover, for the first time ever, the People's Republic of China cut off North Korea's Internet access in a discreet response to American pressure (read: face was saved for a very proud nation).
    With regard to the second item above, initially there was a psychological shock. Then, there was a response. Ponder the metaphor contained in the second Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams, *Star Trek: Into Darkness*. Ponder also why there was mention in the credits to the 11 September 2001 attacks.

    1. Thank you for your considered reply, William. Yes, satire has abounded since before the time of Alexander Pope - always a leveller and reminder when used properly. I would like to think resilience will come to the fore after these attacks: Sony only allowed the Interview to be screened, indirectly, after huge political and media pressure - I suspect they would not have done so otherwise. In the UK, the signing of a controversial footballer to a prestigious club was stopped after threats to club members were made, just as the Charlie Hebdo murders had happened - terrorists won.
      So, the idea of resilience is wonderful and no doubt many people sincerely intend to stand up and confront the fear-makers now. Awareness is greater, and time will tell if Muslim or any other fundamentalism is challenged by media and public attitude in the longer term.

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