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#24 Je ne suis pas Charlie

January 12th, 2015

Hi darlin,’

Non, je ne suis pas Charlie.

I abhor what happened, I have no use nor time for religious zealots who seem willing to slaughter anyone they decide is in their way, to me they are gangsters, thugs, and criminals.

But I’m not going to join the millions marching in the streets in defence, they say, of free speech, journalistic integrity, and our western civilization.

If you listen to the politicians as they speechify, you’d think we had freedom of speech and press here. You’d think we were being kept informed of world events by a host of clear-eyed truth seekers. Ah, would that were so.  If only….

Most of our news comes to us through the filter of a few media barons. Think Rupert Murdoch, who has been up to his ears in criminal charges for years. Think Lord Whozit of Wotzit [Conrad Black] who renounced his Canadian citizenship so he could become a peer of a foreign realm and who was let out of the slammer in the U.S. only recently.

The freedom of the press belongs to those who own and control the press. Informing you, educating you, is not their prime interest; making profit is.

And while the headlines and the TV news were obsessed with the events in Paris, someone forgot to mention that a group in the Excited States had been thwarted in their white power attempt to do pretty much the same kind of thing in Texas.

And people, many people, are calling for Muslims to take a stand against the jihadists. People who know virtually nothing at all about the teachings of Islam are calling on all Muslims to actively work against the polarized and radicalized wing-nut arstles who seem quite willing to shoot unarmed civilians or to strap suicide vests to young children, send them into a marketplace, and then explode the vest… and the kid… in order to slaughter and maim people.

When Tim McVie blew up the government building in Oklahoma, did these same well-meaning people call for all white male christians to actively work against such arseholiness? Were there massive marches in the streets? When the FBI shot and killed a woman who was holding an infant in Ruby Ridge, were there millions of people protesting and demanding that virtually everyone on earth decry the very existence of the FBI?

When Christian radicals took to bombing abortion clinics and shooting doctors, where were the millions in the street? Was there a call for all Christians to rally against the murdering arstles? Where are the millions protesting the drone strikes?

Pakistan is supposed to be a friend of the Excited States but in the past year two hundred children were killed by drone strikes. Where is the outrage?

I have seen maybe three of the “cartoons” published by this magazine. I found them disgusting and offensive. They made me think of the “cartoons” the Nazi propaganda machine put out against Jews, you know, the hook noses, the endless chins, the ugly and threatening expressions… and so why do we decry the Nazi cartoons and then march in the street to support these other vicious depictions?

Freedom of the press? Our Western Civilization?

Even a little kid knows you don’t take a stick and use it to poke a yellowjacket nest. And if you do, you’ll be sorry.

How would you feel if someone published a cartoon showing Mary, the mother of Jesus, in fishnet stockings, and working as a saloon doxie in the Wild West? How would you feel about a depiction of Jesus getting oral sex from a goat? I’d be very upset and I’m not even a Christian person.

There’s an old saying, “you can’t legislate good taste”. Well, legislation is, in and of itself, a form of censorship. To my eyes, from what little I’ve seen of the cartoons published by Charlie, they seem to have specialized in very bad taste, and I won’t be buying copies of the magazine any time soon. Of course, I won’t be opening fire on unarmed innocents, either. A person has to be a few bricks short of a full load to do things like that.

And there might be some who would say I’m short more than a few bricks, but I don’t kill people.

I just wish we could get this level of indignation happening when years of research are tossed in the dumpster and destroyed or environmental protections are gutted or a thousand women are missing or murdered with no full scale investigation… y’know?

Every living Muslim is not under some obligation to prove they aren’t a radical arstle. They’re people, like you, like me, and if you believe the creation myth of the Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve and, yes, even the serpent, then we are all cousins.

I don’t want vengeance for what happened at Charlie. Je ne suis pas Charlie.

All I want is for us to try to remember that we are one family and maybe start treating each other as family.

Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.


2 Responses to “#24 Je ne suis pas Charlie”

  1. Jan Drabek says:

    What bothers me most about the current timbre of the discussion about the Paris slaughter is
    that so many pet peeves are being dragged into it; like Rupert Murdoch, media
    power, Conrad Black, Jewish caricatures, etc.

    The central fact remains that a group of armed thugs entered an editorial office and
    murdered a group of artists, writers and editors because of what they had drawn
    and written, claiming it was Allah’s will.

    As a writer I condemn the action and also categorically refuse to be drawn into a
    discussion whether the cartoons offended someone, whether they are in bad taste…etc.
    Who was it that so aptly said that my right to swing my fist ends where the
    other fellow’s nose starts? Of course I drawn the line at libel but that doesn’t
    apply to the nose of the particular deity I happened to worship. Because if He
    or She is a proper God then He or She may very well think what fools may these
    mortals be, but my God certainly doesn’t need my help in defending Her or Him.

    …By the way, do you really think that Christians would have been justified in wiping out
    Monty Python over Life of Brian or Mel Brooks over History of the World, Part

  2. Anne__Ominous says:

    Right on Anne Cameron! This tragedy is being used as propaganda. The concept of freedom of speech is being used selectively here. And yes, where is the indignation over the innocents killed by drones?

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