Friday, 9 January 2015

Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie **

**  Title taken from an article by that name by Arthur Chu in  "The Daily Beast".

Following the ghastly and murderous rampage against staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, so folks have taken to saying and writing "Je Suis Charlie" as an expression  of support for the freedom of the press.

I cannot say that.

Of course I deplore the massacre  (why do we always have to include such disclaimers?)

Of course I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of the press (although the press in the U.S.A is not nearly as free as we would like to believe).

But Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.

Charlie Hebdo is allegedly a satirical magazine.  I am all for satire.  But the best satire is subtle, and not immediately obvious.  (I think of  some of the satirical articles in "The Onion" which are so close to the truth that they are often taken for truth and passed around the internet).

Having (to the soiling of my eyes) seen some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons I believe them to be crude, vile, and entirely unpleasant.  They show all the old (and too familiar) caricatures of the avaricious hook-nosed Jew; the corrupt, mendacious and hypocritical Catholic Priest; and the violent and blood-thirsty Muslim.

They are on a par with some of the filthy anti-Jewish propaganda of the N-zi regime  (and of some elements in the modern Arab Muslim world).  They show no signs of subtlety, but are sophomoric (to say the least), and disgracefully crude (to say more). 

They feed into all the mean and miserable words and thoughts of  xenophobes, bigots, and racists everywhere.

Bigotry and hatred are bigotry and hatred, even when they mask themselves as humour or satire.

I do not believe in censorship by the State.  But I do believe that self-censorship is often wise -  it is an expression of humility.

But  with every respect for the dead and their grieving family members I have to say again that I deplore the massacre, but  Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie.

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