|Charlie Hebdo, Survivors' Issue, Front Cover, 13/01/2015|
Sure, the media will whine about not wanting to inflame the situation, nauseatingly bowing to the fear principle, but that does not excuse the need to report. Ireland's media is too afraid of its own shadow to rock the boat. Like in Britain, Ireland's media is owned by the state or by oligarchs, and will never take a stand on principle if a few quid can be found elsewhere.
But the media misses the key point:it it is impossible to effectively report on the issue of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and why they caused the religion-inspired slaughter of 17 innocents in Paris without showing the cartoons. Impossible.
Because when normal, balanced people see the cartoons they can really only come to one conclusion: What's the big frikkin' deal? So, if the western media is too afraid to report on reality, where does that leave us?
France is a shining beacon of secularism, anti-monarchism and progressive culture. France has also challenged the rise of Islamofascism with military force, unlike many of the west's key military powers. When Britain collapsed in the face of Syria's descent into inhumanity, President Obama hesitated, IS was born and the jihadists of Paris were emboldened.
And here we are, after the al Qaeda/IS Charlie Hedbo attack, after the Taliban Pakistan school slaughter, after the latest Boko Haram massacre which killed 2,000, after 9/11, after 7/7, the list is endless, here we are and nothing has changed. Except that things have gotten worse.
It's a big question: what can we do in the face of such relentless attacks on our way of life?
The best we can do is to fight for our freedom of speech and challenge those in power who would dilute it. We must not appease murderers and censor ourselves so as not to attract hate from the Middle east, the cradle of civilisation, of our religions. The poison of religion has never been compatible with freedom of thought or expression. The west has woken up to this. France led the way, the rest of Europe followed, kicking and screaming. Ireland lags far behind, with religion enshrined in her Constitution and the Catholic Church - as fundamental and destructive as militant Islam - still in control of most of the country's education system. This must change.
So the world must catch up with France. If that means combating violence from those who would rather live in the Middle Ages, while we keep our focus on progress, then that is what we must do. If men, women and children are to have any hope of freedom, human rights and equality in the 21st century, we must all be Charlie.
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