Je suis Charlie indeed

De . Categorii: Diverse, Doar online, English

Etichete: , ,

Publicat în January 10, 2015 , o comentarii

As one would expect after a tragic event, whose distressing details have caused ripples of shock worldwide, not to mention visible feedback of an empathetic and solidary nature both online, in print, and in the street, one can’t help but notice underlying but nevertheless vociferous accounts that are less manifest in fellow-feeling (claiming not to be manipulated by mass sentimentalism), or at least reluctant to subscribe under “Je suis Charlie”. These are people counteracting with “Je ne suis pas Charlie”, and the main highlights of their reasoning are as follows. “Je ne suis pas Charlie” is not adhering to the fact that the Charlie Hebdo victims were morally spotless (doesn’t constitute an argument and/or reason to harm them). The staff were perfectly aware of what kind of reactions irreverent cartoons could and would ignite, yet they chose to march (draw) on notwithstanding; their offices had been fire-bombed some years before, and they’ve received numerous threats (so, they had it coming, in a way?). Their work went beyond healthy satire, to bare-faced insult (debatable, depending on who the person is; i.e. an atheist will arguably have no problem with it); insult to the god of Christianity, insult to the god of Islam, insult to whomever. Their work was offensive just for the sake of being offensive: they desired a reaction, and got one. And so on and so forth.

Instead of a continuation of the manifold reasons behind “Je ne suis pas Charlie” advocates, I choose to instead elaborate on why I’d much rather fall under the “Je suis Charlie” category, and what I think “Je suis Charlie” essentially means, while refuting some opinions put forth by the opposing – for some wrong reasons – camp.

First and foremost, holding up a “Je suis Charlie” banner – metaphorically or not – doesn’t mean one is necessarily an enthusiast of the cartoons, but that one considers that the cartoonists had the right to draw them. Ah, but where does freedom of speech end? Frankly, not when you feel offended. Self-righteous declarations in the “your liberty to swing your arms ends where my nose begins” vein are ample, and yawn-inducing. In plain English, the fact that you feel offended hardly justifies the invocation of a restriction of liberty. In Stephen Fry’s words: you are offended, “well, so fucking what?” You see “Je ne suis pas Charlie” proponents claiming their dissatisfaction at their alleged denial to adopt an arms-crossed and frowning face posture at the Charlie Hebdo cartoons; that everyone, somehow, out there, expects them to change the tone in which they speak of Hebdo into a reverential one, and plaster Hebdo cartoons on themselves. Well, no. You are not expected to be enthralled by cartoons of a smiling baby Jesus popping out of Virgin Mary’s vagina with an utmost enthusiasm reminiscent of Pee Wee Herman. That’s not what “Je suis Charlie” is about. Regardless of how priapic you consider the cartoonists’ behaviour or cartoons, it remains debatable that they were produced just for the sake of sparking irksome and virulent reactions. I argue that they were made to raise question marks. They were also made to deflate the following notion: if you are a good religious Christian and have read your bible (similarly, a good Muslim, in possession of minimal knowledge about the Quran), God can be illustrated in the first place.  An irony that I’m certain is lost on many. Moaning that you’re not allowed to display opposing views as regards the cartoons is risible at best, and a cheap attempt at self-victimisation. Whether or not the Hebdo cartoons were good, by which I mean that they mightn’t have been conducive to further socio-cultural tensions, is another discussion altogether. In other words, in light of the non-negligible Muslim demographic in France, the Islamic cartoons could’ve divided said Muslim population from the French majority of a Christian denomination or otherwise; the cartoons could’ve been construed as hate speech. No matter how tasteless, stupid, childish you think the cartoons were, that doesn’t lessen or deprive the right of the cartoonist to make them. And, superfluous though it may be to say, it doesn’t and shouldn’t excuse a violent act. From what I’ve noticed, it’s become somewhat of a fashion trend to be in that eddy, “Je ne suis pas”, as a result of a stark contortion of what “Je suis Charlie” means. Regrettably, it is at the cost of common sense, and yes: a lack of solidarity masqueraded as independent, non-mainstream thought.

The point, I reiterate, remains: you are “Je suis Charlie” for freedom of speech. You are “Je suis Charlie” for the right to criticise religious fundamentalism. You are “Je suis Charlie” for the right to satirise sacred cows. You are “Je suis Charlie” for the victims and family. You are “Je suis Charlie” for all those democratic etceteras we flail our arms about and fall to our knees, asking to be respected; legitimately so. And last but not least, you most certainly are “Je suis Charlie” for the right to say “Je ne suis pas Charlie”.

Carla Baktai

Carla Baktai

Mai multe articole de