Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tagged under: , ,

Paris is Burning ... Books

Stephane Charbonnier

Last night in the company of my wife and daughter I attended the vigil in Dublin’s O’Connell Street for the slain of Paris - the staff of Charlie Hebdo and the police officers who sought to protect them. A friend visiting our home drove us there with literally no notice the moment we discovered through social media that an event was taking place. This evening I was heartened to see a photo of Richard O’Rawe at a protest in Belfast. Republican writers long targeted by the censor instinctively know what end of the pencil to put on paper and it is not the eraser. 

Most of those gathered at the Spire, around candles and images placed on the ground, as the soft rain sprayed their faces on a mild January night, sounded as if they were French, one of whom had just arrived in Ireland that morning from Paris. What a shock it must have been for her. She spoke of her fear but also of her resolve not to let it cower her. I scanned the crowd given that I have accumulated a few French friends over the years but to no avail.

I thought the Spire was a significant choice of venue. While I long dismissed it as an unimaginative piece of art, it never occurred to me to shoot the designer to a chant of “Rasta Pasta – Gun is Great” because I didn’t like it. I would acerbically quip that I found it more symbolic of a heroin needle graphically depicting the country’s drug culture. An alternative interpretation was that the Spire was emblematic of a phallus, subliminally telling us something about Ireland’s well established tradition of clerical rape. But last night it became the middle finger, a flipping of the bird at the theocrats and their “theolgoues”, who between them have crafted a blend of theology and ideology, which they strategically nurtured into the malaise of political Islam. The outworking of that monstrous mutation was all too evident yesterday in Paris in the demand that artists and writers embrace not creativity but submission or be murdered.

The blood had barely stopped flowing in Paris before the mutterings were being heard: Charlie Hebdo had pushed things too far. They had it coming to them. In so far as Charlie Hebdo had it coming, it is not because they were irreverent or offensive, but because they were isolated by a wider intellectual community who were never short of a reason for avoiding saying anything that might be construed as offensive to Islamic religious opinion, who masked their recreance  as respect for diversity, and whose commitment to free speech was invariably followed by the ubiquitous "but." It is convenient to forget that the guarantor of even the freedom to say “but” is anchored in an unalloyed defence of freedom of expression. Try saying “God is great but ...” in some company as a fast track means of understanding this basic tenet of free speech.

There is an existential imperative that artists and writers must establish symmetry with if they are to fulfil their vocation and scrutinise power and authority. Their freedom to write and create needs to be limitless and not subject to the self-censorship occasioned by shared political space. There can be nothing other than an outright rejection of the blackmail contrived by the sociologist Tariq Modood that:
if people are to occupy the same political space without conflict, they mutually have to limit the extent to which they subject each others’ fundamental beliefs to criticism.
Freedom of speech allows us to say "blow it out your Koran Modood."


Gerard. said...

pic painting a 1000 words

Henry JoY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DaithiD said...

Thanks AM, but I believe there is latent Supremacism in much of the discourse around the subject of Islam and its presence in the West, like this article much of it assumes we are witnessing a “mutation” of Islamic doctrine, one that the (implicitly) superior West will inevitably mitigate and allow us all to pursue our shared destinies. Its this erroneous supposition of what Islam represents, and what it can be that needs urgent attention. Maryam Namazie called it correctly on another article on this site, its far more than just a religion and its far right and fascistic by any measure.
We also need to start listening to the perpetrators reasons for attacks like this, and ignore Leftards that want to present it as a legacy of colonialism. They are their own moral agents and they are upholding Blasphemy laws and implementing its penalties.

Henry JoY said...

(second draft)
As someone whom many would consider a recreant or an apostate and who acknowledges he doesn't always adhere to harmonious balance and proportionality in the heat of debate, I yet find your assertion Anthony (that),

'there's an existential imperative that artists and writers must establish symmetry with, if they are to fulfill their vocation and scrutinise power and authority',

slightly confusing and perhaps even somewhat disingenuous.

