Tag Archives: freedom of speech

The disrespectful freedom of speech

9 Ene

Regarding Chalie Hedbo

canstockphoto22658412It is still hard to believe that fanaticism makes people so blind. I have a kind of double feeling regarding what has just happened in France. I strongly condemn the murder of the people and journalists of Charlie Hedbo. I don’t accept any kind of violence, justified or not. I also understand that newspapers and journalists around the world are angry, powerless, worried, sad and frustrated over the death of their colleagues. I am a journalist myself. I don’t work as a journalist now, but I share all those feelings because beyond being a journalist, I am a human being.

All the media around the world, in a kind of unspoken agreement, have placed the murder on their front pages, are publishing disapproving quotes from opinion leaders, and are uploading unedited witness videos in which we can see the cold-blooded assassination of a police officer. They are searching for the reasons, the suspects, the murders, and publishing the stories. In other words, the media has given us a couple of days where it has reproduced the abominable massacre and fomented citizens to protests. Alright. I protest as well…but…the problem is beyond a cartoon and its humour. In my humble opinion, the real problem has been overlooked again. And it is that we experience an increase in lack of respect and lack of leadership in all sectors, areas and corners of the world, and this also affects the media.

I wonder to what extent we are free to say and act without being considerate of others’ thoughts, beliefs and feelings only because we say and act so far as our freedom of speech brings us. Where is the limit? Is there any? I don’t justify the murder of those journalists, but I also didn’t approve of the provocation of a community that is a strong believer of Allah and the Quran. I wonder why they published provocative cartoons even when being aware that fundamentalism and fanaticism are very strong in some Muslim communities. Did Charlie Hedbo take the risk to gain some popularity or maybe it was because they wanted to say something to the world? Was the message: we are here, living in a democracy and enjoying freedom of speech, and you don’t? Was that a real reaction to the extreme fanaticism of some Muslim groups, meant to arouse anger in groups that were already upset with Europe and the United States? Why?

I don’t share Muslims’ strict lifestyle, don’t believe in what they do and the Quran is for me just an interesting book. By respecting —not accepting—them and their belief I am just trying to live in peace. I strongly expect the same of them and other societies.

Our democratic minds don’t accept oppression, submission, disrespect, fanaticism and injustice, but they exist. The question is what we are doing to live together in peace.

For years political (so-called) leaders have tried to talk about human rights and democracy with the political-religious leaders from the Middle East and other strong religious countries without great success. We, democrats, have interfered (many times) in their political affairs in what we think is not correct. I mean, we have put our noses in and given opinions about what has happened in other people’s houses. And yes, you are right, if we don’t intervene the atrocities would be even worse because what they do to kids and women is horrible. But then why don’t we stop selling weapons to the black market, weapons that give power to the abusive governments? Why don’t our political leaders agree on better cooperation for education and health, so it has to come from NGOs instead? Why don’t we pay fair prices for the raw materials that come from poor countries, so people can have a better life? Why do our democratic interests foment division and internal wars in some countries? Why do countries only intervene in other countries’ issues where oil is in risk, whilst they forget the rights of girls, for example in Sudan?

We are in a vicious cycle that is not going to stop. I can be seen as a pessimist now but I am tired of being optimistic when it comes to politics and religion.

What happened in France will repeat in some years if we, democrats, don’t really help by stopping the under-the-table negotiations of oil and weapons in the black markets. If this doesn’t happen I am afraid we will find ourselves discussing the same thing again and once again condemning the same people.

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