2 days back, I woke up to see my social media timeline filled with posts like
“I am Charlie Hebdo”
“This is the death of Freedom of Press! #RIPmankind”
“The only way to respond is to share the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo and see how many people can those terrorists kill”
The messages carried out a strong emotion. The sent out a strong message. I was amazed as to what had happened. I read about the incident from the online pro-active media and was disturbed. It was an attack on the freedom of speech. It was not right to kill them at any cost.
I wanted to see the work of Charlie Hebdo to understand what actually made those terrorists to take this extreme step. It took no time for me to understand that Charlie Hebdo was that magazine which made headlines few years back with their racist cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. It made Islam world rage with the demonstrations to shut down the magazine or terminate the cartoonists. Some went ahead and also issued a fatwa to capture them dead or alive.
Charlie Hebdo was racist in its approach to create satirical cartoons against Islam. But are n’t they taking the advantage of freedom of press to spread hatred? Is n’t this blatant use of the power of pen? or rather creativity?
The magazines or sites that create satirical works run on the basic assumption that they create content on those communities that have the ability to laugh at themselves or those who can understand the underlying meaning or those who are liberal and respect the freedom of speech.
The fact that the Islam world, to a greater extent, is very organised with respect to religion, hierarchical with respect to the relations in the family and society, and follows law which is not liberal like the western world or France where Charlie Hebdo is established, is something that was not taken seriously by the people working at Charlie Hebdo.
And the cartoonists must have respected the cultural differences in Islam world and their way of life. Every one out there is not a jihadi-fundamentalist or a terrorist. There are millions of people just like you and me, with dreams and aspirations, with families and responsibilities.
The cartoonists did not once, not twice but numerous times in creating content hurting the sentiments of the people practising Islam. Now, what do they intend to get out of doing such a thing? Is it just for seeking some pleasure by passing on racist comments?
If cartoonists intended to teach these people on how to be liberal and make them understand the freedom of press (really?), they have chosen the wrong medium. It is difficult for majority of the people in the Islam world, especially the Middle east countries, to speak about the deficiencies of their society as they were afraid of the consequences. The cartoonists had their time taking them for a granted till this incident happened.
Yes, the incident was cruel and inhumane. But isn’t something that the terrorists conveyed in the langauge they knew? I am not supporting their act but that is what they might do to express their feelings or send a message just like the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo did for many years!
This incident should be an eye-opener for everyone, who in the name of freedom of speech, get down to make content that would hurt the sentiments of large section of a community.
Let the terrorists be brought to justice. Let the souls of the people killed rest in peace.
But those who were putting out messages like “I am Charlie Hebdo”, do they support the blatant use of freedom of speech to spread hatred?
It is a question that they should answer themselves!
I AM NOT CHARLIE HEBDO.