Binary processing can never address issues interwoven with complexity; issues that are as unavoidable as they are unjustifiable.
Taking absolute positions, as do ideologues and theologians, rarely, if ever, accurately reflect existential ambiguities and uncertainties.

Though I can't claim to be familiar with Mr Modood writings I'm of the opinion that his advocacy of some measure of restraint, rather than absolute unrestricted freedom, is a more useful model if divergent peoples are to ever successfully occupy the same political space without conflict.

Sure, artists and writers have a responsibility and even a duty to rock the boat if they believe the crew are off-course. Many people might ask you know Anthony what's the point if that results in the sinking of the vessel with consequential loss of all lives on board?

We all need to be more respectful and 'reflect-full' ... otherwise like those of the 'martyrs brigade' we become overly attached to pyrrhic results.

(Thanks for another thought provoking piece and for providing the space for reflection on what for many of us are challenging concerns).

frankie said...

Don't know about Paris burning books but peopes emotions are highly charged.

Most haven't seen anything like this in their lives (least for a generation)....

Once the dust settles and peoples lives go back to normal. I'll let the world know what my oldest wee girl thinks..

For me seeing an army foot patrol isn't anything new.. Turning on the TV and hearing about a terrorist attack, well like most heads I remember the summer 1981, 14 days in May...Shankill bombing and everything in between..

But to young French people this is well off their radar. This is something they never thought would happen on their own door step..

frankie said...

All this bollicks about a sucessfull end etc...

it's bollicks, had the 'terroists' been taken alive then they'd (French DST) have gleaned loads of info..

Bottom line is they are in the dark (media will dress it up) but they are snookered..

frankie said...

Let's keep in perspective.... 17 dead.

And for yrs the French DST knew the heads....

sean bres said...

It is not the 'theocrats and theologues' you speak of who've strategically nurtured this fascist blend of ideology and religion Tony, they are no more than pawns when the chips are down and we need to look beyond that. The truth and the reality is far more insidious and remains to be confronted, Larry alludes to it in his comments elsewhere but only scratches the surface.

The reality is the imperial exploitation of countries whose resources we covet and need, but have no wish to pay a fair price for, depends on establishing a moral paradigm which infects our perception of those who live in these countries or societies. To kill them and take their resources they must first be cast as sub-human animals who deserve no less.

That is the purpose of Charlie Hebdo, just as it is the purpose of Islamic State and its grevious crimes inflicted against the people of Syria, Iraq and the Kurds. This is about creating fear and tension in society to justify the massive and wholesale destruction employed by its political leadership elsewhere and is a strategy as old as the hills.

We should not separate those who carried out these sickening killings from the construct that deliberately creates such madmen. To do otherwise allows the true culprits to escape unharmed. Yes these terrorist fanatics bear responsibility, and we do not and should not deny that, but so black is the nature of the covert intelligence war going on while we sit in isolation in our living rooms, watching soaps or the European Champions League, that the chilling reality is the powers that be are glad to see this type of thing happen as it serves their wider agenda.

Do not fool yourself for a second that these people care one jot for any of us, least of all those poor souls murdered in the streets of Paris. What's that old caption from the Russia Today Network, 'question more'? You better believe it...

DaithiD said...

Sean, ive noticed you don’t take well to being challenged, but this is bugging me (more than most things you say)

We should not separate those who carried out these sickening killings from the construct that deliberately creates such madmen.

Yet you so clearly need to, you ignore the Blasphemy doctrine with its death penalty, which is their stated mission, to avenge their Prophet. Only one interview whilst on the run did they mention foreign interventions, and that was in the context of their targeting of males only (although one female was actually killed), it was not a motive.
As much as you need it to fit into your leftist view of imperialist backlash, its just not true.Also your view rests on the racist notion that brown people cant truly be French citizens, and so are not fractionally responsible for France’s share of imperialist folly.French born people did this.
(Oh I have used the 'racist' word twice...its quite addictive!)

Do not fool yourself for a second that these people care one jot for any of us, least of all those poor souls murdered in the streets of Paris.

