Thursday, January 8, 2015


“Religion, a medieval 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.” - Salman Rushdie

Having been a victim of persecution for his ideas, no one is more qualified to make the above statement. Violence in the face of freedom of expression cannot and should not be tolerated in any civilized society. The brutal assassination of people who use their intelligence and wit to hold a a mirror to hypocrisy in this world, is an abomination. This kind of demented terror is not endorsed in any religion, and if it is, that religion should be rejected by anyone with any sense of decency and humanity. Unfortunately today, humanity is in short supply in many parts of the world, and madness is taking its place.

The staff of Charlie Hebdo are heroes who went to work despite a threat to their lives. They did what they were meant to do with a sense of passion, commitment and audacity. Many found their work offensive, xenophobic, homophobic and racist, bordering on hate. But in a free society you have a choice not to subscribe. But you have no right to kill someone for expressing their views. 

There are no degrees to free speech and there should not be any. Only self imposed caution where desired. There is no room for censorship in a free society. You don't like an idea, counter it with another idea. Nations that struggle with or thwart free speech are societies of fear and insecurity. 

Therefore the men and women of Charlie Hebdo are the true soldiers of democracy and for that reason should be revered and seen as an example to follow against the insanity of intolerance that is plaguing the world today. Therefore Je Suis Charlie.

The most effective way to fight violence is with a pen. But one's need for self preservation could deter one from bringing a pen to a sword fight. Incidents like these could have a chilling effect, forcing journalists and free thinkers to self censor their thoughts and ideas. Even so, the pen is and always will be, mightier than the sword.

It is what it is.