Yes, me too ! I too am one Charlie, but hopefully not of the the sort, that has met in Paris today, falsely pretending to speak for western civil rights. In my view, many of these people were wannabe-Charlies, who endorse one man’s right and restrict his/her fellow-man’s opinion.
Charlies like me know, that free speech can hurt the religious and political feelings of other citizens and that it is nearly always a double edged sword. But in a free society it is a prerequisite. It is indispensable. If the thing is to be called a free society every individual, group and congregation has to be granted freedom of expression (short of incitement to murder of course).
Human feelings are legally protected interests as well and they should be. But if they conflict with the freedom of of speech, the priority must be clear. At least “in my book”, at least here in Europe. Free speech trumps hurt feelings – whether they are for real or only a pretext.
This is my reasoning for being a Charlie. (On a practical side note I think that Charlie Hebdo behaved in a really dumb way and is a legitimate contender for the next Darwin Award.)
Now – does the politician-infested crowd in Paris have a claim to be the champion of free speech, no matter what? Can the marchers assert in good faith, that for them freedom of expression is sacrosanct, as they are repeating over and over again: “Je suis Charlie” ?
Hardly. Their day-to-day practice does not look this way.
Free speech is certainly not the way of the caviar left, which has excelled in gagging certain dissenting opinions from day one. Likeweise those rightwing Merkozys, who have to share a big blame with social democrats, the blame for their misguided immigration and integration policies – in nearly all european countries and back for many, many years and even decades.
Did these politicians and media people defend the right to free speech for Alain Soral or only his right to be spared from ill-willed legal prosecution ? Did they defend Soral or did they – on the contrary – encourage “their” apparatus to harass this man without end ?
What about the ban from appearing for the supposedly antisemitic actor and writer Dieudonné M’bala M’bala ? Dieudo is a french-camerounian acitivist and comedian. He claims to be an antizionist and in his performances he sometimes makes fun of the “shoah” (which may very well hurt the feelings of a lot of jews).
His performances have been banned at the urging of Manuel Valls, then French interior minister, now prime minister – supposedly because they are a public safety risk. As Wikipedia puts it:
What about the so called holocaust deniers ? Are they fair game for everybody who feels like venting his spleen ?
Talk about Robert Faurisson. Who in the west european media uttered a word, when Faurisson had his jawbones broken by unknown thugs ? Which french politician did step forward in defence of Faurisson’s life and liberty ?
None. What they did, was to simply outlaw certain interpretations of history, just like in Germany and Austria.
If Faurisson is wrong – which he certainly is – why is he not entiteled to be wrong ? In allegedly free France, 70 years – two generations – after the end of national socialism ? Why are the “findings” of Faurisson et alii not a case for professional historians only ? (When did those ever deal properly and systematically with what the so called revisionists have put forward?)
Surely mainstream historians have the better arguments and would prevail in the end – so why is there a need to suppress “alternative views”? Why does a radical leftie like Noam Chomsky have to step up to the plate and come to Faurisson’s defence ?
Could it be you and your ilk, M Valls and Mdme Merkel ? Could it be, that for you some cases of freedom of expression “are more equal” than others ?
Freedom of speech and liberty of faith are all one, part of an indivisible complex. If you allow or even encourage to draw antiislamic stereotypes, there is no way to ban “antisemitic stereotypes” (with or without question marks).
And he, who supports the right to draw Muhammad cartoons, but instigates stage bans for comedians lacks every political credibility whatsoever. Capisce Manuel ?
Foto: Zedka29, Wikimedia Commons, Réseau Voltaire, Wikimedia Commons