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 Je suis Charlie

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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:31 pm

I suspect few, if any, of the users of this forum would regard finding a cartoon offensive as sufficient grounds for a legal action such as Whitehouse v Gay News*, let alone killing the cartoonist who drew it, but do you think the apparent reluctance of UK print media to republish such cartoons a reasonable accommodation to the views of Moslems, or evidence of "political correctness go mad", or simply cowardice?

*No longer possible, of course, since the offences of Blasphemy and Blasphemous Libel were abolished in 2008.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:48 am

It is not political correctness in any shape or form, mad or otherwise (the notion of "political correctness" is itself a contradiction of what "political" really means anyway). 

Editorially it is a form of cowardice, or pragmatism, or responsibility for the welfare of employees and agents, or a mixture of all these things. If there is a principle involved of any worth it is one that refuses to accommodate polarisation and exclusion through antagonism in the belief that this might best engender resolution and progress through dialogue. However in this latest case and similar in recent years the palpable lack of dialogue would tend to suggest that adherence to this principle is void of hope as a route to resolution anyway.

Philosophically the issue of cartoons of Mohammed is a stark manifestation in recent years of the ancient dichotomy between epistemology (essentially the fundamental belief that knowledge and its limits merit exploration through every possible means) and ontological nihilism (essentially the fundamental belief that epistemological pursuit of the nature of knowledge is at best immaterial and at worst evil). Ultra religious people, for whom received "wisdom" exceeds in importance epistemological inquiry, embrace this dichotomy as a battleground upon which they see themselves as in a struggle to defeat such exploration and inquiry. The more militant of these are all too ready to make this battle real, with real casualties inflicted by them on any who they see as their enemy - basically anyone who does not exactly subscribe to their own opinion. Their real enemy however, and I assume the closer they come themselves to realising this the more angry they get, is the fact that their theology, for all its religious disguise zealously applied, is at its core the most nihilistic view of all.

For me therefore, when I hear how "offensive" such caricatures are to people who commonly adhere to one nihilistic theology, the natural reaction is to epistemologically wonder what the actual nature of this offence is. In what cause was it given and to what extent knowingly so? And in what proportion and scale the offence taken is to any that was given anyway? In any society that places exchange of ideas and compromise at the basis of its means to progress offence is unavoidable, just as a notion of absolute "correctness" politically is unavoidably abhorrent to that society's progress too. Allowing the adherers to either political correctness or to fundamentalist theologies dictate society's progress (though more likely regression in my view) is a classic example of the tail wagging the dog, a physical analogy worth pursuing as should it ever occur in reality in canine behaviour would soon lead to no dog, and ipso facto no tail either.

The true nature of these offence takers, their true motives in choosing to take offence, and the full implications of what they see as a model for the society they wish to create and manipulate is overdue thorough analysis, debate and decisions at a communal level. The media plays a huge role in that. In the context of that analysis the reproduction of these images is crucial. This is pragmatism too, but it's the attempt to apply pragmatism to the goal of achieving an effective resolution. A failure on the part of the UK media to facilitate that process puts it too in the dog's tail category, whether individual editors recognise this or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:28 am

@nordmann wrote:

Editorially it is a form of cowardice, or pragmatism, or responsibility for the welfare of employees and agents, or a mixture of all these things.

Interestingly, the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, who had been the ones to post the series of "offensive" Mohammed cartoons in 2005, yesterday chose not to reprint any Charlie Hebdo cartoons. In a statement thay said that in view of their close involvement in the issue and considering the ongoing security situation in France, the Danish authorities had advised them against publishing at that time, saying "..... concerns for employee safety are paramount". But they acknowledged that by not printing,   "We are also aware that we therefore bow to violence and intimidation".
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:01 am

Several months ago I posted this on the What is Art? thread:

@Temperance wrote:
I've found a very interesting site which gives many examples of beautiful medieval Islamic religious art. Some of the pictures do, however, show the full face of the Prophet which I believe is deeply offensive to Muslims.

So I am hesitating even to give the link, let alone post any of the pictures.

There is a section on the site devoted to "Messages from readers offended by the Archive": most of the messages posted there are terrifying in their savagery and vitriol. I can understand how a deliberate mocking of a religion can provoke hurt and anger, but not examples of genuine art which these respectful representations all seem - to my Western eyes at least - to be.

Yes, it does make me despair (the vitriol, not the art).  


I hesitated to give the link or show the pictures, not because I am a coward (maybe I'm fooling myself about that), but because I think it is unwise deliberately to give hurt or offence to someone. Was I wrong? Should I have posted the pictures here? I still would hesitate: I may disagree vehemently with someone, but that is not an excuse to show bad manners. That strikes me as being deliberately provocative - the way angry, self-righteous adolescents are.

Salman Rushdie said yesterday that religion deserves our fearless disrespect. I think he is wrong. Religion does not deserve our disrespect. Intolerance and wilful ignorance do. This is not about religion: it is about power (and the dangerous, vicious anger and hatred of the powerless).

@nordmann wrote:
If there is a principle involved of any worth it is one that refuses to accommodate polarisation and exclusion through antagonism in the belief that this might best engender resolution and progress through dialogue. However in this latest case and similar in recent years the palpable lack of dialogue would tend to suggest that adherence to this principle is void of hope as a route to resolution anyway.



I do agree with that. Prodding vipers to make them hiss is never a good idea, but then how do you talk to a viper? Sadly there seems indeed to be little hope of success. You can't have a dialogue with a viper - or a fanatic. And I suppose it could be argued that trying to be polite to them is not a good idea either.

EDIT: I offer this for consideration:

One of the FT regulars, Tony Barber, wrote recently:

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo. This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 2:19 pm

Yes Temp, I think you were wrong, no-one has the right to be protected from offence which is prompted by reasoned argument, analysis, evidence or thoughtful comment but I'm not so sure about offence caused by adolescent attention seeking which has no other purpose than a desire to shock. I would consider that religion, like all other belief systems, is a perfect target for disrespectful critique, its ordinary adherents though are not. Persuasion and argument, yes, but not abusive ridicule.

'Freedom of speech' as a concept is as slippery as that viper and, like opposition to censorship, is hedged around by so many other considerations, most of which are entirely rooted in a particular cultural viewpoint, that it becomes almost impossible to define except in the most abstract terms.
It seems to me that the object of satire is to hold the powerful, ideas and people, up to ridicule, there must be a power relationship that favours the satirised against the the satirising, otherwise it becomes bullying and thus ineffectual. Of course perceptions regarding how that power relationship plays out varies: I'm always reminded of ''Till Death Us Do Part' where one section of the audience laughed at the satirising of ignorance and prejudice against minorities and another, feeling themselves in some way oppressed, rejoiced in the public voicing and affirmation of their views.
Making fun of those who strongly believe something, no matter how silly, rarely shakes that belief, quite the reverse, and I doubt that those who make the jokes expect it to. Isn't it more designed for the non-believers? To draw them closer together and so reaffirm their views with the shared joke and the feelings of superiority that that confers?
Where I absolutely agree with you is about bad manners and, I would contend, bad taste.