So why do you repeat their interpretation of events, and ignore what the perpetrators actually claim as motive? Suddenly the same governments have become all benign and truthful? I suspect no amount of evidence to the contrary will change your official stance, given that your place in society (rather, The Societies) is predicated on not thinking outside leftist analysis.

sean bres said...

Hopefully Niall or some of the others who recognise the nuances of what's going on and the agenda it serves can comment on this, as what I've said has simply gone over your head. Anti-imperialist backlash? Couldn't be further from how I interpret these heinous crimes. That my opinions bug you I'll have to take on the chin but they're not those of the 1916 Societies, they're my own and that's as far as it goes

DaithiD said...

Sean maybe I am wrong, can you explain to me how these texts from Koran and some Hadiths on subject of Blasphemy
In the Koran,Sura Al Madiah 33:34
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and run about to spread mischief in the land is this; they should be put to death or crucified or their alternate hands and feet should be cut off, or they should be banished from the land
There are 11 mentions of the seriousness of Blaspheming (including against God) in total : 2:88, 4:15, 5:17, 5:64, 5:68, 5:73, 6:19, 9:74, 11:19, 14:28, 39:8.
are not to be followed by Muslims ?

(I'll have to post in two parts because its a long one)

DaithiD said...

There are many anecdotes about Mohammed’s commands too, I don’t suggest buying every book, but there are questions on message boards where these are referenced in helpful bundles :

In a sound hadith the Prophet commanded that Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf be killed. He asked, "Who will deal with Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf? He has harmed Allah and His Messenger." He sent someone to assassinate him without calling him to Islam, in distinction to other idol-worshippers. The cause of that lay in his causing harm to the Prophet. That indicates that the Prophet had him killed for something other than idol-worship. It was for causing harm. Abu Rafi,' who used to harm the Messenger of Allah and work against him, was also killed.

Similarly on the Day of the Conquest, he ordered the killing of Ibn Khatal and his two slavegirls who used to sing his curses on the Prophet.

In another hadith about a man who used to curse the Prophet, the Prophet said, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Khalid said, "I will," so the Prophet sent him out and he killed him.

Similarly the Prophet commanded that a group of unbelievers who used to injure and curse him, like an-Nadr ibn al-Harith and 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt, be killed. He promised that a group of them would be killed before and after the conquest. They were all killed except for those who hurried to become Muslim before they were overpowered. Al-Bazzar related from Ibn 'Abbas that 'Uqba ibn Abi Mu'ayt cried out, "O company of Quraysh, why is it that I alone among you am to be killed without war?" The Prophet said, "For your disbelief and your forging lies against the Messenger of Allah."

'Abdu'r-Razzaq mentioned that a man cursed the Prophet, causing the Prophet to say, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Az-Zubayr said, "I will." He sent az-Zubayr and he killed him.

It is related that a woman used to curse the Prophet and he said, "Who will save me from my enemy?" Khalid ibn al-Walid went out and killed her.

It is related that a man forged lies against the Prophet and he sent 'Ali and az-Zubayr to kill him.

Ibn Qani' related that a man came to the Prophet and said, "Messenger of Allah, I heard my father say something ugly about you, so I killed him," and that did not distress the Prophet.

Al-Mujahir ibn Abi Umayya, the Amir of Yemen, reported to Abu Bakr that a woman there in the time of the Ridda[8]chanted curses against the Prophet, so he cut off her hand and pulled out her front teeth. When Abu Bakr heard that, he said to him, "If you had not done what you already did, I would have commanded you to kill her because the hadd regarding the Prophet is not like the hadd regarding others."

Ibn 'Abbas said that a woman from Khatma[9] satirised the Prophet and the Prophet said, "Who will deal with her for me?" A man from her people said, "I will, Messenger of Allah." The man got up and went and killed her. He told the Prophet who said, "Two goats will not lock horns over her."[10]

Ibn 'Abbas said that a blind man had an umm walad who used to curse the Prophet. He scolded her and restrained her, but she would not be restrained. That night she began to attack and revile the Prophet, so he killed her. He told the Prophet about that and he said he had shed her blood with impunity.[11]

Qadi Abu Muhammad ibn Nasr said, "No one disagreed with him." So the Imams take this, as a proof that anyone who does anything that might anger, harm or curse the Prophet in any way should be killed.

