Sorry and all. But in all conscience I just can’t back Charlie Hebdo as a shining beacon of the right to freedom of speech. And I absolutely cannot stand shoulder to shoulder with and condone the words of the mob reacting to the events of last week who are using it as their banner.

This is not a case of ‘if you’re not with us then you must be against us’. I’m not endorsing terrorism by refusing to take up the meme. On the contrary, I will defend the right to freedom of speech every time, and at the same time I absolutely condemn the actions of the killers in the various incidents in France.

But in my opinion Charlie Hebdo is not some thought provoking edgy modern publication, but a bigoted, racist, xenophobic, religionist(?), sexist and homophobic old-school dinosaur. It’s more Jim Davidson than Jimmy Carr.

To get behind these attitudes just to back freedom of speech seems wrong. Hypocritical even.

Sure, freedom of speech is the freedom to make fun of a religious person for their faith.  It’s also the freedom for that religious person to express their offence at your comment.

It’s the freedom to express an opinion on foreigners who come to your country but refuse to integrate or acknowledge the laws of the land. It’s also the freedom to burn an American flag or an effigy of Obama.

It’s the freedom to be irrational. Or distasteful. Or intolerant. Or hurtful. Or obnoxious. Or vulgar. Like Charlie Hebdo have done for years. Like the mob mentality that thousands upon thousands of ignorant hypocrites have adopted while reacting to the events of last week.

It doesn’t seem very likely these days, but it is even the freedom to be respectful. Or tolerant. Or kind. Or understanding. I know. I’m stretching it now. (And yes, I’m very self aware thank you, but this is a bitch blog. The one filled with lovehearts, kittens and puppies is elsewhere…)

If you believe in the right to freedom of speech, you have to believe in it for everyone. You can’t pick or choose. But that absolutely doesn’t mean to say you have to agree with what is being said.

And most importantly, just because you are free to say it does not mean that you are free of any consequence of saying it. Not that anyone deserves to get murdered for their sins. More that so called defenders of free speech have spouted such utter shit that crosses so many lines in recent days that they really ought to be charged and jailed for their disgusting behaviour.

I’m simply not prepared to stand together with these objectionable people. In my eyes they’re little better than the fanatics and extremists they condemn.

My point then, is that je ne suis pas charlie, because there are much better examples of freedom of speech to get behind that don’t abuse the privilege. And because I can think for myself, thank you.

George Orwell: “It appears to me that one defeats the fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but by using one’s intelligence.”

Share this shit:

Facebook Comments