Charlie and the Fear Factory

O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other, not that ye may despise each other – Verse 49:13, Surat I-hujurat (The Dwellings) The Holy Qur’an

The terrifying events in Paris last week have been pounced upon by the political mainstream and many social media users to declare commitment to freedom of speech and vilify Muslims and Islam.

People in Britain have taken to social media to express solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo magazine. ‘Je Suis Charlie’ they say, but had you heard of this magazine before last week? People who have surely never read the magazine are so profoundly moved that not only are they willing to declare sympathy, but en masse have declared that they are in fact Charlie Hebdo.

World leaders flew to Paris to jostle for position at the front of a solidarity rally. Our war mongering, arms selling Prime Minister was there, a man who once ordered the Guardian to destroy hard drives containing information given to them by Edward Snowden.

And there too was the prima facie war criminal Binyamin Netanyahu, a man with the blood of thousands of Palestinian innocents on his hands, whose own government cracks down on free speech within its own borders and in the territories it occupies. Surreally, along from Netanyahu was Mahmoud Abbas, presumably the most uncomfortable man in Paris that day, marching alongside a man unquestionably responsible for the deaths of over 500 children in Gaza last summer during Israel’s ongoing infanticide.

Uncomfortable
Credit: AFP

WC

The list goes on and the point is that these leaders are demonstrably indifferent to the sanctity of life and freedom of expression.  What they are interested is pushing their own agenda, an agenda of fear and perpetual war that does not benefit the majority of people now proclaiming to ‘be’ Charlie.

Charlie Hebdo magazine is part of a mainstream political culture that increasingly seeks to vilify and marginalise Muslims and Islam, failing to provide details of the context in which events take place. The cartoons they published were knowingly offensive and deliberately blasphemous. Why? Political satire should empower the weak and maligned, not target them.

To support freedom of expression is one thing, but widespread support for a racist, Islamophobic publication is something else. The right to freedom of speech comes with the responsibility not to deliberately attack, disgust and provoke ordinary people.

Muslims are the biggest victims of terror in the world today. Not one government represents a majority Muslim country with any distinction and most are dictatorships that act to shore up American economic ambitions. One of the biggest killers of Muslims is US President Obama, who is in charge of the broadest terror campaign in history; the US drone programme.

And the geopolitics of all of this violence affects us here in London. Our politicians, like the murderers in Paris last week have much to gain by dividing us. Both of these groups, who rely on violence for their power and status, are opportunistically seizing on events in Paris to recruit people to their cause and maximise their own power and control. Muslims will be the primary victims of this. Muslims are a minority, an easy target. The mainstream media constantly, daily links two words: ‘Muslim’ and ‘terror’. Slowly but surely these ideas are being internalised and normalised and this is the real threat to our freedom.

Islam is a religion of peace and grace, from which we can learn so much about our common humanity. It never has been and never will be our enemy. The real enemy remains those who seek to disseminate violence, terror and division. They have to work tirelessly to divide us.

The historical precedents are too obvious to mention; in 2015, let’s make sure we embrace our glorious diversity so that we may know each other, not despise each other. The choice is ours.

 

by Tom Charles

‘Paris Shooting at least twelve dead’ It said.


The heading of this article is basically the same message on most of the national newspapers. But rather than reacting as a prop in another man’s property of the mind, lets just think a bit.
What happened to irony? Here we are ready to say who was wrong, who was right and judge what the world is becoming without first thinking about the interrelationship between two things. I see extremes, but I also see that we are so desperate to fit in that we are willing to compromise our own honest thoughts just to parrot the masses.
What would your headline read? Today the ego weighs in slightly heavier than the mind. Subconsciously one would, by the media’s, moral metre, think that this tragedy is part of the sick muslim mind that is responsible for our poor world but with some old school impervious thought a different scene is drawn from the conscious mind. Yes, to take the life of a thing be it animal, plant or other is never just unless used for sustenance.
I’m remembering the law of necessity where, in some cases, a man can be excused for even devouring another man if he is stranded, facing starvation and the man is poorly. But to kill out of vengeance, greed, personal gain or to make a headline is…well I wont be ignorant enough to call it wrong but…inappropriate, destructive and mostly karmic.
In todays world there are two types of people: the numb extremist and the sensitive pacifist, a french word. The numb extremist has an idea about a thing and is so sure that that has the same meaning and benefit for everybody that they must, by any means, force the world to recognise and agree. The sensitive pacifist may have a belief but they feel its personal, all they know is it works for them and they will not force the issue because in the forefront of their mind is convenience for all.
With that said let us now examine the result and cause. Apparently you may agree that there are a majority of religious people who took upon themselves a belief that the champion of their faith and prophet should not be depicted in images They freely chose to abide by this and are happy with the reasons that they have been given.  Right, wrong? Doesn’t matter at this point.  However, amongst these are a minority who believe that if any such beliefs that they have are mocked or contradicted they should resort to violence to protect it. 
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You also have a majority of religious and non religious people who, contrarily, do believe that people of high esteem should be honoured and displayed and they have chosen, in their personal capacity, to depict who and whatever they wish in whatever way.  Not a problem with that.  Amongst these are a minority of people who believe that freedom of speech is essential to the direction they see the world going and feel, regardless of what anybody else feels and who may be offended they will not only display their channel of consecration but also add a comedic element to it. Extremism happens when people go to extended lengths to force what they know to be right without a care or thought of the consequences. It’s absolutely selfish but it is not the spawn of religion alone. It’s when the power of influence can be unleashed by an organised body with an agenda that it becomes problematic.
With power that monster comes to the surface. We may know not why people go to such extremes to get a message out whether by guns or words and we may worry about the mind of the creator of such chaos but one thing we do know is that extremes can hide in the most unsuspecting places, even more so when you have the power to tell the story.  I believe that democracy as a word from the lips long ago departed from the purity of the mind and has now joined the ranks of other world issues and extremisms. One day when people have less fear and more love of self to say what is just, regardless, they will kindly ask democracy to remove his hat and not be at all surprised to see yet another religion.
So before you read the next headline as they become more extreme and targeted, know that there are people who will stop at nothing to get their point across and change our course and nature and then there’s us, those who say ‘do as you wish just leave us out of it.’  
By Angel Lewis
RIP ALL casualties of this pointless unnecessary war of beliefs.