There is also the letter of 'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz to his governor in Kufa. He had asked his advice about killing a man who had cursed 'Umar. 'Umar wrote back to him, "It is not lawful to kill a Muslim for cursing anyone except the Messenger of Allah. Whoever curses him, his blood is lawful."

DaithiD said...

If you can abrogate all these, you would be doing the world a great great service, you could prevent further lives being lost, because these verses are what it comes down to (Imam?) Bres. Even if you can abrogate them, isn’t it partially true that it is still part of Islam?
Or is it easier to do none of the above and quote Leviticus (24:16) back to me, and pretend all religions are the same?

Glen Shane-Pass said...

I may be just being a curmudgeon who likes to go against the flow but my take on it is this.

I see the press falling over themselves to republish the images that caused the problem in the first place. That'll do wonders for relations around the world. I think the cartoonists and the gunmen are two sides of the same coin.

Free speech is all very well, but there's also cultural sensitivity. I'd like to see what sort of reception some cartoons about the holocaust would get. Or how about the hunger strikers? Or slavery?

I certainly support free speech, but what the cartoonists were doing is not worthy of support on those grounds. Free speech is one thing, and insulting people and winding them up for no good reason I can think of is something entirely different. What they were doing was little better than the antics of the Westboro Baptist church, or Paisley railing against the 'antichrist'.

Republishing these pictures on every front page is really going to show all the non radicalised Muslms what the west thinks of them. Great job! Handy recruitment campaign for the next lot of disgruntled youths.

I'm an atheist but I have no problem with others practising their religion, just so long as they don't try inflicting it on me. It's all a load of supernatural mumbo jumbo as far as I'm concerned, but that doesn't mean I can't respect other people's beliefs, be they Muslims, Roman Catholics, Free Presbyterians or devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

sean bres said...

I have no need to abrogate Islam David, nor do I understand why you feel I would wish to. My views on Islam, or any other organised religion for that matter, are a separate issue, which I venture would not fit in with your perceptions of me. Suffice to say the Vatican or any of the rest of them are no friend of mine.

Returning to your point, if I'd said the record of imperialism in the Arab world was to blame for this and described it as the logical backlash - as others have said elsewhere but which for me does not penetrate anywhere near far enough the stinking morass of lies - I could accept your criticism. But that isn't what I said. In my view the motives of the attackers are inconsequential to the wider paradigm, regardless of whether they truly believed in them, regardless if they believed they were fighting for Allah, the Quran, France or Uncle Sam himself.

The true value in such an operation, for reactionary imperialism and the world order it promotes and serves, is found in its ability to shape politics, shift the narrative when and where required and all with the purpose of maintaining the dominant consensus. To that purpose Charlie Hebdo and its proponents are the servant of imperialism rather than its assailants - that they themselves may not have been aware of this truly matters not.

Historical archives from the Cold War, relating to the evacuation of Nazi intelligence, entire regiments of their foot soldiers and their redeployment against perceived 'subversives' on hunting grounds of old within Italy, France and other theatres of conflict in the intelligence war, tells us they've done this type of thing before, and worse, and we have no reason to presume they would not do it again.

Aside from that, I view the onslaught against Islam, which you help perpetrate with your analysis of it as an evil to be rooted out, as an extension of the war on terror and its true function - which is to create terror so we can fight it, so we can kill, destroy, loot and pillage, all to take what isn't ours with a clear conscience.

Our moral compass as a society won't allow it unless we dehumanise those we wish to kill and rob as mindless fanatics, who will strike at us in our beds if we stand by and let them. In short, the 'Dirty Arab' mindset of old and the racist paradigm it promotes is no longer enough to warrant turning a blind eye or closing our minds to what are our crimes. Today we need the fundamentalist, jihadi-bogeyman to scare us into submission, to keep us from asking awkward questions. For our own good.

sean bres said...

