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Êtes-vous Charlie ?


Je suis Charlie!

I think we all know what happened in Paris a couple weeks ago.  Terrorists broke into the offices of a French newspaper office and killed several reporters and cartoonists.  While they were doing that, more terrorists were doing the same in a grocery store across town.

While those killed in the grocery store were targeted by radical Muslim terrorists simply because they were breathing and the terrorists wanted to…well, inspire terror, the reporters and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, the newspaper, were reportedly killed because of cartoons which portrayed the prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light.

The work of Charlie Hebdo was, to put it mildly, provocative.  They portrayed the prophet of Islam in the worst light possible.  He wasn’t the only one, either.  In the past, they’ve mocked Jesus and the Pope and several government leaders.  It was only Muhammad that got them killed, however.

Meanwhile, in Africa, Muslim terrorists killed a couple hundred people at a school, including children, but we don’t want to talk about that right now.  Apparently, no one does.

Across the world, people picked up the bloodied banner of Charlie Hebdo and marched to the tune of free speech.  The rally in Paris alone was reportedly in the millions of people.  World leaders - well, most world leaders - marched at the head of the parade.  It was an inspiring moment.

Well, it was supposed to be.  In case you haven’t figured it out already, there are a few things that piss me off about this whole situation.  Let me lay out a couple.

Even before the bodies were cold, the mainstream media and even some world governments were trying to change the message.  “We should be tolerant of others’ beliefs,” they said.  “We shouldn’t provoke others,” they said.

If this had been a rape case, would these preachers of tolerance have told the victim that she shouldn’t have worn a short skirt?

I expected no less from the Obama administration and America’s own left leaning media.  While they are quick to call out Christians who try to cross the line between church and state, they are reluctant, for some reason, to call out atrocities committed in the name of Islam.  Hell, the Obama administration is reluctant to call out the murders as an act of Muslim terrorism since the President stated that Al Quaeda was on the run.

It doesn’t even surprise me that the governments in Europe are reluctant to call it out, as much as they seem to bend over backwards to placate the Muslim immigrants flooding their countries.  I think they might be afraid to piss of those immigrants or be labeled as racist.

Let me say first that I have no religious dog in this hunt.  I am an unbeliever.  I also think that people have the right to worship whatever deity they please.  If you want to worship Jehovah or Thor or Johnny Depp, I’ve got no issue with you.  I just don’t want to hear about it.  So, it’s not religion, or even a lack of religion, that bothers me.  It’s hypocrisy, especially cowardly hypocrisy.

Here in America, we’re supposed to have freedom of speech and expression.  People are able to dump a crucifix in a jar of piss and have it called art.  You can make a statue of the Virgin Mary out of elephant shit and have a picture of it show up in the New York Times.  That’s what makes this country great, right?

But the New York Times won’t print the same pictures that got the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed.  Apparently, they’re too provocative.

Double standard much?

Last year, a bakery here in America got taken to task in the media because the owners said their Christian religious beliefs wouldn’t let them make a cake for a gay wedding.  I wonder how that would have played out if the owners were Muslim?  Or even Jewish?

The other thing that pisses me off about this is that, even though our Western governments seem to be reluctant to call this out as an act of Muslim terrorism, they are eager as all fuck to use it as an excuse to expand their surveillance powers.  David Cameron wants a law that allows the British government a back door into all electronic communications systems. Barack Obama has indicated, a little more softly, that he wants the same thing here in the States.  The FBI has wanted it for years.

Never mind that all the data collection both governments are currently doing hasn’t stopped a single terrorist attack.  If it had, they’d be on the roof of the White House singing about it.  They want more power, more intrusive data collection, more ways to keep track of us.  They don’t know what the fuck to do with all that info yet, but they sure as hell want it.

The third thing that pisses me off is that we lost the message.  The staff of Charlie Hebdo was killed because they were practicing their right to free expression.  They pissed people off and they paid the ultimate price for it and, instead of holding them up as examples of people who were willing to put their lives on the line for their beliefs, our leaders and their media sycophants basically said, “Well, they should have known better.”

Yes, free speech often comes with a price and should be used, like any weapon, with caution.  If you’re going to run down the aisles of Wal-Mart, shouting, “Fatties suck!” be prepared to be run over by a 300 pound Twinkie sucker in a powered scooter.  You have the right, of course, to do just that and the fattie in the scooter should be prosecuted for assault, but just know that these could be the consequences.

For how long, though, are we going to be able to practice free expression?  Already, there are laws on the books here in America regarding “hate crimes” and “hate speech,” two phrases I loathe.  Already, we are chastised to be “politically correct” when we talk to others.  Already, we’re told to avoid “trigger phrases” so that we won’t hurt others.  How long before we have to fear prosecution because something we said hurt some poor saps feelings?  If we keep going the way we are, it won’t be long.

I doubt the writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo wanted to be martyrs, but I consider them such.  They died for the cause of free speech, and they’ve inspired me a but.  In the past, there have been subjects I haven’t written about because I was afraid my writing would make people I care about think ill of me.  Certain topics have been off limits because I want people to like me.

Well, fuck that.

The gloves are coming off.  There are a lot of things about our society that piss me off and I will be writing about them.  If any of my writing hurts your feelings, so be it.  It’s not my intent to hurt people, rather I want to make them think, but sometimes people need to be poked in order to start examining themselves.  Prepare to be poked, kids.


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