As far as editorial decisions here and abroad, I think nordmann's 'pragmatism' is closest. The legal advisers, the circulation department and the advertisers are I suspect at least as influential as any ethical stance.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:09 pm

Thank you for that reply, ferval. I agree with what you say about the power balance and satiric targets. Satire should indeed - when necessary - attack the powerful, the pompous and the arrogant: attacking the powerless can be very dangerous indeed - as well as being unfair, stupid and short sighted.

Is it going off topic to ask about Algeria? I am woefully ignorant about post-war French history, but an article in the Independent today suggests that the roots of the recent horrors in France lie, not so much in religious dispute, but in the politics of the 1954-1962 Algerian conflict:

But there’s an important context that somehow got left out of the story this week, the “history corner” that many Frenchmen as well as Algerians prefer to ignore: the bloody 1954-62 struggle of an entire people for freedom against a brutal imperial regime, a prolonged war which remains the foundational quarrel of Arabs and French to this day.


http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/charlie-hebdo-paris-attack-brothers-campaign-of-terror-can-be-traced-back-to-algeria-in-1954-9969184.html
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:30 pm

Temp, this is a movie not a documentary with all that implies and is not exactly accurate in places but is a very fine film and still more than worth the watching. Hardly cheery, I'm afraid, but does give a context.




I can just about recall something of the time, it was a particularly nasty, squalid little war and spawned the OAS. I'm sure nord, Trike and Gil will have proper information.  
                                                                                   
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:50 pm

Once two of the suspects were identified as French of Algerian descent then the news analysis here in Norway also focused on this - especially the implications of what this means in terms of second and third generation immigrants, in particular how perceived grievances are being expressed and so violently acted upon by people who in theory are the product of integration with the western society to which their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents emigrated. This is also an issue here regarding Pakistani immigrants and the question of self-identity, so how this might translate into a "threat from within" strikes a chord here too. I am surprised if this was not also the case in the UK press and that it therefore merited the comment as quoted above by Temp.

The issue of "freedom of speech" and its protection is extremely valid, even if exactly what this "freedom" might be is then apparently so open to interpretation. The fact of the matter is that potential offence-taking by certain Muslims over their favourite prophet being caricatured is way too narrow a criterion by which the value and nature of this freedom can be judged. Yet it is within these narrow criteria that we keep being invited to address this issue - a policy in this instance which is largely dictated by some Muslim authorities for blatantly obvious political reasons, kept to the forefront through orchestrated actions conducted by these vociferous Muslim spokespeople as well as through horrendously gruesome actions conducted by their more rabid followers, activities which it must be said - crucially - apparently also suit so-called "western" democratic political systems down to the ground. Both sides can utilise this essentially stupid behaviour, stupid even within the extremely narrow context in which it is conducted, politically presented and evaluated, to then service their respective broader political agendas. Neither of these side's agendas, and of this one can be sure, has "freedom of speech" at the forefront of their priorities. Anything but.

True freedom of speech is just that - the freedom to express any view however abhorrent, provocative, shocking, irrelevant, insensitive, or simply plain stupid it might arbitrarily be judged to be by its audience. Speech that is injurious to the potential welfare of another and speech that is simply injurious to another's self-esteem, pride or religious sensibilities are not the same thing. Both might merit censure but only one merits legal redress. Neither merit the illegal sanction of murder. In the narrow context of Mohammed caricatures and the agendas driven by those who will use this issue to further their desire for the power to control society, and in which this crucial distinction has been wilfully eliminated, then Charlie Hebdo behaved especially irresponsibly, this is true, if by this one means being irresponsible towards its own and its readers' welfare. However beyond this artificially contrived narrow context and in the broader context of a society mature and sensible enough never to allow itself to be controlled through such patently malevolent subversions of principle then this is exactly why Charlie Hebdo should be lauded, not criticised, and certainly now that its editor, authors and illustrators have paid such a terribly high price for what they had been doing on all our behalf - whether some of us are intelligent enough to recognise that or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:23 am

Yesterday I had - like Jane Austen's dithery little Harriet Smith - "quite determined and really almost made up my mind" not to add anything here. Like most people, I don't like it being suggested that I'm stupid, especially when I've tried to make what seemed at the time a reasonable point.

Hurt pride and all that.

Also no one seemed interested to respond here: the topic has been discussed endlessly on TV, in the papers, on the internet/social media over the past distressing few days, and we've all possibly simply had enough. However, I was actually relieved - because I do often doubt my own ability to think clearly - to realise that many obviously intelligent people have shared - and expressed -  a similar disquiet at the wisdom and worth as genuine satire of much of the Charlie Hebdo output. Much of it was simply dreadful, puerile stuff - the sort of "offensive" material that sixth formers like to snigger over in their common room. That said, it should go without saying - but I'll say it - that no one deserves to be gunned down for being viciously puerile.

Lots of articles about this, but this Huffington Post one sums up what I've been feeling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandip-roy/jesuischarlie-no-im-not-charlie-hebdo_b_6447258.html

So I don't really want to be Charlie either, but I hope that I would have the guts to be the dead cop, Ahmed: "Charlie ridiculed my faith and my culture and I died defending his right to do so." I certainly honour him.

PS The history of freedom of speech - and why, as ferval says above, it is such a slippery concept - would make a good topic, if any of us can be bothered any more. On that subject, something that was said in our local pub on Saturday has made me ponder. The comment was made by an atheist (a neighbour, a very lapsed Catholic, who once wrote to the Vatican demanding to be excommunicated) who, as he is always telling us, was an anarchist in his younger days. He is an extremely clever and witty man. He also drinks far too much and swears a lot, so I cannot repeat his exact words here - but you'll get the gist of it. Talking of free speech, he said that of course we all believe in free speech, but that it cannot actually exist, and that freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom to - I quote - "come the f***ing c***". So when does freedom become licence? Our laws against hate speech or hate writings which target gays, women and people of different races/faiths would suggest that to try to differentiate between the two is a democratically accepted - and intelligent - idea.



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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:21 am

My comment was not a response to your view, Temp. The first paragraph was a response to the Independent article you quoted vis-a-vis Algeria. The rest is simply my own view as I see it.

