Tout est pardonné

Charlie Hebdo The cover of the next issue of Charlie Hebdo has been released (via). The caption reads “All is Forgiven.”

And while I’m on the subject, I have seen some – frankly rather weaselly – accusations levelled at the paper. I have a couple of responses to these.

First, and most importantly, even if the paper had taken a racist, xenophobic or anti-immigrant editorial line, that is still no excuse for cold-bloodedly murdering a bunch of writers and cartoonists. There is never any excuse for cold-bloodedly murdering writers, cartoonists, or anyone else.

Secondly, the claims are untrue and those making them are, at best, both ignorant and too lazy to check their facts. The point to bear in mind here is that Charlie Hebdo is a French paper commenting on French domestic news. When someone cherry picks an image and, without understanding the context, the target or the joke, uses it to level accusations, they are veering from being ignorant to being disingenuous. So, with that in mind, here’s a collection of anti-racist cartoons by Cabu for Charlie Hebdo from Daily Kos (via).

It is worth reiterating that there is no right to not be offended. Indeed, if you live in a free society people will say things that you find offensive. Equally, some of the things you say will offend others. When people use fear of offence to justify placing limits on which opinions can and cannot be expressed, they are not supporting the oppressed; they are pandering to the theocrats, the fascists and the mobs that would take our freedoms away.

Without freedom of expression, we do not have a free society. Freedom of expression, like all our freedoms, cannot be taken for granted. It needs to be re-asserted. Repeatedly.

This is what Charlie Hebdo did.

Long may they continue.

Quote of the day: Enough

At some point, we need to stand up for the civil liberties and human rights that are fundamental to our values. Those values are not racist; they do not undermine religious freedom and tolerance, and they do not oppress ethnic minorities.

Those values are about every individual holding certain fundamental rights by virtue of them being human. Rights to life, to liberty, to freedom of movement and assembly. Rights to choose who one marries, or whether one even marries at all. Rights to not be tortured or harmed. Rights to express oneself, to determine one’s own religious belief, to freedom of thought and conscience.

Until we remember how central those values are to our society, and how dear we must hold and protect them, these horrific attacks will go on.

Rosa Freedman