Je Suis Charlie

who has damageed Mohammed more

Saturday 1334  –  10.01.15

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Like many other people around the world I have been thinking a lot about the shocking murders, in Paris, of the cartoonists and others who worked for Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper with a circulation of around 60,000.

I have been moved by the tremendous outpouring of support from around the world, facilitated by social media. The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie is estimated to have been shared on twitter nearly 4 million times in 5 days which is extraordinary.  I shared it myself.

more sacred than religion

Throughout this piece I will also share some of the responses  to the killings, from other cartoonists.

I have read a great deal of cynical comment, in papers, and on Facebook, about “the independentmasses” being used for political gain and the whole response to the killings being orchestrated but I do not believe that; certainly not in the first few days. That opinion belittles the individuals, such as myself , who spontaneously felt this killing was an assault on our own freedom of expression and wanted to show that.

Pen is mighttierFrom what I know of Charlie Hebdo, which was nothing before the attacks on Weds, it is a satirical magazine that is very irreverent, bordering on cruel, in its degree of biting mockery of a wide range of establishment, religious and others figures and organisations; almost certainly not the kind of publication I would buy ( even if I could read French ! ) . Of course I am free to choose whether I read it or not and that’s the crux of the matter isn’t it?  No-one HAS to buy it or read it and that includes those extremists who carried out this terrible act. 

I am very much in favour of a degree of free expression which is surely one of the cornerstones of a civilised world, ( I know that whether ANY of the world is very civilised is open to debate but let’s not be too pedantic ).  The place of satire in the world has been established for centuries and if we look at the definition of it we will see how it can have a very useful purpose.

“Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.”

So bearing that definition in mind we can see that inevitably someone is going to be offended by whatever a satirist writes or in this case draws. Charlie Hebdo was well-known for offending many religions not just Islam; indeed I believe the Catholic Church sued Hebdo several times. more

Whilst an individual has the inalienable right to be offended by what a satirist produces what they do NOT have is the right to insist that the satirist, or any one else for that matter, stops producing material that might offend that particular individual. 

drawing heartOf course with freedom of expression comes responsibility and I would certainly not see hate speech or speech which incites violence as being acceptable.  In this country, and I’m sure in France too,  there are laws which publishers have to follow to protect against those worst excesses and that is as it should be because it certainly would not be safe for everyone to say just exactly what they wanted.  

So it is right that there should be limitations but publishers should not be put in a position where they feel unable to publish something because of fear that they or their staff will be killed if they do.

 To me the outpouring of support was about just this point, showing that people are not afraid and will stand against censorship by extremists.

Not afraid

Satire must survive these killings because it is a powerful tool for scrutinizing organizations, countries and religions , and this is essential to shine a light into the darkest recesses and show injustices that still prevail.  

Islam  is not and should not be above this scrutiny because of political correctness or fear, if for no other reason than there are still injustices carried out in many Islamic countries, for example against homosexuals, which make these countries worthy of scrutiny. Did you know, for example, that apostasy ( declaring self non-muslim in this case)  is a crime in 23 out of 49 Muslim majority countries?  with varied punishments, from child-custody loss, annulment of marriage or fines, through imprisonment or flogging , to the death penalty. 

Issues surely worthy of scrutiny?

He drew first.

Having said that what I definitely do NOT want to see is a backlash against Muslims because of the actions of those murderous extremists. This tweet I saw a few days ago about sums up the injustice in that :-  

Muslim shooter = entire religion guilty

Black shooter = entire race guilty

White shooter = mentally troubled lone wolf

please One final thought which I know seems to go against everything I have said above but which is personally very important to me is about kindness.

Many of you who have been following this blog for some time will know that I think this world needs more kindness not less.

So I have to question how useful unkindness, in the form of vicious mocking of others, really is, in moving humanity forward?  Can you have kind satire?  Probably not and it seems the unkind variety has been shown to produce societal change throughout the centuries so I will just have to live with it and not read it !   

As ever I welcome your thoughts.

