I am Charlie.



Oscar Wilde said: Oscar Wilde was quoted this morning on TV, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” If they don’t laugh does that mean we should stop telling the truth or just expect to be killed? Apparently.

The Paris killings at Charlie Hebdo have created such conflict in my head. The killers are hideous and frightening and disgusting. More dead journalists, journalists who exposed fanaticism and hypocrisy through satire.  More fear and hatred of all things Islam. More grist for the fascist mill. But yes, I am Charlie, standing with the right to express your opinion however much it angers people. Yes.

John Stewart said: Here’s John Stewart. “Our hearts are with staff of Charlie Hebdo and their families,” he began. “I know very few people go into comedy as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn’t have to be that. It shouldn’t be an act of courage; it should be taken as established law. But those guys at Hebdo had it and they were killed for their cartoons.”

“A stark reminder that for the most part the legislators and journalists and institutions that we jab and ridicule are not in any way the enemy,” Stewart continued. “For however frustrating or outraged the back and forth can become it’s still back and forth, a conversation amongst those on let’s call it ‘Team Civilization.’ And this type of violence only clarifies that reality.” Yes.

I say: Here’s my problem. With myself. My friend was the ED of the NM ACLU when there was a public gathering of Nazis somewhere in the U.S. and the ACLU was supporting their right to gather and to march. I was horrified and called my friend in protest. I don’t remember exactly what she said but of course the gist of it was what everyone is saying now…The First Amendment is to protect the right of people to express opinions some of us may find horrific, ideas we do not all want to hear. Yes. No. Yes.

Honestly I do not believe in the rights of Nazis to march. Or to exist except in their cellars. Same for White Supremacists. I could go on but suffice it to say I do NOT believe everyone has the right to freely express their beliefs—at least in the public domain.

Who can and who can’t say what? Just talking about satire…it’s easier then thinking about the big picture of freedom and democracy and all of our favorite ‘good’ constructs.

This is what I believe—I think. Everyone can be satirized for what they have control over in their lives: actions, beliefs, appearance, habits…again, for what they have some control over. People should not be satirized for their race, sexual preferences, gender, disabilities, etc. Does that make sense? Yes? No?

Okay, now I’m clear about what is open to satirization…for me.

The right to march, that’s a tough one. Right to Lifers, Right to Choosers. When I’m the Supreme Ruler both groups will get to speak and march, but no blocking other people’s access. And when I am the Supreme Ruler you can make fun of me.


Salman Rushdie said: Author Salman Rushdie knows a thing or two about Islamic intolerance. In 1989, he had a fatwa placed on him by Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini. It seemed that the Ayatollah was bothered by Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses, which contained a character based loosely on him—among other things. The fatwa that was placed on Rushdie pointed out to the world the intolerance of some Muslims to any form of satire of their faith.

In Britain, one man tried to sue Rushdie for blasphemous libel, while a group of Muslims tried to have the book banned. After a trial in which the group was required to present specific, legal reasons why this should happen, the High Office threw the case out and declared that blasphemy prosecutions would no longer be allowed.

Rushdie released a statement on Wednesday about the Paris massacre of 10 writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper:

“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.” From Addicting Info. Org

From a Muslim friend who lives much of the time in France: This is not a quote, just a loose paraphrasing. He is angered by the “I Am Charlie” movement/hashtag/spirit, NOT because he is NOT horrified by the act at Charlie Hebdo but because he asks, rightly I think, why do we always only unite AGAINST, never FOR. Because people coming together only AGAINST are apt to do things that will be as hurtful as the original act. Why never come together in love. He’s right, why don’t we come together more FOR? We do sometimes—“Give Peace a Chance.” Hopefully to someday be more frequent than that inane dangerous chanting of USA USA USA….

I don’t want to think about, right now, the percentage of blame our American bombs and drones and guns have contributed to a world that hosts acts like the idiotic murder of humorists for (somebody’s) god’s (small g) sake. But one thing is for sure we did NOT contribute the same percentage as the proponents of an Islam that kills or whips or jails for criticism or skepticism or something ‘as dangerous’ as free expression. Like much of the Islamic world. Damn. It’s very hard to wrap one’s head around every perspective on this.


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