Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Charlie, limited

The focus has been on free speech, which is, of course, very relevant. But like the author below I think there should be more focus on our relative indifference to the massacres in the "less developed" world. eg. Egypt (military overthrow of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood, followed by fresh massacres), Syria (200,000 + dead, 3.5 million refugees). In particular Obama's hands off policies in Syria have led to the creation of a monster (Daesh aka IS or ISIL) within a monster (Assad's Syria). Evil forces, also including Putin, have moved in to fill the vacuum left by the retreat of the USA. Daesh / Islamism can only be defeated at its source. See my earlier blog, Weep for Charlie ... but also pay more attention to Syrian cartoonist, Raed Fares
I do not forget the front cover of Charlie Hebdo issue N°1099, in which it trivialized the massacre of more than a thousand Egyptians by a brutal military dictatorship which has the approval of the USA and of France, carrying a cartoon with a text declaring “Slaughter in Egypt. The Koran is shit: it doesn't stop bullets.” The cartoon showed a Muslim man riddled with bullets that had passed through a copy of the Koran, with which he had been trying to protect himself. Perhaps some find this funny. In their time too, the English colonists in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, thought it funny to have photographs of themselves taken, with wide smiles and rifle in hand, a foot on the corpses of the still-warm and bleeding bodies of the native people they had hunted.

Rather than funny, that cartoon to me seems violent and colonialist, an abuse of the fictitious and manipulated western freedom of the press. How would people react if I were to design a magazine cover bearing the following text: “Slaughter in Paris. Charlie Hebdo is shit: it doesn’t stop bullets” and made a cartoon of the deceased and gunned-down Jean Cabut holding a copy of the magazine in his hands? Clearly that would be outrageous: the life of a Frenchman is sacred. The life of an Egyptian (or Palestinian, Iraqi, a Syrian, etc.) is “humoristic” material. For that reason I am not Charlie, because for me, the life of each one of those Egyptians massacred is as sacred as is any of those caricaturists assassinated today.
- José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
7 January, 2015
Full article here

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