The attacks on Charlie Hebdo last week has generated many reactions from all concerned. But if one critically look at the event, one will see the exposed hypocrite of the West and deliberate double standard that is aimed at continuing their well-planned attack on Muslims across the world. France’s (and the West’s) claim that free expression is a ‘fundamental principle’ is a myth, an opiate of the masses, explicitly invoked for anti-Semitic purposes in the years leading up to the holocaust, and has recently been used to whip up hatred of immigrants, ethnic minorities and Muslims. Like everywhere else in the ‘Free World’, in France, free expression is for some but not others.
Charlie Hebdo has facilitated the growth of a form of politicized anti-Muslim sentiment that bears a disturbing resemblance to the politicized anti-Semitism that emerged as a mass movement in France in the 1890s in its use of crude and vulgar caricatures that purvey a sinister and stereotyped image of Muslims.
A French court injunction banned a Jesus based clothing advert mimicking Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The display was ruled “a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people’s innermost beliefs”, by the French judge. In 2005, ‘Aides Haute-Garonne’ organized an informative evening about the prevention of the HIV-AIDS. The prospectus contained a head-and-shoulders image of a woman wearing a nun’s bonnet and two pink condoms. Because the prospectus insulted a group because of its religion, a court convicted Aides Haute Garonne. In 1994, Le Quotidien de Paris published the article L’obscurité de l’erreur by journalist, sociologist, and historian Paul Giniewski. The article criticises the Pope and states that Catholic doctrine abetted the conception and the realisation of Auschwitz. A court upheld proceedings on the ground that the article was an insult to a group because of its religion and convicted the newspaper.
‘Charlie Hebdo Magazine’ itself censored, apologised and then fired longtime cartoonist Siné for a caricature insulting the son of former president Nicholas Sarkozy and his wife Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, while staunchly standing on their ‘right’ to repeatedly troll Muslims, minorities and immigrants e.g. by showing a caricature of a stereotypical Arab whom they imply to be the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa Sallam) naked and bending over – which tells you something about the brand of satire they practice and that they would rather be aiming downward than upward. Dieudonné M’Bala, a French comedian and satirist – was convicted and fined in France for describing Holocaust remembrance as “memorial pornography”.
The ‘Quennele’ hand sign has been described as anti-establishment and anti-Zionist by French youth and famous football players (e.g Anelka). It stoked serious controversy in France since first being used by an anti-establishment comedian Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala in 2005. M’Bala has been barred from many theatres and convicted many times for his ‘freedom of speech. As part of “internal security” enactments passed in 2003, it is an offense to insult the national flag or anthem, with a penalty of a maximum 9,000 euro or up to six months’ imprisonment. Restrictions on “offending the dignity of the Republic”, on the other hand, include “insulting” anyone who serves the public.
French Rap Star Facing Prison for Insulting the French State, insulting Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle. It is illegal to insult the French state, and it seems historical characters like Napoleon and Charles De Gaulle are sacred. But it is Ok to lampoon the prophet of Islam, Muḥammad (salla lāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), the leading light and ideal of divine justice for 1.5 billion people
is open to criticism?
Nicolas Sarkozy, then-Interior Minister and former President of the Republic until 2012, ordered the firing of the director of Paris Match — because he had published photos of Cécilia Sarkozy (his wife) with another man in New York. In 2006, rapper ‘Joestarr’ had his rap song against President Sarkozy censored.
The following films have been censored in France for provoking violence: L’Essayeuse (1976) Romance (1999) Le Mur (2011).
With all these, it surprises the way France and its Western allies have allowed the continuous blasphemous acts of that magazine all in the name of bogus "freedom of speech. We say no to freedom to kill and at the same time, no to freedom to insult. Double standard won't solve the problems of the world.
(Comrade Abdul Lateef Usman Abiodun, a journalist/political analyst, contribute from Lagos via 07037657426/[email protected])