And I too, for reasons of both personal intelligence and personal principle, would rather identify myself with the police who were murdered more fully than with the Charlie Hebdo staff who so drastically and tragically miscalculated their own (and it must be said others') security. But, as I said, within the narrow context of the orchestrated hatred engendered by some Muslims using Mohammed caricatures in this instance as both fuel for this hatred and justification for arbitrary murder, we are all "Charlie" these days. Others choose, quite outside our control, what justifies in their minds our liquidation, our oppression and our silencing. Puerile and all as some Charlie Hebdo humour might be (some of its humour directed against both Muslim fundamentalism and Islamophobia was succinct and intelligent), it had the courage to bring this fact into focus through its actions. I do not see many others doing this.

And your acquaintance in the pub has a point, albeit one that merits rather less vulgar summarising and more investigation and open discussion. Freedom of speech is not a licence to offend with impunity, as I think he meant, and which I also said. But the expressing of opinion and the freedom to form that opinion - however distasteful others find that opinion - is one of the true tests of how competent any society is in ensuring that the freedom to think independently does not compromise society as a whole. Sanctions therefore apply in certain circumstances and very few would disagree with this. The question is who decides the circumstances?

If a valid circumstance is the offending of another person's particular religious sensibilities, and if this offence renders arbitrary murder by those who choose to be offended "understandable" (as some have said), then society is failing to protect itself and we are all the more vulnerable for that. In the end, we are indeed all Charlie - as likely to suffer for voicing our opinion as they were since the intention to offend means far less than the willingness of others to take offence anyway and resort to terrorism as their own chosen form of "freedom of expression". It's time to start addressing this anomaly - and Charlie Hebdo through its staff's actions and deaths has made this requirement as stark and urgent as it can ever be. Tolerate offence or tolerate murder, the choice is simple.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:16 pm

OK - obviously I misunderstood.

Sorry about the vulgar quote - hope I did not offend.


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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:18 pm

@Temperance wrote:

Also no one seemed interested to respond here.... 

I haven't responded here but it's not for lack of interest ... quite the opposite in fact. The whole affair and especially the issues about free speech, the 'je suis charlie' response, the rights and responsibilities of society and its members, the place of strongly-held religious views within a staunchly secular state, the role of history ... all these have made me question my thoughts and assumptions about a whole range of issues, even down to how I see my own place in French society. But I've come up with precious few clear thoughts that might serve to advance the debate, and certainly no definite conclusions.

But please don't let this thread die just because so few people are articulate enough to respond. I might yet chip in if I can think of anything of value to add.

Meanwhile I'm reading up on the Algerian war .... something I really should have done long ago since that nasty little war is, as you say, still echoing around me here.  (Here being the closest bit of France to North Africa, and so for over 100 years it was the main point of departure for Algeria, and then later the home-from-home for all the exiled 'pieds noirs', after independence).
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:38 pm

And all the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork now - people saying that France's recent recognition of Palestinian statehood triggered a "false flag" attack. Surely this is utter, utter nonsense?

But I suppose we must always ask cui bono?

(Thank goodness not cue Bono - at least we have been spared him spouting platitudes about it all.)
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:51 pm

I'm not sure that the rape threats and death threats over the potential signing of Ched Evans, and putting Jane Austen on a banknote aren't less serious facets of a similar attitude - you can't do anything I disapprove of, and if you do, any action, however disproportionate, I may choose to threaten or carry out is justified.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:30 am

They share with the terrorist a total lack of understanding regarding the huge diversity and extremely complex inter-relationships within human society. For them the entire scope of human experience is reduced to whatever they themselves understand, often guided to that limited understanding by others quite aware of what they are creating though often also simply blundering through ignorance to the same state, and all that they understand is an infinitesimally minute sliver of that experience, internalised to the point that it has become their entire universe. Within that concept of universe they, naturally, stand at the core. In that kind of universe, ill informed, egocentric and dislocated from reality, "justification" changes meaning from that by which the vast majority understand it. For them it is enough merely to think something for it to be justified.

In the past geographical and communicative limitations applied. No matter how much or for what reason one internalised and corrupted perception of the immediately experienceable world that one inhabited there was, by definition, always the inescapable knowledge that a "broader world" not as yet experienced by the individual was "out there", exposure to which could rock these essentially egocentric assumptions to the core. This is still the case of course, but what we have now thanks to our recent revolution in global communication is the increased likelihood that people deluded in this way now think also that they have had sufficient exposure to and understanding of this "broader world" to preclude the possibility that they will ever be contradicted.

What these people fail completely to grasp, and given the rhetoric they adopt this is surely the most ironic aspect of their behaviour, is a sense of actual consequence. They are clueless - quite literally - regarding the effect of their actions, an effect which is also as complex in reality as the complex world they ignore and in which they have insinuated their egocentricity, often destructively so.

There is a lot to be said for recognising this behaviour as a form of personality disorder (it has in truth always been so), which in our modern age has itself begun to have disproportionate relevance and importance when it acts to the detriment of the welfare of everyone else, which of course it is principally geared to do; "everyone else" to the egocentric having no value except as furniture in their own shrunken personal universes. Likewise, previously accepted aspects to our communal lives which feed this disorder - and religion is one huge aspect in this regard - require urgent re-evaluation regarding our long held assumptions about their role and status in communal life. In a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious community, for example, what place has the concept of blasphemy at all? Denigrating another's subjectively held deity can translate to being a punishable offence only when the importance of deity is supported through communal consensus, and historically most often when one particular version of that deity is upheld by the majority within a community. We no longer live in such a closed community, and the disproportionate reaction of the Kouachi brothers in this latest case to what they egocentrically adjudged to be blasphemy deserving of such murderous retribution simply underscores the urgent requirement to abandon this faulty reasoning by which offence is justified once and for all.

To be fair to the other two large Abrahamic faiths this re-evaluation of blasphemy has been progressively ongoing for quite a while. Likewise many Muslims understand that a pragmatic re-evaluation of their reaction to blasphemy, outside those closed Muslim societies in which such disproportionate offence can be nurtured and utilised politically, is now essential. If the most potent interface between the ethics of your faith and the outside world is the destructive actions of people whose personality disorders your faith has magnified - so often calamitously - then it is time to re-examine your faith, in every sense of the term.

