“If your protest perpetuates instead of prevents then you may as well keep your mouth shut.” ~~~ Poetry Emotion By Jay
Question - Would anyone of you give a poisonous snake refuge in your pants pocket and then be mad that the snake bit you? Conventional wisdom would suggest that a snake will be a snake.
Question - Would anyone of you deliberately jump over a barrier into a lion’s den and then be mad that the lion mauled you? Yeah, right, the lion would only do what is expected. So, given that common sense in these situations would or should prevent a person from committing such foolish acts despite that person’s right to do so, why is it that common sense would not apply to newspaper editors?
Although I resist giving qualifying statements, I feel in this instance it is necessary. Therefore, let me say that this commentary is in no way an attempt to condone the tragedy that took place in France. I value life and cannot begin to imagine what the families of those lost are suffering. However, the following excerpts taken from a Sept. 2012 NY Times article reveal a disturbing pattern of irresponsibility by Charlie Hebdo editors'. The article, “French Magazine Runs Cartoons That Mock Muhammad, was written by SCOTT SAYARE and NICOLA CLARK, with contributions from Declan Walsh reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Waqar Gilani from Lahore, Pakistan.
“The French government had urged the weekly newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, to reconsider printing the illustrations, some of which depict Muhammad naked and in pornographic poses.
The newspaper refused; after Charlie Hebdo arrived at newsstands on Wednesday, the government announced that French embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in about 20 countries would be closed Friday as a precautionary measure. Security will be raised at embassies and consulates, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said, though no specific threats against French targets have been identified.
Accustomed to denunciations by the government, Muslims and almost every other religious or, political group in France, Charlie Hebdo stood by its editorial choice. “We’re a newspaper that respects French law,” said Gérard Biard, the editor in chief. “Now, if there’s a law that is different in Kabul or Riyadh, we’re not going to bother ourselves with respecting it.
Folks, allow me to interrupt here for a moment to point something out. The editor in chief of the newspaper said,
“We’re a newspaper that respects French law,” said Gérard Biard, the editor in chief. “Now, if there’s a law that is different in Kabul or Riyadh, we’re not going to bother ourselves with respecting it.
Stephane Charbonnier the paper’s editorial director added, “Why should they prohibit these people from expressing themselves?” “We have the right to express ourselves, they have the right to express themselves, too.”
You see folks, there’s that sense of entitlement that many feel [t]hey possess because [t]hey have the right to do whatever- consequences be damned. Furthermore, keep in mind this was in 2012.
Let us continue with the excerpts,
“French officials acknowledged the newspaper’s right to publish as it pleased, within the limits of the law, but deplored its choice to print images that might be reasonably expected to cause violence.
“In the present context, given this absurd video that has been aired, strong emotions have been awakened in many Muslim countries,” Laurent Fabius, the foreign minister, told France Info radio. “Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on the fire?”
In a statement, the French Council of the Muslim Faith warned that the cartoons risked “exacerbating tensions,” but urged French Muslims “not to cede to provocation” and to express their grievances via the courts. An appeal for calm will be read during Friday Prayer in several hundred mosques across the country, the rector of Paris’s Grand Mosque announced.
The Arab League denounced the illustrations, as did the White House. “We don’t question the right of something like this to be published,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “We just question the judgment behind the decision to publish it.”
Again folks, judgment and common sense should rule the day. Unfortunately, however, the false sense of entitlement that some people carry around, in addition to a blatant disrespect for the faiths of other cultures, makes us all accountable.
“Police officers were sent Wednesday to guard the offices of Charlie Hebdo, in eastern Paris. The newspaper’s former headquarters were gutted by a firebomb last year after the publication of another issue featuring images of Muhammad. Mr. Biard, the editor in chief, described the newspaper as “atheist” and “democratic,” but also a defender of France’s fervent secularism, known as “laïcité.”
“We’re a newspaper against religions as soon as they enter into the political and public realm,” Mr. Biard said. Religious leaders, and Muslim religious leaders in particular, have manipulated their French followers for political reasons, he asserted.
“You’re not meant to identify yourself through a religion, in any case not in a secular state,” Mr. Biard said.
As I said earlier, I am not attempting to appease anyone, nor applaud any action(s) that results in the loss of life or property, or causes hurt or harm. My only purpose here is to point out that for far too long, people around the world and especially in America, have confused free will with free speech. The problem with that is neither one is free. Each one comes with a price and a consequence.
Moreover, as it regards the surviving editor of Charlie Hebdo, while I respect your right to express yourself, I deplore your blatant disdain and lack of respect for others. Your decision to continue to jump into the lion’s den and to give refuge to a poisonous snake despite prior warnings and your knowledge of history proves at least in my mind that you have allowed your self-righteous sense of entitlement to trump your sense of responsible journalism. The worse part however, is that when you gave refuge to that snake and when you decided to jump into that lion’s den, you made your employees and their families accountable.
Written by Jay Arrington, Maryland Daily Examiner
For more information regarding the Maryland Daily Examiner, contact Reggie Kearney, Editor-in-Chief.
Jay Arrington is a featured staff writer and reporter for the Maryland Daily Examiner.