I wanted to write whole argument on why people think that religion is dividing and actually how myopic is our understanding of violence and fanaticism. The reason for addressing these two issues were both the cartoon and the horrific massacre by the terrorists. However, I will skip it for another day as in crisis, we need more time to reflect and try to simplify the complex without corrupting the beauty of its complexity. It is the time for analysis, conclusions can wait.
The following is a perfect response by a friend and her wisdom:
How can a cartoon or a video destroy and mess with your faith and how can murder save and avenge it?
I would like to include other beliefs such as sexual diversity or human dignity or equality because apparently both the publication house (in terms of an institution) failed big time in salvaging their own ego and fanaticism through a display of hate speech in disguise of satire, and terrorists I believe they are godly as I highlighted previously in this post – It is NEVER okay. In short, cartoonist and staff members did not deserve it despite of whatever they expressed.
Paris is the worst place for this kind of subtle media fanaticism (with forced freedom) and apparent religious fanaticism. France is revered for love, democracy and human rights in historical and cultural narrative.
In connection to the particular cartoon, Muslim are fighting a tough battle internally and at global level (illustration) and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – we do not need more oil in the fire. At the same time, LGBTQ community world over is trying every day to get their voice heard and fighting for identity in vulnerable situations and this is the time for everyone to practice empathy and compassion – they do not need more oil in the fire especially with backlash from religious fanatics.
Response after some initial responses from other channels: In discussions, I believe everyone should condemn the terrorist attack but then you are forced to advocate freedom of speech in its current defunct status. People all over the world, who are neither terrorists nor fanatics but moderate religious individuals are victimized through insult of such media content and the expectations of accepting it with a pinch of salt or displayed a populist standard of sense of humor. There is no empathy for receivers. Press had its voice but where is the voice of people who felt offended and never resorted to violence. Participation is never taken seriously, it is judged miserably. One ratified forced response is the only thing accepted – you can not lie on a continuum, you cannot question the sanctity of press. Where does free speech goes then?
The initial reflections above were not to equate in terms of moral equivalence of the both acts – their degree of fanaticism and approach of exercising is very different. For me, it is not fair that if I have to condemn one then I have to the take side of another. There are always more than two sides – the coin metaphor does not fit all.
In the start of this blog post, I clearly said it is not the right time but I guess we need to address the multi-dimensionality of the issue. Being an avid art practitioner and advocate, I am all for responsible use of freedom of speech and expression – it is not an alien concept and much possible, as exercising moderation in whatever you do is seen as a natural law. We all have desires but we find the appropriate place and approach to satiate them. We do not curb our expression but find the right spot. I am not pro-forced freedom rather it is important to foster positive interdependence (it is not simple as a clause on free speech in constitutions because blasphemy laws can be equally dangerous to freedom). Why – simply because most people will choose autonomy over freedom and autonomy can not be exercised in isolation – it needs positive interdependence. At the same time, I am completely against banning; I am pro-debate in public. I guess, as an institution, this publication has failed big time – nothing less than subtle fanaticism for me (even we remove the horrific massacre that followed). Moreover, there is no justification and tolerance for attacking or killing someone.
At this moment, my heart goes to the families of victims – May the souls of departed rest in eternal peace.