JE SUIS CHARLIE – The year is 2015 and Europe is in shock.
12 innocent lives have been lost because the men and women at Charlie Hebdo had the courage to satirize everyone, with no exceptions. The aftermath of the ghastly events in Paris are being felt and there is hate spewing in all directions but it has also brought people of all colors, creeds, and faiths together to show that they are not afraid.
Whilst our politicians send their condolences to France and our journalists write gripping articles about the events and the importance of freedom of speech I cannot help but feel a slight distaste at what I consider to be clear-cut cases of hypocrisy.
Today, Expressen was the only newspaper in Sweden that printed some pictures from Charlie Hebdo and they have my utmost respect for doing so but that does not change the fact that the very same newspaper fired one of their most popular journalists, Marcus Birro, less than 2 months ago. The full story can be found here and it all boiled down to the following tweet which not only got Marcus fired but also forced him and his family to flee the country after numerous death threats.
“Not buying the talk about ‘religions’ being dangerous. What does the biggest part of the world’s religious terrorism have in common? Islam. Fact.”
If we go back further in time to December 10th 2013, Expressen utilized an extreme-left hacker group to illegally list 6200 Swedes who were responsible for the heinous crime of writing offensive comments online, anonymously. They subsequently exposed certain individuals in their newspaper and even went so far as to confront them in their homes for committing thoughtcrimes. All the while Expressen simultaneously decries the NSA but little can top yesterdays freudian slip in Sweden’s Radio
When Swedens Radio (a part of S(S)VT) reported on the terrorist attacks the correspondent, Alice Petrén, said that it wasn’t innocent people who died because the attack was aimed at editorial staff that had attacked Muslims with caricatures. She subsequently apologized for the comment in this tweet which I have translated below:
Clarification @alicepetren @p1 Charlie Hebdos editorial staff are innocent people, but not random victims. Atrocious. Of course.
Meanwhile, Politicians such as Anna-Kindberg Batra, party leader of the Moderates and Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, expressed their sincerest condolences to the victims in France but what have they done for the freedom of speech they claim to hold dear? They and the political parties they represent have all voted to change the constitution to make it easier to prosecute those who “offend” which I wrote about here.
Lets not forget Dan Park, the artist who has been in and out of jail for his controversial art which was subsequently demolished by the Swedish state in the name of good. He was brutally assaulted recently by left-wing extremists. Did the media write a syllable decrying the politically motived attack?
One man sarcastically summed up what politicians and journalists know full well.
“The attack in Paris could have never happened in Stockholm because the satirists would have been in jail for hate speech.”
Perhaps the threat of a backlash from the extremist community is the real reason for the constitution being changed and not “to protect children from online-bullying”.
That makes sense considering what S(S)VT uncovered yesterday; a facebook group with no less than 430 (!) Swedish jihadists and their followers. Some of them were living in Sweden after having fought for the Islamic State and others were sharing clips straight from Syria and Iraq. They were all praising the terrorist attack in Paris and here are some examples from the group.
“These pigs were sent to Jahannam [hell], they had been participating in drawing and spreading caricatures of the prophet salla Allahu ‘aleyhi wa sallam [blessed phrase or peace greeting]”
“Now the disgusting pigs will have to think twice before they mock Allah and his prophet”
“Pray that Allah increases these sort of attacks several times and accepts the brothers that participate”
The Islamic States propaganda contains atrocities the likes of which the world hasn’t seen since the dark ages and it sends shiver down our spine and strikes fear into our hearts. Fear grants them victory before the battle has even begun which is why we must treasure and defend those who make us laugh in the face of evil regardless of whether we consider the art to be good, bad, or ugly.
Some images from Charlie Hebdo
Cover from the 1st of October 2014 – “I am the Prophet, asshole!” – “Shut Up, Infidel”
The last tweet from Charlie Hebdo prior to the killing – “and above all good health!”
2011 cover of Charlie Hebdo after their offices were firebombed – “Love is stronger than hate”
Some other pictures that were not made by Charlie Hebdo but have led to an outcry from radical Islamists
Muhammed the prophet as a roundabout dog by Lars Vilks published in the Nerikes Allehanda. He is on an Al-Qaeda hit list and lives under constant police protection. His home has been firebombed and several attempts have been made on his life.
Here is a parody of Al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader posted on Twitter by Luay Al-Khateeb.
One of the Muhammed drawings published by Jyllands-Posten in Denmark 2005 which led to Libya, Saudi Arabia and Iran withdrawing their embassies from Denmark and several countries boycotting Danish products. After several death threats two of the satirists went underground. 100’s of people died and Mehmet Kaplan, Swedens current Minister of Housing (!) said that
“I cannot see any freedom of speech in this. This is an unsupportable provocation”