At this stage getting them to use green ink, like their less volatile but equally deluded fellow travellers the "defenders of society against Ched Evans", would be a considerable advance.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:22 pm

What right do people who carried out the 911 attack have to be offended at anything we say or do?
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 2:49 pm

Everyone can choose to take offence to whatever they like. It goes beyond the notion of a right. It is simply a statement of unavoidable fact. Personally I take extreme offence to the concept of blasphemy as a "crime", regarding it as the most contrived, self-serving, divisive, arrogant and socially subversive aspect to religious doctrine (though which admittedly faces stiff competition from other aspects of the same thing), designed primarily to facilitate religion as a system of control over populations, and especially members of those populations dissenting from the mores and rules of those pushing the doctrine. It is hard for me to think of anything more offensive in fact. However having chosen to take offence this does not in any way confer any right whatsoever on me or anyone else to take punitive action against those who advocate its existence.

The "people who carried out the 911 attack" have no right to anything, I would say. They are dead. And it is dangerous to assume that their violent religious zealousness, or that of last week's perpetrators of atrocity in Paris, in some way debars or diminishes in importance Muslim people's choice to hold as offensive depictions of Mohammed in pictorial form. Their actions, and the naive assumptions that led them to take those actions, have parallels with other perpetrators of atrocities who have claimed motives other than religion as justification for their deeds. The issue of sociopathic behaviour is more complex than anything religious zeal alone can ever explain. However what must be emphasised over and over again to the religious mind, whether it has been engineered to understand or accept the concept or not, is that this grave offence they feel is a product of their own choice, taken as much as it is ever given.

If making this choice, one that this particular organised religion encourages or indeed obliges its members to make, produces such violent behaviour bordering on the pathological on the part of some of those who have done so, then the members and leaders of the religion in question have some serious soul searching to do regarding the value of its continuance at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:03 pm

nordmann - I know we have disagreed  in the past over matters of faith, but I do so agree with everything you say in your latest post. We are dealing with difficult and extremely disturbed people who have even invaded the woolly and tolerant precincts of the Church of England. I cannot bear them, and they are driving me away - not from my faith, but from the Church I have loved for so long, where beautiful music, magnificent prose (the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer), humour, tolerance, compassion, understanding - and forgiveness -  of human foibles and fallibility have given hope, comfort and succour to generations. That is all changing now, and it seems that I - and a lot of people who think as I do - are destined for Hell. Maybe I have been living in a John Betjeman fantasy world, but what we are now seeing horrifies me and is driving me out - to go where, I have no idea, but Hell would be preferable to a fundamentalist view of Heaven.

We need to admit that power-hungry "Christians" can make as good terrorists as any of the fanatics from other "faiths"; and I'm not just talking about the Gunpowder Plot and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. It is a mind-set we are fighting, not faith.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism

Here's Bishop John Shelby Spong, an American Episcopal bishop, a hero of mine who is also a sane and wise human being. This is from his book: "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism":

One irate reader of a newspaper article wrote that he was praying that the next plane I took would crash, carrying me to my grave. The next time I boarded a flight I felt I should stop at the front of the plane and say, "Folks, there is something you need to know before this plane takes off"...I wonder, however at the incongruity of that letter writer who sincerely believes himself to be a Christian and yet somehow does not calculate the fact that his prayers for the early demise of someone he abhors might also require the sacrificial death of a planeload of supposedly innocent people. Yet that is the nature of religious anger. Once again the words spoken and the deeds proposed are simply not in touch with the gospel of the God who so loved the world and who, in the person of Jesus*, invited all to "come unto him".

A major function of fundamentalist religion is to bolster deeply insecure and fearful people. It also provides an appropriate and legitimate outlet for their anger at life and at fate. They are a total nightmare - and they are everywhere, even, God help us, in a sleepy village in Devon.

I'm "re-examining" a lot of things at the moment - it's a horribly painful process.

* And a lot of other great teachers.

PS Hope this makes sense - I've been to A&E this morning with a broken bone and I'm drugged up on some incredibly powerful pain killer.


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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 3:03 pm

Crossed posts - by nord's latest I meant this morning's offering.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:05 pm

Temp - I  know what you mean - it was the response to the prospect of ordaining women of the then Archbishop of York that dislodged me from the CofE into the Methodist church.

I hope the fracture mends well and swiftly, and does not prove too painful and debilitating in the interim.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:19 pm

Thank you Gil - and others in the bar.

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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:49 pm

Re this thread.  Nordmann has distilled many of the relevant facets of this worrying developement. Suffice to say that having lived closer to this matter, been responsible for serious security and sudden action with a cool head I guess there is much else I could offer. When fear is a constant, knowing all the rights and wrongs are slim defence when all you have to offer is courage. I'll glide over clarification and example in this instance but hang on to a thought that brings a ray of hope when what to actually do about it all is not only complex but needs to go far beyond 'ought.'
During the Spanish Civil war many  people took sides and flocked in with the often blinkered zealous zeal of the young, identifying with a cause - as many do in all manner of things. Then they grow out of it, wisen up as truths take hold  with rationale and understanding broadens. Zealous youth is less dangerous than mature people who make life changes to fundamental thinking and loyalty after a possibly wild youth they are the more daunting because their mind set  hardens and they influence young minds. They rarely lead the battle or strap on a device or offer up themselves. I think we can summon up a few in history - even Thomas a Becket, in a sense.  I alos know a few of this type - friends who are uncomfortable that one might recall their wild youth and now are only too boringly happy to tell how good and devout they are become. So where we may fear returning youths, perhaps they have missed the freedoms and sports - and comforts - they once enjoyed. I don't know; put it down to me being simplistic again.; hope springs eternal. For those who live with unstated fear as a constant it's as good a  shield as any.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:53 pm

I'm not certain whether this thread should be allowed to move peacefully to its close, but I read the following with interest this morning. I offer it for consideration:

http://stopwar.org.uk/news/charlie-hebdo-the-hypocrisy-of-pencils-and-the-limits-of-the-free-speech-crusade


And after days of sanctimonious blather about freedom of speech and the Enlightenment values of Western civilisation, his was one pencil-warfare cartoon too many...


Mmm. I'm sure this will go down like a lead balloon, but the expression "sanctimonious blather" struck a chord with me.

Mind you, when one starts criticising others for blather of any kind, one should always stop and consider that one's own discourse - one's énoncés, pious or otherwise - could be read/heard as such.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:41 pm

@Temperance wrote:
Several months ago I posted this on the What is Art? thread:

@Temperance wrote:
I've found a very interesting site which gives many examples of beautiful medieval Islamic religious art. Some of the pictures do, however, show the full face of the Prophet which I believe is deeply offensive to Muslims.

So I am hesitating even to give the link, let alone post any of the pictures.

There is a section on the site devoted to "Messages from readers offended by the Archive": most of the messages posted there are terrifying in their savagery and vitriol. I can understand how a deliberate mocking of a religion can provoke hurt and anger, but not examples of genuine art which these respectful representations all seem - to my Western eyes at least - to be.

Yes, it does make me despair (the vitriol, not the art).  


