IF, a week ago you had mentioned Charlie Hebdo to someone you knew they probably wouldn’t have known what you were talking about… maybe an American clothing company or some such…?
Tragically, following the events in Paris last Thursday that is no longer the case and the name ‘Charlie Hebdo’ rings around the world as a chilling reminder of what we, infidels, living in our western cocoon now face and sadly it will not be the last such attack.
They say that all publicity is good publicity but I fear that in this case that surely belies the truth… Charlie Hebdo is a small, weekly satirical magazine which bases most of its humour on cartoons…
It is well known for making a target of the ‘humourless’ side of the Muslim world and had been targeted before on a number of occasions. Most notably, its offices were firebombed following their reproduction of the famous Danish cartoon mocking the prophet Mohammed some years ago and indeed its place of work in central Paris was under police guard at the time of this monstrous attack… little good did it do them or those guarding them who were also shot down.
To say that this attack was an attack on us all and all the various freedoms we enjoy in the modern world is, of course, a cliché, but unfortunately it’s one that is true.
The fact is, all press and media is ‘provocative’. The Olive Press, on which you are reading these uncensored words is a popular and lively ‘campaigning’ newspaper for the expat population of Spain with a wide and disparate readership ranging from the Times, Telegraph and Guardian readers of Sotogrande and Gaucin to the tabloid reading populations of Benalmadena and Torremolinos (apologies for the generalisation…I have no wish to ‘offend’) and has to cater to all tastes but it still ‘offends’.
But I doubt that even in their darkest moments, those offended imagined picking up a Kalashnikov and wiping out the entire staff. You may think I am being flippant but actually I’m trying to make a point, not very well perhaps, but you probably get it; whether you are just a reader or you work in the media, be it in print or on radio, be it the Olive Press or the Sunday Times this week has seen an attack on YOU and your values. We need to stand against this kind of psychic and physical bullying… with bombs and bullets?… clearly not, but merely with a continuation of the type of mockery and satire that led to this outrage in the first place.
Because if we allow this to go unpunished and unacknowledged and fail to stand up to these people in the only way we can, we will all suffer whatever our political and moral beliefs.
I will leave you on a note with regard to press reaction to this event…in Britain, as one might expect, the reaction was guarded – none of the papers reprinted any of the offending cartoons or allowed tributes despite the efforts of several of the country’s leading cartoonists so to do (blocked by the editors!).
To quote Ian Hislop, editor of the daddy of all satirical magazines, ‘Private Eye’ and well known TV pundit (Mock the Week, Have I got News for you): “We don’t do satire on Islamic Fundamentalism…’cause we’re sh*t scared…”
Nice one, Ian. That just about says it all. As for the Spanish Press, a much braver body of work, almost every paper including ABC, El Pais, El Mundo etc. either reproduced the offending cartoons or produced versions of their own in tribute to the dead journalists, some including images of the Prophet (Mohammed), so viva España in this case…at least they showed some ‘cojones’.
God bless you all (should he exist…?) and long live Charlie and its like.