These thoughts have been brewing all weekend, and come in no particular order.
1. Thursday I was making potato soup while listening to NPR. Keep in mind, the attacks were still only twenty-four hours old, but already people were saying things like, “Well, this is terrible and all, but Charlie Hebdo really shouldn’t have made those Muslims angry and should have exercised better judgment.” I paraphrase, but that is the gist of it.
That kind of thinking makes me sick, because it is roughly equivalent to the line of thought that blames a rape victim for dressing provocatively. Charlie Hebdo was a poor taste, lowest common denominator satire that I do not appreciate or enjoy, but they were doing what free people do–expressing themselves. To put any of the blame upon them is cowardice and makes me sick.
2. The best analysis I have heard on the whole thing was from Rachel Maddow on her Friday night program. I have embedded it for your convenience. It is lengthy.
3. David Brooks wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on Friday that struck a nerve with me. He wrote:
The journalists at Charlie Hebdo are now rightly being celebrated as martyrs on behalf of freedom of expression, but let’s face it: If they had tried to publish their satirical newspaper on any American university campus over the last two decades it wouldn’t have lasted 30 seconds. Student and faculty groups would have accused them of hate speech. The administration would have cut financing and shut them down.
I find his arguments to be compelling, and a little unsettling. We, and by we I mean western culture, have gotten seriously too thin skinned. People do not have the right to be not be offended, and all opposition to the politically correct terminology is not hate speech. I think we need to take the muzzle off.
4. The first time I saw “Je Suis Charlie” on a sign I thought it said “Jesus is Charlie” and it really confused me.
5. I have posted on terrorism many times, but I will say it again, we are facing worldview issues. It would be wrong to label all Muslims with this broad stripe, but those radical jihadists such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and others reject out of hand pluralism in a society, while pluralism is one of our cherished values. The worst thing we can do is to concede liberties of freedom of speech, travel, assembly, religion, and press in an effort to stay safe. We have already lost too much because of fear. It is time to stop being afraid and to start acting like the same people who defeated Hitler and Communism.
6. What happened in Paris at Charlie Hebdo and at that kosher grocery store is horrible, but every day ISIS is doing evil things. It was recently brought to my attention at church that they are actively seizing Yazidi women and girls as sex slaves. If you have time, check out the Twitter hashtag #Yazidiwomen. It will break your heart. Why has reporting of this travesty been so neglected in the United States? Do the lives of women and children who belong to a peculiar, yet interesting, religious sect matter less than Parisian Satirists?
So, yeah, those are some of my thoughts.
image from www.timeshighereducation.co.uk