I hesitated to give the link or show the pictures, not because I am a coward (maybe I'm fooling myself about that), but because I think it is unwise deliberately to give hurt or offence to someone. Was I wrong? Should I have posted the pictures here? I still would hesitate: I may disagree vehemently with someone, but that is not an excuse to show bad manners. That strikes me as being deliberately provocative - the way angry, self-righteous adolescents are.

Salman Rushdie said yesterday that religion deserves our fearless disrespect. I think he is wrong. Religion does not deserve our disrespect. Intolerance and wilful ignorance do. This is not about religion: it is about power (and the dangerous, vicious anger and hatred of the powerless).

@nordmann wrote:
If there is a principle involved of any worth it is one that refuses to accommodate polarisation and exclusion through antagonism in the belief that this might best engender resolution and progress through dialogue. However in this latest case and similar in recent years the palpable lack of dialogue would tend to suggest that adherence to this principle is void of hope as a route to resolution anyway.



I do agree with that. Prodding vipers to make them hiss is never a good idea, but then how do you talk to a viper? Sadly there seems indeed to be little hope of success. You can't have a dialogue with a viper - or a fanatic. And I suppose it could be argued that trying to be polite to them is not a good idea either.

EDIT: I offer this for consideration:

One of the FT regulars, Tony Barber, wrote recently:

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo. This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.




" I do agree with that. Prodding vipers to make them hiss is never a good idea, but then how do you talk to a viper? Sadly there seems indeed to be little hope of success. You can't have a dialogue with a viper - or a fanatic. And I suppose it could be argued that trying to be polite to them is not a good idea either".

You do not talk to vipers temperance...you find a stick and destroy them, or risk a bite in the future.
Charlie Hebdo's act was the voice of despair engendered by watching their country in the growing grip of a Muslim octopus.
Satirical expressions portraying religion as the subject are no different than those portraying a person. The allies used Hitler and Mussolini as subjects during WWll because they were representative of their policies. In this case it is the religion that is culpable and representative...and not for the first time in history either.
We are not one group of countries confronting another civilized group of opponents, we are dealing with people who want to force their religion and way of life upon the world using any means possible. It's time to get very serious in thought and action against them, if we intend to survive as a  free people.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:34 pm

@Temperance wrote:
Crossed posts - by nord's latest I meant this morning's offering.

I hope your injury heals easily and quickly. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:16 pm

@Parallax wrote:
I hope your injury heals easily and quickly.  Smile



Thank you, Parallax. But why are you grinning at me? I actually damaged my hand at the beginning of December, and just ignored the swelling and tenderness in my thumb, thinking it would get better of its own accord. I actually had no idea I had sustained a fracture. I eventually went to the doctor, and she told me off for being so stupid and sent me immediately to A&E. I am now making enormous capital out of my injury - how I coped with Christmas despite being in agony blah, blah blah. Actually it didn't hurt that much until I went to the hospital on Tuesday and they pulled it about and prodded me. The expression "By the pricking of my thumb..." now has a whole new meaning. It is not very glamorous having an enormous bandage around the metacarpophalangeal joint of one's pollex.

But enough of my nonsense - back to our serious discussion.

I'm afraid I have to disagree strongly with your post, Parallax.

We share this planet with 1.6 billion people who are Muslims. They are not all dangerous reptiles. A very small minority of them are crazy and/or cunning fanatics - power-hungry men who use "religion" as a convenient excuse - a cover - for their true agenda of violence, misogyny and psychopathic cruelty. Such a mind-set, however, is not - and never has been - the prerogative of the adherents of any one religion or race. Vipers lurk everywhere, and our own nations - in Europe and on the American continent - have bred a fair few of the more venomous variety. The Isis thugs share a mentality similar to that of members of the old British National Party, or the English Defence League. I believe they now call themselves Combat 18 (a name which I believe honours their hero, Adolf Hitler). They are all Nazis at heart, whatever "religion" - or none - they profess.

I agree that appeasement is not a wise policy when dealing with these madmen, but neither is it sensible - or wise - to provoke millions of ordinary, decent people who just want to live in peace. Many French Muslims are in despair at the moment - we could perhaps try to see things from their point of view.

Is this sanctimonious blather from me? I hope not. And anyway nordmann has already made similar points.

And it could be argued that the cephalopod of global capitalism is a pretty nasty beast too...
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:47 pm

No temperance, If I were grinning at you it would be benign anyway.

Yes, there really are no great governments but I have not seen anything as brutal as Isis. One could probably say some good things about the regimes you mentioned, or any previous form of government, including Muslims in general. They gave us the number zero and algebra and helped reintroduce Greek civilization to western Europe but the things they are doing now will blot out some of their good contributions.

It's difficult to separate the Muslim from the terrorist but still we all wonder why the Muslims have not said anything about the terrorists. Is their lack of comment due to fear or acceptance or both? Are they actually in a sort of measured sympathy with Isis? At this point it's still somewhat nebulous.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:51 pm

"Sanctimonious blather", rather struck a chord with me too ....

Today on the French evening news there was an interview with one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who missed the fatal meeting. Unsurprisingly he was unrepentent about publishing the cartoons but he added, and I'm paraphrasing a bit, that he found it a bit rich people like Francois Hollande claiming to be Charlie ..."because he's one of the hypocritical creeps we're trying to attack ... if he's Charlie -  then I'm not!".

Meanwhile I note that the president of Senegal, who so prominently marched in solidarity alongside Mr Hollande through the streets of Paris on Sunday, and spoke praising French values ... today passed a presidential decree banning the Charlie Hebdo magazine from his country. Clearly freedom of speech is all very well just so long as what's said is fully in accord with
government thinking. Sanctimonious, hypocritical blather indeed!
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PostSubject: Shocking...   Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:02 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Everyone can choose to take offence to whatever they like. It goes beyond the notion of a right. It is simply a statement of unavoidable fact. Personally I take extreme offence to the concept of blasphemy as a "crime", regarding it as the most contrived, self-serving, divisive, arrogant and socially subversive aspect to religious doctrine (though which admittedly faces stiff competition from other aspects of the same thing), designed primarily to facilitate religion as a system of control over populations, and especially members of those populations dissenting from the mores and rules of those pushing the doctrine. It is hard for me to think of anything more offensive in fact. However having chosen to take offence this does not in any way confer any right whatsoever on me or anyone else to take punitive action against those who advocate its existence.

