The status of “victims” does not justify just everything. 12 persons were killed in the Islamist attacks against Charlie Hebdo, but apparently the survivors have learned nothing. They seem to believe that the answer they must give to hatred and intolerance is hatred and intolerance – not only against Islam, but against everyone who does not share their narrow-minded metaphysical blindness. Continue reading
While travelling to the Philippines, Pope Francis held his usual round of questions and answers with the journalists accompanying him. One of them asked whether freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right, includes the right to ridicule someone else’s religion. His answer was rather unlike what one would have expected: Continue reading
Whatever else one may think of them, the victims of a murderous crime deserve our compassion. But does this victim status entail entitlement to a prize? Or should prizes not rather be conferred to those who have distinguished themselves through a particularly meritorious contribution to the public good?
The French Socialist MEP Pervenche Berès has made the proposal to give a special Sakharov prize to the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo. Continue reading
The French Government follows a rather lopsided approach to human rights, in particular to the freedom of expression. This is what becomes increasingly clear in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of last week that cost the lives of 17 persons, among them 4 cartoonists of the “satirical” magazine Charlie Hebdo.
While French media and politicians (including President Hollande, who referred to them as “our heroes”…) have paid effusive homage to the four murdered cartoonists, styling them as martyrs who gave their lives so that we could continue enjoying our freedom of expression, it now turns out that this freedom is not for all. As “Le Figaro” reports, a huge number of persons have been arrested and sentenced for alleged “glorification of terrorism”, a new crime that was introduced into the Criminal Code only a few months ago. Continue reading
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of last week, attempts are being made to impose on society a simplistic choice: either you declare your full approval and endorsement of Charlie Hebdo, or you will be suspected of sympathizing with the terrorists. But this either-or is an over-simplification, which will only polarize society and radicalize the public discourse. This is what must absolutely be avoided. Obviously, no decent person can sympathize (and be it only tacitly) with terrorism. But can a decent person really sympathize with the style in which Charlie Hebdo has mocked what many of us consider sacred? Continue reading
Following the terrorist attacks in Paris this week (as well as those in London 2007, and those in Madrid 2004…) the EU and its Member States are facing the challenge of finding the right response to militant Islamism. This response must, of course, be based on a consistent policy that remains true to Europe’s core values.
Alas, the policies that have been used throughout the last ten to twenty years do not seem to have worked out. At the same time, however, it should be noted that those strategies were developed by immensely wise and well-meaning politicians, and endorsed by wise and well-meaning mainstream media, all of whom are infallible. The conclusion is therefore clear and unavoidable: The strategy was right, but it was not sufficient. We need more of the same!! Continue reading
Following the terrorist attack of Wednesday, there is a big rush of politicians and media people to “solidarize themselves with the victims”, in this case the makers of a rather filthy magazine called “Charlie Hebdo”. “#JeSuisCharlie” is the slogan of the day.
How quick some of them are in changing their discourse.
Do any of you recall a satirical film about the Islamic prophet Mohammed called “Innocence of Muslims” which surfaced (or rather didn’t because it was heavily censored by ‘liberal’ media and politicians) a couple of years ago?
At that time European Parliament President Martin Schulz, nowadays a high-profile defender of freedom of expression and the media (including their right to gratuitously mock and ridicule all religions), played a rather different tune. Continue reading