Yet another massacre in the name of Islam. The BBC reports here that twelve people including two police officers have been shot dead in the name of Islam. Up to three masked thugs ran through the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo firing automatic rifles.
A further ten or more people were wounded, including five who were seriously injured.
This post is my own way of trying to stand in solidarity with the people of France and rational people wherever they are in the world.
One thing is certain, however, it will take only a day or two for the conspiracy lunatics to claim that the attack didn’t happen; everyone seen in news footage were just crisis actors, there were no Muslims involved anyway, and in any case it’s just another hatchet job against Islam. Today’s massacre of innocent people will just be tomorrow’s conspiracy theory for a significant number of irrational bigots who don’t have two operational brain cells to rub together.
I don’t think today’s attack is representative of the people of Islam generally; in my own experience I meet Muslim people on a daily basis as clients, and it would be unfair of me to claim that any of them seem to represent or support the kind of insanity that was displayed today in Paris. In fact, I fear for those people, who do not support terrorism in any way, for the possible backlash they might suffer from unthinking idiots who want to take some kind of revenge of their own.
Nevertheless, freedom of speech has been compromised by a small number of people who do not appreciate the fact that they live in a society that gives them the freedom guaranteed by secular law to pursue their religion without interference. And yet those same people do not recognise the same secular law that allows everyone to express their personal views – even if it causes offence to others. And in a free society, it is imperative that the right to offend is preserved. In a democracy, satire is one of the things that keeps politicians and many others in positions of influence reined in; it often exposes the hypocrisy of those who we allow to govern us, and can often be a powerful influence on the general population to keep in mind what is really going on out there. The West has a fine tradition of political satire and cartoons, some of which have had far-reaching effects – not by telling any lies, but by exposing some harsh truths.
Since this tragedy unfolded, it is somewhat heartening to see that many Muslims themselves have joined the chorus of outrage at what has happened, and I welcome them into the fold of rational thought. Many of them are, however, taking a risk: it’s a sad fact that so-called Muslim extremists willingly kill even fellow Muslims if they think haven’t got their theology straight.
I will say just this: I do not believe in the existence of any gods, including the Muslim god, and for that I could be killed by irrational people who take it seriously and expect to get get 72 virgins for their efforts. If your god does not have the power to do his own dirty work – by your own interpretation of what you believe your god wants – then fuck off!
In the meantime, I will take my chances as I make my own contribution to rational thought, and the fight against Bad Thinking.
Oh, and here’s a bit of satire I picked up on Twitter – in my opinion, the most incisive piece of satire I have ever come across:
I don’t know who to credit for this image, but well said!