Your comments elsewhere are on a par with Farage and Le Pen by the way, which for me goes to shows how well they've done this job. We should expect nothing less, they are masters of deception - 'by way of deception thou shalt do war'. The writing on Paris' gable walls proclaiming 'death to the Arabs' is but an indication of their success, no matter what level of involvement, if any, imperialism or its agents had in this specific operation. What ultimately matters to them is setting the background not the foreground. That to them is just dressing.

The racism you mentioned is a necessary feature in all of this, as instilling a racist analysis and perception of the Arab world, as the source of evil and terrorism, is required to justify our taking what doesn't belong to us, or more accurately an unwillingness to confront those who do in our political leadership or to even consider that this goes on.

The Charlie Hebdo terror attacks are in my view an extension of the Cold War 'strategy of tension'. Have you heard of it? The purpose is to use controlled black-bag operations to instil fear and confusion and to cultivate a need to kill those responsible and the community from which they came. It's original purpose was to discredit leftists on the European continent and sow fear among the general populace that by voting left you opened your society to a violent counterattack. An easier life would be preferable.

I believe the war on terror was created to serve the same agenda and by the same people. The military-industrial complex, and the criminal banking houses which gave rise and are partner to it, should be of far greater concern to those who aspire to a meaningful peace in our world than anything else we think we know or have seen.

Charlie Hebdo was an unspeakable crime to be denounced from the highest heavens, of that there's no doubt. Those who carried it out deserve no pity or understanding and no excuse can be made for them. That though is a separate matter to uncovering the full, rotten and frightening truth, or to speaking out where we see it. The false left-right paradigm is irrelevant, this is on a totally different level.

sean bres said...

It would be easier for me to sit back and say nothing of such things because the inevitable accusations of moonbeam and nutjob are sure to follow, even where they go unsaid. Regardless that's my honest opinion on what's really going on and what's really at stake. Societal censorship in the form of peer pressure, not necessarily deliberate in origin, to conform to an ‘acceptable’ paradigm of what and what does not constitute truth should not prevent us from giving our opinion, even if all but one dismiss it as deluded fantasy.

Political acceptance is not what I seek but the truth. If question marks as to my sanity, not that you've suggested that, can be pinned on me as a result then so be it. I have no political ambition or station to protect or safeguard so will call it as I see it regardless. Family and friends who know me are the only people who really count anyway.

I woke up to the horrible reality of what is really goes on in this world as a bright-eyed teenager and drifted back to sleep, consumed by my own concerns and worries in the cut and thrust of rearing a family. 2-3 years ago something changed in me and I woke up. I never intend to fall asleep again. To understand Charlie Hebdo, Syria, Ukraine, the petrodollar, debt, and everything else that are ultimately tools of control, we must look beyond the looking-glass and to a world where white is black and black is white. Told ye's long ago I was nuts, never denied it… Oiche mhaith and sorry about the length of this particular contribution.

sean bres said...

You'd be surprised what people would be prepared to accept, tolerate or ignore if need be once sufficiently frightened. For those aware of this enduring reality and how it can be manipulated to serve their ends there is no surprise involved. I should be offline till at least tomorrow evening but hopefully you can see now how the left analysis you believe pervades my entire political outlook is neither here nor there. Slan

DaithiD said...

Thanks Sean,
” I have no need to abrogate Islam David, nor do I understand why you feel I would wish to. “

Because you know there is no theological basis for the attack? You said so:

“It is not the 'theocrats and theologues' you speak of who've strategically nurtured this fascist blend of ideology and religion Tony,”

This is a very, very weird statement, I trust when people take actions to such an extreme level, they have really thought about it, and for longer than you:

” In my view the motives of the attackers are inconsequential to the wider paradigm”

Aside from that, I view the onslaught against Islam, which you help perpetrate with your analysis of it as an evil to be rooted out,
Correct, because I believe in freedom of religion, freedom from religion, freedom of speech, female emancipation

”as an extension of the war on terror and its true function - which is to create terror so we can fight it, so we can kill, destroy, loot and pillage, all to take what isn't ours with a clear conscience.”

