Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Attack on 'freedom of the press' or on somehting that is not right. France bleeds!

The attack on the magazine in Paris with the resulting deaths of at least 12 people has caused a massive reaction around the world, even within Islamic society. This magazine has been around since the French Revolution and it is well known for its satirical style, one much loved my many, for generations. The attack has struck a deep chord within French society and much of the world. It seems that this process is picking up speed as the world awakens to the tragic news. It may well spur the French to take measures that will not appease sectors of the French population. It is for this reason that I have fears for Muslims in France, the vast majority of whom do not support the actions of the 'attackers.' The attack will play into the hands of extremists in France--on the right and from other groups who do not like the 'New France.' The belief in France that 'freedom of speech,' is paramount is not one that Islamic groups can live with. Any writing, art form or 'political espousal' that is seen as demeaning the 'Prophet,' is given as reason for such actions we have witnessed in France. To the majority of French people and those of other countries, portraying religious or political figures in a less than positive light, is seen as 'part of the jewel that is freedom of the press.' That other religions, including that of the majority of French people, Catholicism, also come in for ridicule at times, and those who are uncomfortable with this, can hit back---in appropriate and legal ways, does not have acceptance from extreme Islamic groups. Examples of other 'intolerances' of criticism of religion, can of course be seen in other countries who follow other faiths--Thailand, Burma etc. It is the 'inability of other groups to 'not accept' any form of criticism that leads to these acts. One wonders what will transpire in France as a result of these attacks. There will be a reaction; one that asks some basic questions about just how far 'freedom of the press' can be taken. How much responsibility must magazines and other media forms take for 'how far they go' in their 'expressions of freedom?' Is there a balance. It seems that the editor of the magazine has often said that 'I would rather die than bow down to groups trying to curtail my right to speak out.' I am concerned that now that he has achieved that status,' he will have awoken a feeling amongst French people of all persuasions that 'enough is enough.' The 'right' will respond and use this for their own political aspirations. We do not have to look far to find other examples whereby politicians have used angry public opinion for their own ends! I watch this space, in this time with a great deal of apprehension!

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