I try to avoid making political or religious points on this blog, after all it is about my love of writing – creative of otherwise. It is often hard to avoid on my second blog Illuminati, Lizard People & Pharma Shills because the content is often so critical of the political and religious motives behind anti-science groups.
We all by now know about the terrible attack in Paris on the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. Gunmen attacked the offices of the magazine, killing twelve people. They reportedly shouted “Allah Akhbar” as they carried out their slaughter. In the aftermath, two further gun attacks took place in France.
Free speech is something we take for granted as writers living in a free and democratic society – we accept that we can say pretty much anything about anyone within reason, so long as we are not inspiring anybody to break the law. Some people have the vilest of beliefs and even though we loathe their beliefs, we respect their right to believe them so long as their beliefs and words remain within the boundaries of the law.
We may identify that certain elements of the media turn away from criticising certain religions or certain practices (most notably, people are cautious at saying anything negative about Islam and Judaism for example) but the magazine Charlie Hebdo saw a potential of satire in everything – and they rarely held back.
There has never been a greater divide between freedom of expression and those who would seek to limit it because of their hurt feelings – or by proxy, the hurt feelings of their supreme being. Over the last few years, religious groups have protested – or rioted – at the opening of theatre plays, at book releases and at film releases. Sometimes these are peaceful protests, other times they are not and people die. Individuals and groups have suffered because of hurt feelings.
I feel we are at a turning point this week. Here in Europe, we either stand up for free expression or we succumb to the bullying demands of those who seek to limit it.