No, not at all, If others want to live by it, even in the UK and Ireland, that is their choice, what I protest is the lack of understanding around what Islam is, if people make a rational choice to submit to Islam in the full knowledge of what will result that’s fine. This debate cannot be had with leftist elements shouting racist at any criticism.

”Our moral compass as a society won't allow it unless we dehumanise those we wish to kill and rob as mindless fanatics, who will strike at us in our beds if we stand by and let them.”

Hmmm, just hyperbole im afraid. I give you referenced material to work on, I get this back, its not fair"

The writing on Paris' gable walls proclaiming 'death to the Arabs is but an indication of their success”

It bad and offensive, but incomparable in scale to what has taken place in Paris the past three days, this backlash was being warned about before anything had taken place. Is it actually proven what section wrote it?
“It's original purpose was to discredit leftists on the European continent and sow fear among the general populace that by voting left you opened your society to a violent counterattack.”

Fine Sean, but Islam predates any of these Western constructs like Socialism etc, it was behaving exactly the same since its inception, please look at the life of Mohammed. The Koran was a war manual, before they had even seen a stars and stripes.

sean bres said...

Just noticed I left this bit out, that's if any of thesis even of interest to anyone bar myself. Arming all sides in conflict, profiting of the blood and controlling the debt created by war is also a huge element of the wider picture. What type of psychopaths would really engage in such conspiracy? The military-industrial complex and the financial powerhouses through whom it operates. This is no conspiracy but was warned off by the highest office in the United States, not once but twice. The second time round John Kennedy had his head blown off in Dallas, Texas.

Coincidentally one of those identified by Louisiana state-prosecutor Jim Garrison (who brought the only case ever tried around the JFK hit) as involved in the matrix of lies surrounding the Kennedy assassination was none other than Alan Dulles, former CIA supremo and architect of the clandestine NATO-controlled P2 death-squads of Licio Gelli - himself a lieutenant of the depraved Hermann Goering. These secretive terror units terrorised Europe throughout the Cold War, committing massacres such as the bombings in Bologna among many other heinous crimes now referred to as 'the Years of Lead'.

David Higgins said...

Glen shane pass,
You're either support free speech or you don't you can't say free speech is fine but you've got to have cultural sensitivity, it's a contradiction. I don't know much about this magazine but i think their point is that islam should be mocked without fear, same as any other belief system. As for slavery, holocaust and the hunger strikers you'll find numerous right wing publications/websites who have mocked them repeatedly. There can be no restictions on free speech otherwise it does not exist, incidentally no religion hasn't supressed free speech. Daithi it always amuses me when christians distant themselves from violence. On recieving criticism about Iraq did Bush not say he answered to a higher power, his christain god, All religions use their imaginary friend as a justification for slaughter.

sean bres said...

Again it just goes clean over your head. I'm not talking about or defending Islam

DaithiD said...

Daithi it always amuses me when christians distant themselves from violence. On recieving criticism about Iraq did Bush not say he answered to a higher power, his christain god,

David H, its quite simple. There is a distinction to made between the followers of a religion and the actual religion. There is also a distinction between the role the Bible plays in Christianity, and the Koran in Islam.

Firstly, George Bush can say he is receiving instructions from God, there is nothing in New Testament doctrine that gives legitimacy to his actions. He can call himself whatever he wants, it doesn’t make it true. (I would draw a parallel to the Paris march today, we have the heads of Turkey, Bahrain and Egypt joining a march ostensibly in memory of journalists killed for exercising their right to free speech, they are “Charlie” too? Turkey locks up more journalists that anywhere else in the world, Bahrain is the second worst per capita).