The "people who carried out the 911 attack" have no right to anything, I would say. They are dead. And it is dangerous to assume that their violent religious zealousness, or that of last week's perpetrators of atrocity in Paris, in some way debars or diminishes in importance Muslim people's choice to hold as offensive depictions of Mohammed in pictorial form. Their actions, and the naive assumptions that led them to take those actions, have parallels with other perpetrators of atrocities who have claimed motives other than religion as justification for their deeds. The issue of sociopathic behaviour is more complex than anything religious zeal alone can ever explain. However what must be emphasised over and over again to the religious mind, whether it has been engineered to understand or accept the concept or not, is that this grave offence they feel is a product of their own choice, taken as much as it is ever given.

If making this choice, one that this particular organised religion encourages or indeed obliges its members to make, produces such violent behaviour bordering on the pathological on the part of some of those who have done so, then the members and leaders of the religion in question have some serious soul searching to do regarding the value of its continuance at all.

It's shocking that the people who carried out the 911 attack are dead..do you mean just because they hit the towers at 300 miles per hour in a plane with a full fuel load...do you think that did it? I don't care about them. They are good terrorists.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:03 pm

@Parallax wrote:
It's difficult to separate the Muslim from the terrorist but still we all wonder why the Muslims have not said anything about the terrorists.

Are you being serious? "Not said anything", you say? "Difficult to separate the Muslim from the terrorist", you say?

@Parallax wrote:
It's shocking that the people who carried out the 911 attack are dead..do you mean just because they hit the towers at 300 miles per hour in a plane with a full fuel load...do you think that did it? I don't care about them. They are good terrorists.

Ah, I see you aren't being serious.

Pity, since this hardly seems a laughing matter. And seriously, if you really think there hasn't been extensive and unambiguous condemnation of this terrorist attack and others from leaders of Muslim communities, seminars and countries, then I'd recommend you urgently review where you get your information from. Or try the Google thing (if you're stuck in a no-news locality like North Korea or any place that only gets Fox News). It might potentially save you from some serious embarrassment in the future, especially when it comes to what you might actually fear without good reason (such as nebulousness).
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:35 pm

With over a million copies of CH on the streets and many seeing the  broad range of subjects it lampoons , some that might touch a nerve, I wonder how many will  carry  on buying it. The stand for free speech was impressive - but what to about people with a killing mind set,  that is the hard one.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:54 pm

Further to the comments on hypocrisy, I have been somewhat troubled by that as well, the sense of a tragedy being exploited by all the usual suspects. There's also been a whiff of the 'Diana' effect, in this case recreational outrage along with recreational mourning and as for the hand wringing by 'world leaders', this covers that rather well. https://storify.com/tometty/staunch-defenders-of-free-press-attend-solidarity

To imagine that all those 1.6 billion are some kind of homogeneous group betrays dangerous ignorance and suggesting that the states where they form the majority are somehow all alike is as mistaken as thinking that the UK, Argentina, Russia and South Africa are alike just because they are predominately Christian. Islam covers not only as wide an ethnic diversity as those but also as wide a range of different interpretations of faith.


Last night I watched " White, Angry and Proud" on Channel 4 about far-right groups here. Their rhetoric about defending 'values' and 'our way of life' etc was almost interchangeable with that spouted by any terrorist group but arguably with even less historical justification for the perceptions of victimisation, disenfranchisement and discrimination that drives their rage.

I have been, and still am, critical of the deliberately provocative nature of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, it seems to me that there was a denial of responsibility for any possible collateral damage to others, but that does not mean that I see no place for humour or satire in political comment even though I believe that it is often just preaching to the choir. Samizdat and underground publications and comedy in the USSR and apartheid South Africa had a legitimate function in reinforcing and disseminating dissent in resistance to power but heaping ridicule on an already disadvantaged minority is less like poking a viper and more like teasing a neglected, insecure and aggressive staffie.

Anyway, let's have some humour that's funny.

                                                                           
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:04 am

I must say ferval, that was very well said indeed.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, to suggest that Indonesia is in any way, shape or form homogenous with another predominately Muslim country, say Turkey is as outlandish as suggesting that Sweden is identifiable with Mexico simply because they are considered christian. 

The tabloid rhetoric as repeated so thoughtlessly by Parallax (and far too many others unfortunately) above, I find as distressing and dangerous in its ignorance as that coming from AQ or ISIS.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:27 am

This aspect to the discussion is of huge interest historically, or rather historiographically; how such a significant portion of humanity - their development sociologically, their development politically, the nature and history of their cultural diversity, the forging of their communal identities over fifteen centuries, the history of their successes and failures in integrating with surrounding cultures during long periods of expansion and contraction, all that has happened over that time which has brought that huge slice of the world's population to where it is now - is dismissed so readily by another great slice of humanity as immaterial, whatever could have been learnt from an appreciation of these historical processes being so easily sacrificed in order to prosecute a generalisation that common sense alone would suggest just cannot be true.

Of course this is not confined to this example, the tendency to over-generalise seems an innately human one in its own way and one encounters it in some form almost daily - though we so-called "educated" societies tend to associate this inclination with political expediency, intellectual laziness and other motives that in a negative way divert us from understanding rather than helping us towards comprehension.

So you would think some alarm bells would have gone off long ago on this one. I mean long ago - islamophobia and ignorance in distinguishing between religion, nationality and culture regarding muslims is not a new phenomenon at all (I recall the angry official letter of protest delivered by one European country - I think it was Portugal - to its Indonesian ambassador after the PFLP's hijacking and destruction of three airliners in the Jordan desert in 1970, purely because he was the nearest Muslim to hand).

Some mention has been made above regarding the perceptions of "powerlessness" and "victimisation" experienced by Muslims living with immigrant status in "the west". In the context of an almost wilful refusal to properly engage with these communities this perception is understandable. One hears very much also these days of a growing sense that these same people are consciously "islamifying" their host countries and that this must be resisted with force. This perception also has to have its roots in an inability to properly engage - on both sides' parts. One thing is true - both concepts do not sit well together logically, something that should at least indicate that both cannot be accurate assessments of reality at all.

Had their been, from as far back as the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, a more concerted effort to actually thus engage how different our more recent history might have been. There are lessons to be learnt here, I feel, and they are in recent years no longer simply ones of interest to historiographers, sociologists and political analysts. They must start to be of interest to everyone who lives in a culture undergoing integration - which these days is just about everyone in the world.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:21 pm

@nordmann wrote:
@Parallax wrote:
It's difficult to separate the Muslim from the terrorist but still we all wonder why the Muslims have not said anything about the terrorists.

Are you being serious? "Not said anything", you say? "Difficult to separate the Muslim from the terrorist", you say?

@Parallax wrote:
It's shocking that the people who carried out the 911 attack are dead..do you mean just because they hit the towers at 300 miles per hour in a plane with a full fuel load...do you think that did it? I don't care about them. They are good terrorists.

