je suis Charlie

I hear that the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo has already sold out; 3 million copies were printed, rather than the usual 60K or so.

I've never read Charlie Hebdo and had never heard of it until the recent terrorist attacks, though it evidently has been in print for decades. From what I have heard, it is way out on the edge, an equal opportunity offender, and the assassins were offended by Charlie's depictions of Muhammad.

What Charlie Hebdo printed did not cause the attacks.

What caused the attacks was the mistaken belief, by a small group of extremists, that everybody in the world must conform to one religion's dictates.

Most Muslims don't believe that, of course, any more than most self-identified Christians believe the same things as the Westboro Baptist Church, yet right-wing types keep saying that all Muslims are guilty by association. And so, to take that logic down the Christian path, all Christians are guilty by association with people, places and events like the Crusades (many wars over hundreds of years), the Holocaust (the Nazis were nominally Christian), the KKK (Catholics excepted, of course), Jim Jones' church's mass suicide (actually a lot of mass suicides over the centuries, which is supposedly a sin that would send you to Hell anyway; hard to understand religious "logic" sometimes), slavery ... I could go on all day, really, citing every evil done in the belief that Jesus was smiling on it.

Personally, I self-excommunicated from the Christian faith in its entirety some time ago just because of that long and continuing association between bad people, bad actions, and a sense of religious entitlement or privilege among those who most loudly proclaim their Christianity - those who might benefit most from a thorough study of Matthew chapter 7 in their no doubt well-thumbed, ever-present, fancily-bound Bible with included concordance and zippered weather-resistant case.

To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, Christ's message is a good one; it's too bad the people who call themselves his followers don't actually follow his teachings. The same could be said of Muhammad.

1 comment:

  1. I did read Charlie Hebdo occasionally and still see it mentioned in the French media whenever they publish a particularly "juicy" cartoon or story (I lived in Paris for a number of years). It performs a valuable role and is pretty equal-opportunity in the groups it ridicules or holds up to scrutiny. Long may it continue.

    Another French satirical paper I read occasionally is "le canard enchaine" also the British "Private Eye" - both do exposes of public and not so private people and have in their time forced the resignations of government ministers in both France or the UK. Naturally their legal expenses tend to be quite high as people often don't like their wrong-doings being exposed and try to silence criticism.

    This kind of publication performs a very useful public service - as do online outfits like "The Onion" and a number of other similar groups in the UK.