Secondly, there are many verses in the Koran and the anecdotes about Mohammeds actions (the Hadiths) which not only sanction murder, but compel its followers to murder. The bloody thirsty verses in the Old Testament are not instructions for believers to follow. Mohammed is the perfect man for Muslims, who all strive to emulate, and none of whoms actions are considered immoral, yet he verifiably murdered and tortured people. The passages where he showed mercy to people, were at a time just after Islams inception when Muslims were a minority in the region. After his conquest of Mecca and Medina, it became quite a different faith, this later verses abrogate the earlier verses (so often quoted by TV soundbites).

Even if none of what I say is true, why shouldn’t I be allowed to just be wrong? Why is there a distinction between the faiths in this respect, but not in the manner I have outlined above?

sean bres said...

You're entitled to your opinion surely and you make fair points. What concerns me more though is how these fascists are actually doing more damage and causing greater offence to their own religion than those they attacked themselves. Nasrallah has spoken on this earlier. What I really wonder is who's agenda is really being served by it all

Glen Shane-Pass said...

David Higgins:
It's possible to support free speech but to realise that it has its limits. Jeremy Bentham recognised this in his 'greatest happiness principle'. John Stuart Mill thought that there should be no limits on free speech. So it's a matter of opinion. In this instance I would have thought it pretty obvious that the antics of Charlie Hebdo weren't going to lead to the greatest happiness, certainly not for themselves.

A few years ago someone in France was convicted and fined for remarks about the holocaust. And I doubt that many of those who have mocked the holocaust or whatever have been afforded the privilege of an armed police guard. The recent remarks by the odious Gregory 'yoghurt' Campbell were enough to get him thrown out of Stormont.

Are you sure that there is no religion that has ever failed to suppress free speech? How about Quakers?

Robert said...

Glen Shane-Pass,

'I think the cartoonists and the gunmen are two sides of the same coin.'

Observing the events in France it is difficult to conceive what level of cerebral activity precedes a public expression of equivalence between the cartoonists and those who murdered them? This appears to be an observation made from the back of the 'Ponderosa' with a cardboard box over your head than reasoning arrived at from any intellectual endeavour.
The distinction seems so elementary.
Professional artists collaborating on a legitimate enterprise, wholly conducive with the ideals of a liberal democracy, armed with nothing more dangerous than a pencil and a sense of humour confronted by the warped ideology and homicidal intent of Islamic jihadists, avenging a percieved insult to an Ali Baba like figure from the 6th Century.

David Higgins said...

I have never read the koran, so I don't know if it is a war guide or holy book, I am not that interested. That wasn't my point, my point was that every religion is used to justify babarity. Even if the new testament is full of messages of peace that doesn't stop U.S generals thanking god for the success of their missions, or U.S evangelists using the new testament to justify their support for Israeli terrorism. It all comes down to interpretation. I just can't take Christians, with our history, seriously when they get on their high horse condemning fundamentalist for killing for god when us Europeans have been doing it for centuries. Christians are always quick to point out the message of peace in the n.t and are always quick to distance themselves from Christain violence but whatever way you look at it and however much you try to drift away from the old testament, God, the Christain God, used violence to further his agenda, so if you are a believer it would be very easy to legitimise your actions by attributing your deeds to God. I have no problem with religions or people making distinctions between religions. For me the your faith is more violent than my faith argument is pointless. Whatever the dogma, the outcome is the same, bloodshed.

David Higgins said...

Glen shane pass,
I disagree. If you put limits on free speech then it is not free speech. If the quakers support free speech fair play to them. Main stream religions historical relationship with free speech is deplorable. Robert very eloquently put, made me feel uncouth just reading it. (had to get the dictionary to spell eloquent and for the meaning of uncouth, ha)

Glen Shane-Pass said...

David Higgins:
If you put limits on free speech then it is not free speech."
But there *are* recognised limits on free speech around the world. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry on Hate Speech.

I agree absolutely that mainstream religions' record is deplorable, but it's not correct that there are no exceptions. I'm not aware of the Salvation Army carrying out any massacres in spite of their martial organisation. They, and the Quakers, are in my experience, good people, in spite of their propensity for imaginary friends.