Ah, I see you aren't being serious.

Pity, since this hardly seems a laughing matter. And seriously, if you really think there hasn't been extensive and unambiguous condemnation of this terrorist attack and others from leaders of Muslim communities, seminars and countries, then I'd recommend you urgently review where you get your information from. Or try the Google thing (if you're stuck in a no-news locality like North Korea or any place that only gets Fox News). It might potentially save you from some serious embarrassment in the future, especially when it comes to what you might actually fear without good reason (such as nebulousness).

Thanks you for the guiding light Nordman. I urgently took your advice and used Google to further my apparently limited knowledge of Muslim apathy regarding Isis. You were correct. The Muslims have been speaking out but I'm not sure how long this has been going on. I also read where they, (the Saudis), have contributed $100 million to fight against Isis. So I give you that.
On other maters...yes, I do watch Fox news and also Al Jazeera and Bill O'Reilly sort of comes across a bit like you. Nothing serious though.
I doubt that I'll ever get seriously embarrassed though because I don't live in an ivory tower...those people have much further to fall and would accordingly suffer the greater embarrassment.
Cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:22 pm

Maybe more sensible to wear a button saying "I am Raif". At least it could (unlikely though) produce a reaction in the rifght quarters.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:49 pm

Well said Gil, but we mustn't offend our nice arms customers allies the Saudis, must we.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:22 pm

Remember the quip "With friends like that" etc?
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:34 pm

@Parallax wrote:
I doubt that I'll ever get seriously embarrassed though because I don't live in an ivory tower...those people have much further to fall and would accordingly suffer the greater embarrassment.

I'm sorry Parallax, but I haven't a clue what you mean by any of this. Who are "these people" who wouldn't face embarrassment because you apparently don't live in a tower of ivory? Is it "the muslims" again?
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:56 am

@Parallax wrote:
Quote :


 I urgently took your advice and used Google to further my apparently limited knowledge of Muslim apathy regarding Isis. You were correct. The Muslims have been speaking out but I'm not sure how long this has been going on. I also read where they, (the Saudis), have contributed $100 million to fight against Isis. So I give you that.

Cheers


It has been going on a long time and contrary to what many inaccurately believe, it is in the interest of Muslims to fight terrorism and extremism especially considering that in the last 5 years (as accurate as the assessment can be, there are probably more) 100,000 people have been killed world wide from terrorist attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria. Not the US, Britain, France or wherever and less than 60 of those deaths have been US citizens, and even less of those have been British or French.

Far from the catch cry of 'them wanting to force their way of life us' it seems to me that the ones who are actually being terrorised and forced into a way of life not of their choosing are Muslims themselves. This is a crisis within Islam and not one of Muslim vs Christian, unless thoughtlessness and ignorance on our part make it so. Instead of mass hysteria and Islamophobia it would be far more sensible and constructive to offer some support to those 99% of the Islamic faith in combating, what is in effect, a common enemy. The attacks in both London and Paris have both been from young men born and bred in Europe, that they have been so very easily manipulated says as much about our failure as 'Christians' as it does about the failure of the Muslim communities within Europe.

It would be more effective to offer the hand of friendship and support instead of blindly and stupidly playing into the hands of the very fanatics we are railing against. But of course, they don't want that, it wouldn't be so easy to find recruits if there were no marginalisation of minorities.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:35 am

Hope I'm not straying off-topic if I introduce a spot of 16th century history here. The blurb on Christine Isom-Verhaaren's book, "Allies with the Infidel: the Ottoman and French Alliance in the Sixteenth Century", tells us:

In 1543, the Ottoman fleet appeared off the coast of France to bombard and lay siege to the city of Nice. The operation, under the command of Admiral Barbarossa, came in response to a request from Francois I of France for assistance from Sultan Suleyman (sic) the Magnificent in France's struggle against Charles V, the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. This military alliance between mutual 'infidels', the Most Christian French King and the Muslim Sultan, aroused intense condemnation on religious grounds from the Habsburgs and their supporters as an aberration from accepted diplomacy. Memories of the Crusades were, after all, still very much alive in Europe and an alliance with 'the Turk' seemed unthinkable to many. "Allies with the Infidel" places the events of 1543 and the subsequent wintering of the Ottoman fleet in Toulon in the context of the power politics of the sixteenth century. Relying on contemporary Ottoman and French sources, it presents the realpolitik of diplomacy with 'infidels' in the early modern era. The result is essential reading for students and scholars of European history, Ottoman Studies, and of relations between the Christian and Islamic worlds.

I really know little about this - except that the "Turks" (i.e. Muslims) were seen as a very serious threat in the 16th century. (Othello, incidentally, in Shakespeare's tragedy, is employed by the city state of Venice to fight "the Turk".) Earlier, in 1529, while Henry VIII was mooning over Anne Boleyn, the forces of Suleiman the Magnificent - also called "the Lawgiver" - got as far as the gates of Vienna: it was feared that this terrifying Sultan could sweep through the whole of Europe.



The mention of "realpolitik" above is interesting. I bet there was an awful lot of sanctimonious blather going on in London, Paris and Madrid at the time, not to mention Constantinople. Wonder what the Pope had to say about it all? But then when you get realpolitik v. sanctimonious blather, the former always wins out. Just as it will in our own times.








PS Love his hat - Suleiman's that is.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:50 am

PPS Won't go on about "Othello", this being a history site and all, but folk might like to read this. It's a piece by Jonathan Bate, Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and Provost of Worcester College, Oxford.  "Othello and the Other: Turning Turk: The subtleties of Shakespeare's treatment of Islam".

http://www2.idehist.uu.se/distans/ilmh/Ren/sh-othello-bate.htm


Othello is located on the east-west frontier between Christianity and Islam, with Othello himself functioning as the tertium quid that veers between the world's two dominant religions. Shakespeare lives when he is read and performed in ways that are simultaneously tuned to the present and true to the text. In our not so brave new millennium, as the battle-lines reinflect those of the sixteenth-century Mediterranean, waging the forces of global capitalism against the imperatives of Islamic fundamentalism, few literary questions will be more significant than that of how best to interpret and perform this play.
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 12:50 pm

@Temperance wrote:
 
Wonder what the Pope had to say about it all? But then when you get realpolitik v. sanctimonious blather, the former always wins out. Just as it will in our own times.

I think poor old Clement VII had enough on his plate with christian schismatics like Luther and that 'loyal' son of the church, king Hal, rather than to be overly worried about France's relations with the Ottomans. Besides the papacy was as much a political animal as any other head of state.

