Sunday 11 January 2015

Je suis ... un ouvrier du monde

Excuse my French. 

I'll admit I rushed to publish a 'Je suis Charlie' status on Facebook in outrage at the shootings last week.  Then I very nearly posted another  'Je suis Ahmed' status. Then I saw that there was even a 'Je suis policier' status doing the rounds. And that made me think - hang on, is that the same policiers who I have witnessed routinely harassing young people of North African descent on the street of Paris? Or the paramilitary thugs of the CRS? 

Maybe we should all think a bit more carefully about some of this stuff:
There are inspiring demonstrations in London and Paris today. Displaying feelings of outrage at bigotry; and feelings of unity across communities; and  fear of  an anti-Muslim  backlash. But also displaying  political opportunism on the part of leaders like Netanyahu who want to promote anything but unity.
I am hearing a lot of genuine confusion amongst the liberal-minded:
When does ridiculing religion turn into racism?
Just because you have a right to do something does it mean that you should?
Can we really talk about freedom of speech in an unequal society with a gulf between minorities and the dominant culture?

Fair enough. These things can and must be discussed - but it's also worth remembering that the only real answer to these horrors is a radical one, and it has  been around for a while: 'Workers of all lands unite  - you have a world to win.'


Dr Llareggub said...

'I am hearing a lot of genuine confusion amongst the liberal-minded:
When does ridiculing religion turn into racism?'
Despite the efforts of the media, supported by UAF and many who should know better, religion and race are very different. One can leave a religion, but you cannot quit being a member of a race. Likewise, despite the efforts of the Cameron government and stooges, Islamophobia is a meaningless expression, not a criterion for racism. No more than Whirling Dervishophobia. As for skin colour and the argument that anti Islam is racist because most muslims have dark skin, then anti-christianity goes the same way, since most of the world's Christians have dark skin.
And if ridiculing a culture should have limits then the abuse and ridicule I hurl towards the fox-hunting Countryside Alliance will have me in jail for race hate. Best allow free speech and enjoy the freedom to criticise those who abuse it.
Incidentally, the photo of the politicians was a phony taken in a sealed street away from the demo.

Dr Llareggub said...

Apologies for appearing to hog the discussion, but something needs to be said about the arguments used to limit free speech. Vince Cable came out recently with the 'shouting fire in a crowded theatre' argument to limit free speech and the entire audience on Question Time applauded him. Its a bogus argument that was overturned in law 40 years ago. It was originally used to jail socialists in the US who opposed involvement in the first World War.Trouble is, it is being used in th backlash against the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists.Here is a link to the shouting fire argument.