Glen Shane-Pass said...

The two sides of the same coin are not equivalent. That would cause much dispute at sporting events. They are, however, inextricably linked. In this instance the cartoonists and the murderers were linked by a mutually destructive and intransigent race to the bottom. Both sides achieved a Pyrrhic victory. And I can't see that anything either side did advances the world in any way. I certainly don't think the cartoonists got what they deserved, if that's what you're suggesting. But neither do I see them as heroes or martyrs.

I don't think the cartoonists were "collaborating on a legitimate enterprise, wholly conducive with the ideals of a liberal democracy". They set out to insult and wind people up. I fail to see how that is in any way admirable or liberal. It looks like unnecessary shit stirring for its own sake. To defend such playground antics as free speech denigrates that admirable principle.

I'm mystified by what the Ponderosa has to do with it. As far as I know it's a kind of tree, or possibly a reference to Bonanza. In either sense it doesn't appear to have any relevance to anything. Maybe your spelling checker needs an oil change. And my chosen garb doesn't include a cardboard box. I much prefer a tinfoil hat.

David Higgins said...

Glen shane pass,
I am aware there is rectrictions on free speech, I just don't agree with them. As for hate crime and hate speech, I think they are terrible laws. If someone commits a crime, punish them, don't call it a hate crime for political reasons, sanctimoniously scoring points. As far as hate speech people should be allowed to have their opinions no matter how horrible and society should be grown up enough to discard nonsense as nonsense. All these laws are fascism, in my opinion.

Glen Shane-Pass said...

David Higgins:
In that case we are never going to agree and I have no more to say. I support free speech within what I think are reasonable constraints, but I also think everyday life requires a level of civility so we can all get along. You're an absolutist. Fair enough.

David Higgins said...

Glen shane pass.
Fair enough. Fair play to you.

Robert said...

Glen Shane-Pass,

'I don't think the cartoonists were "collaborating on a legitimate enterprise, wholly conducive with the ideals of a liberal democracy.They set out to insult and wind people up.'

Aside from expressing a personal opinion you have yet to present a cogent argument that would demonstrate anything to the contrary. Satire is a potent device that amuses as much as it infuriates. To those it insults it can also transform. Barbarism - always something we should seek to change.

'It looks like unnecessary shit stirring for its own sake. To defend such playground antics as free speech denigrates that admirable principle.'

Yet it is the fettering of critical activity that you champion here and not the stated object of your admiration.
There is perhaps nothing more denigrating to the principle of free speech than the call to conform to the jihadist menace, for democratic society to be worried of who is listening as Michael Waltzer put it, there is no need for us to whisper, and avoid controversial and dangerous subjects.

What critique of Muhammed and the fundamentalist element of his followers is permissable within your concept of 'free speech'?

'I'm mystified by what the Ponderosa has to do with it.'

The Glen Shane Pass is a remote stretch of the Belfast to Londonderry Rd where a public house called 'The Ponderosa' is situated on the edge of a peat bog.

frankie said...

One of the questions I've been asking myself since the Charlie massacre is when does satire/ black humour cross the line?

I remember the Louis Mountbatten jokes about him not having dandruff, because they found his head and shoulders on the beach (which I didn't find offensive), yet I found the army joke about "Built by robots. Driven by joyriders. Stopped by 'A' Company" when both Karen Reilly & Martin Peake both died whilst joy riding offensive...

Now we have Channel 4 thinking about a black humoured comedy about the Irish famine..

Maybe it's down to peoples perceptions....

ozzy said...

Yeah Frankie..I have a problem with that "famine" satire or sitcom or whatever it is.
One reason is, it's not as if there has been many films or tv series/documentaries about that. If there are some. They are rarely repeated.
So my point is..If/when it does show up..It shows up as comedy?
Something wrong there.
I would think it better to have a tv series or drama documentary about it.
Be great if HBO were to make one.
British tv used to be good. Dennis Potter etc and documentaries. Not for a longtime.