Pope Alexander VI (himself rumoured to be tainted by jewish blood according to popular gossip) in 1494 actually tried to get Ottoman military support from Sultan Bayazid II for the defence of Rome against the French invasion of his Catholic majesty King Charles VIII (himself known as "The Moor" supposedly because of his swarthy complexion, but which may well have been inherited from spanish moorish ancestors). Alexander didn't get any Ottoman support in 1494 (other than words) probably because he'd eventually managed to divert king Charles onwards to Naples, allowing him merely to pass through Papal territory on the pretence of him going on a blessed crusade against the Ottoman Empire ... and sweetened with a bucket-full of papal indulgences.

As you say: "... when you get realpolitik v. sanctimonious blather, the former always wins out."

But it is very interesting just how closely the affairs of the Muslim Ottoman Empire have been interwoven into the very fabric of Christian European history. It is an historical facet that I think is largely ignored by British media and education, although I suspect it is not so casually over-looked in central and south-eastern Europe.

Perhaps we should have a separate thread?


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Parallax
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:21 pm

@nordmann wrote:
@Parallax wrote:
I doubt that I'll ever get seriously embarrassed though because I don't live in an ivory tower...those people have much further to fall and would accordingly suffer the greater embarrassment.

I'm sorry Parallax, but I haven't a clue what you mean by any of this. Who are "these people" who wouldn't face embarrassment because you apparently don't live in a tower of ivory? Is it "the muslims" again?


The "people who carried out the 911 attack" have no right to anything, I would say. They are dead.

That statement is what I took as mildly sarcastic and what led to everything else. People who live in ivory towers talk like that and by so saying I've probably outlived my welcome.
Further, I think your group is drawn from academics and left leaning posters and I would not fit very well because I'm somewhat right of center. So let me say goodbye and thank you all for your hospitality.

Parallax
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Nielsen
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:30 pm

Parallax,

Don't be hasty and rush out, please.
Take your time, and don't judge us before you've come to know us - we may be better - or worse - than you think.

Worst of all, imho, don't cut yourself off from opinions you may not share, if you/we all are given second opinions this may bring our thinking forward.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:43 pm

@Nielsen wrote:
Parallax,

Don't be hasty and rush out, please.
Take your time, and don't judge us before you've come to know us - we may be better - or worse - than you think.

Worst of all, imho, don't cut yourself off from opinions you may not share, if you/we all are given second opinions this may bring our thinking forward.


I applaud that. And who are the left-wing academics around here, then? Nordmann is everso brainy, it is true, but I don't know about his politics. He is our Dictator, after all. Can a true Dictator be left-wing? And he's always telling us off. It's just his little way. You have to stay calm, and smile. Smile  MM and I have been in some terrible scrapes for giggling on the back row.

Are you an American, Parallax? Have I offended you by saying that Hershey's chocolate is rubbish? (See fruit gum thread). I cannot lie. It is. The British have always made the best chocolate, with the Swiss and the Belgians trying desperately to compete.

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:54 pm

Blimey that's the first time I've been called a history academic ... I feel slightly insulted! But then I do believe it is an inalienable right of everyone to be insulted by anything if one so chooses.

Come now Pax, this is a discussion forum, you surely wouldn't like it if we all held exactly the same viewpoint? And if you hold a differing point of view, one has to be prepared to at least try to posit an argument as to why one feel's as one does ....

And you can of course always just dip in whenever you want in the future ... I personally tend to steer clear of religious debates, as I don't understand either why people are so passionate, nor do I understand the theology. I'm on surer turf talking cookery, sword-making, or gold-refining, but hey we all have our expertises and preferred interests.

So rather than say good-bye, maybe say à bientôt, eh?
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 2:28 pm

Agreed MM. OK, debate can be somewhat vigorous and most of us have felt the need to utilise the collection of miffs, huffs and dudgeons, handily stored behind the bar, at one time or another but surely that's the beauty of a place like this, listening to and even learning from the opinions and experiences of others? I for one would be really interested in hearing you expand and illustrate your views.
There's always the strategy of avoiding some threads and participating in others, goodness knows there's a wide choice.

Anyway, let's lighten up but not in an offensive way - for those who can access this, it deals with both freedom of speech and creme eggs.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xs4bb
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:44 pm

Oh this is excellent - what I call yer proper British satire. I like, "If we don't do a joke about the French, the terrorists have won..."  Very Happy

"Stop the Muslim pigeons!" (Is that "Arretez donc tous les pigeons musulmans!"?)

Thanks for the link, ferval. Programme is cheering me up no end - we academics need a break at times.

Haven't got to Crème Eggs yet. I hope they don't make fun of them and our anguish at the new lousy American chocolate on them - you can go too far.

PS I think Paratrooper has buggered off - shame. It's everso cold here today, so I hope he's chosen one of Priscilla's better-quality huffs. Oh heck, that might offend her - I'm not suggesting her huffs are ever cheap tat such as you get in Primarni. Shocked  They are all first-rate quality - Made in Britain (includes Scotland) - like Brora Brora's best.

Back to listening now.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Je suis Charlie   Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:13 pm

@Parallax wrote:
@nordmann wrote:
@Parallax wrote:
I doubt that I'll ever get seriously embarrassed though because I don't live in an ivory tower...those people have much further to fall and would accordingly suffer the greater embarrassment.

I'm sorry Parallax, but I haven't a clue what you mean by any of this. Who are "these people" who wouldn't face embarrassment because you apparently don't live in a tower of ivory? Is it "the muslims" again?


The "people who carried out the 911 attack" have no right to anything, I would say. They are dead.

That statement is what I took as mildly sarcastic and what led to everything else. People who live in ivory towers talk like that and by so saying I've probably outlived my welcome.
Further, I think your group is drawn from academics and left leaning posters and I would not fit very well because I'm somewhat right of center. So let me say goodbye and thank you all for your hospitality.

Parallax


Parallax,

I wouldn't interfere in this thread because I write under my own name. The same in my French forum
http://geopolitique.passion-histoire.net/
We had there already "exalted ones"...and such an exalted one can live around the street corner and have access to the internet and as we are public fora...
I did some research for "roof isolation" and now whenever I start my internet even the BBC World page there is recently advertisement (in Dutch!) above the page for roof isolation.
I had the same when I did research for the Scottish cap of Ferval, but then with all kind of caps to buy...

Kind regards and with esteem, Paul.

PS: I never visit the bar and all those other places, even from the BBC time, while I have even now a lack of time to "compose" all my messages on the different fora and especially by all the research I do to substantiate my statements. Yes and my French and English are still foreign languages for me...so with a pile of dictionaries at hand reach...
And I hope you join further the group...BTW: On the Salon Géopolitique, we had sometimes similar discussions as this one...which had to be conducted in good ways by the Dictator in office...
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