Monday, 12 January 2015

Je ne suis pas Charlie

I utterly condemn and abhor all terrorist action. I grieve for all those who have died so tragically and unjustly at the hands of terrorists.

I have no truck with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Islamic State of Iraq and al-sham. 

I sympathise with the principle of freedom of speech. I am convinced of the need for religious tolerance. I think the voice of the poor should be as powerful as that of the rich. I support the exercise of human rights. Yet I find these simple notions are more complex than my naivety had hoped for. They are interpreted subjectively according to the needs of those who are currently espousing them.  

What freedom of speech is there, for example, for those ordinary people in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Libya where western arms, western armed forces and their allies are used to bring death in order to meet what western governments believe is in the west's economic interests? I don’t suppose many of these people were asked whether they wanted western arms and armed forces to destroy their communities. Who is the extremist here ?  Freedom of speech and human rights disappear in these circumstances. It’s a good job that most of the Arab states don’t have the power to decide to take military action against our home territory in order to take control of our resources. 


Should we publicly criticise other people’s actions or beliefs unless we are not prepared to first express our views privately to them ?  Most evidence suggests human beings are more cooperative at a personal level than when they are ridiculing each other publicly with anger or sarcasm. Our visceral instincts do not always serve us well.  

Our political leaders tell us that we are citizens of a civilised democratic state but when we discover that those who carried out outrageous terrorist atrocities in London and in Paris were respectively born in the United Kingdom and in France and were citizens of these countries  perhaps it’s time to look at the nature of our civilisation and democracy.  
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