Thursday, 8 January 2015

The importance of free speech and also of moderation

In the aftermath of the recent massacre at Charlie Hebdo magazine's headquarters in Paris, France, I would like to say these three things:

First of all, this should be a time for mourning of all the victims in this attack, and solidarity with their families-this incident should not be an excuse for attacking Islam, Christianity, or indeed any religion, or any person simply because of the religion they practice.

Secondly, we must emphasise the importance of free speech in this somewhat fearful world of ours. It is important that we are able to debate and criticise (when useful) with regards to current affairs or ongoing topics, no matter how divisive the topics may be. Parodying or lampooning issues or politicians du jour is also something we should appreciate (as long as the parody is funny and appropriate). However, in parodying we should avoid caricatures that are racist, sexist, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory, and Charlie Hebdo's parodies of the prophet Muhammad were racist and should have been avoided.

Thirdly, we must more than ever resist the power of the corporations and corporate-friendly states, which in recent times have been responsible ultimately for increasing authoritarianism in many nations and the stifling of basic civil liberties that all humans should be entitled to (e.g. the anti-protest laws introduced in Spain last year, which I hope will be repealed as soon as possible)

Alan.

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