Saturday girl signing off ’til whenever.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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Here is an invitation to join me on Kiva http://www.kiva.org/invitedby/hellenjc

and you can read more about Kiva here https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/a-hand-up-not-a-hand-out/

rubbing out

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“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Saturday 1358  –  26.07.14

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

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Please don’t just flick past and think this is just another post about Palestine.. It is but it is so very important to read about what is happening, as the worlds governments seem to be standing by apparently disinterested. Please read right to the end. Thank you.

I’d like you to think about something for me, especially if you have children, elderly parents, someone disabled in your family, a husband, wife or other loved one. Yes in other words all of you.

I want you to imagine that you’ve had leaflets dropped in the area where you live telling you that you need to get out of your house because the area in which you live is going to be bombed.

Now your phone is ringing and you’re being told you have 15 mins to get out of the house. What do you think ? This is my house, all my things, my life savings have gone into this house.

Then I want you to imagine that there is an explosion on your roof, enough to shake the house violently and do some damage or maybe even kill anyone at the top of the house. ( the Israelis call it a “tap on the roof”)

Next feel the fear of knowing that explosion on your roof is a warning that your house is going to be bombed and you need to get out fast. What would you bring with you? Food, clothes, medicine, money, the dog?  Would you have time? Would you run?  How can you when you have an elderly grandmother with you ? Where would you go when you don’t know which other houses are going to be bombed? 

Would you go to the beach? Would you be safe there?

Would you go to a UN run school? Would you be safe there?

Please don’t stop reading now but instead watch this video here. 

Imagine this was your house…..

BtfHo13CUAAKnYt

All gone…

Forever.  

Along with any dreams and hopes you might have had for the future.

I hope you managed to get your family out in time.

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These are some of the names and ages of the children killed in the last 2 weeks. They didn’t get out in time

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

Names and ages of some of the children killed in Gaza in the last 2 weeks

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On this Saturday  I attended a 1 hr vigil for the people who have been killed in the Gaza strip, Palestine, in the last 2 weeks .The vigil, organised by the Cambridge Palestine Forum was held in the centre of Cambridge whilst in London upwards of 45,000 people marched calling for an end to the terrible bloodshed, to the blockade of Gaza by Israel and for a boycott of Israel.  

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Reading the names of the dead

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On 22.07.14 a vote was held in the United Nations on a resolution ensuring respect for international law in Palestine  – 

on the 23rd July  –

The Human Rights Council concludes Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Establishes Independent, International Commission of Inquiry for the Occupied Palestinian Territory

“The Human Rights Council today established an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and concluded its Special Session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

In the resolution, adopted by a vote of 29 States in favour, 1 against and 17 abstentions, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli military operations carried out in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 13 June 2014 that may amount to international crimes, directly resulting in the killing of more than 650 Palestinians, most of them civilians and more than 170 of whom were children, the injury of more than 4,000 people and the wanton destruction of homes, vital infrastructure and public properties.

In the resolution, the Council decided to urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014, and to report to the Council at its twenty-eighth session.

Please look carefully at the result of the vote below. The United States of America voted AGAINST the resolution and Europe, including France, Germany, Austria, Ireland , Italy and the UK abstained. In other words they were silent and proved again that when the USA says jump they say how high !  I am ashamed of my government here in the Uk. They did not vote in my name !

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu

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Please read this and consider signing https://secure.avaaz.org/en/israel_palestine_this_is_how_it_ends_loc/?slideshow

Or you might like to write to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ,Phillip Hammond directly and tell him what you think. You can do that here https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/speakout/israel-gaza

So what can you do about it apart from signing petitions. You might like to consider boycotting companies that have strong links with Israel. 

More information: –

here http://www.boycottisraelnetwork.net/ .

and here http://www.boycottisrael.org.uk/

Finally I would ask you to watch this video here by Jon Snow. One of the few journalists around these days who is really doing his job.

Please don’t turn away. These children need us.

you don't need to be a muslim to stand up for Gaza

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I have written about the cost of war and associated issues before –

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/09/01/save-lives-talk-peace/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/the-human-cost-of-war/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/naming-the-dead/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/is-this-what-we-want-for-our-sons-and-daughters/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/white-feather-caught-in-thorns/

https://hellenjc.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/guns-what-are-they-good-for/

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As ever I welcome your thoughts.

Saturday girl signing off til whenever.

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You can find my photography blog Photomania here 

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