The United State of the World

Click on photo above to read more…

“I think therefore I am Charlie!”

“Live Together Free, Equal, and United”

The World unites in Paris. The million people march. It’s nice, it’s important, but is it enough? It’s just one day… it’s a Sunday and most people had the day off anyway… will they be there again tomorrow? Or the day after?

Since I’m not there, I cannot criticize. I admire the million(s) people who are showing up, to be counted as against worldwide terror. I will leave it at that, on an upbeat note, rather than devolve into the realities of it.

Just for today, the World against terror is United and has One Voice.

Je suis Charlie!

Cheers for the brave among us, (and jeers for the evil ones)

Bex & Co.

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17 Responses to The United State of the World

  1. nina says:

    But what if you believed that the subjects of your satire were the ones who had elements of the unkind? That they hid behind a hypocritical wall of rhetoric, practicing demagoguery, misogyny, repression, and, in the name of some fictionalized ideas – warfare, greed, hatred of the other? What if? 3.5 million people in France spoke out on Sunday holding up pens and pencils (and millions more through the subsequent purchase of Charlie) saying that on balance, satire is necessary so that we can discuss. Interestingly, in France, hate speech is not permissible. So, not all ridicule is fair game. There have been law suits, including against Charlie in the past where the complainant alleged that the magazine, in its depiction of Catholics and the pope was engaged in hate speech. Each time, the court came down on the side of Charlie, saying no — it’s satire. And freedom of expression has to protect satire for the sake of something greater: the democratic ideas of a free state.


  2. Sandy says:

    Nice video!


  3. Bex says:

    I agree TT. The ones who are kind are usually the quiet ones. Well said.


  4. TopsyTurvy says:

    Sandy said: “On the one hand I’d like to see kids and adults be more kind and supportive of each other. On the other hand, I’m not sure how to get there or what we might have to sacrifice to get there.”

    Often, sacrifice is made by those who *are* kind, and they seem to not lose too much by it. The healthiest of those who sacrifice for kindness know where to draw the line at self-preservation and will not let themselves be damaged, so they can live to be kind another day, so to speak.

    Those who are on the semi-opposite side, who live by satire and rapier wit, tend not to think in those terms and will avow that they have rights to do and say what they want, even if others are hurt or protest.

    Those who wish a world to tip toward the direction of kindness therefore need to make themselves and their wants/needs/beliefs heard just as much as their opposites. And there’s the crux, as those disposed to kindness tend not to be outgoing in that manner.

    Therefore, those of us who prefer greater kindness need to, perhaps, voice our preferences and expectations more loudly – and not be apologetic about it.


  5. Sandy says:

    Well said Nina. It’s true that the Charlie Hebdo satires offended more than the fundamentalists. I’m still trying to reconcile my feelings about free speech with my belief that we live in a nastier world due in part to social media, changing attitudes toward raising children, the ability to say anything and get away with it, and a zillion more reasons. I’m still thinking about the comment about bullying. On the one hand I’d like to see kids and adults be more kind and supportive of each other. On the other hand, I’m not sure how to get there or what we might have to sacrifice to get there.


  6. Nina Camic says:

    That kind of satire — the Charlie satire — does offend. There’s no question that it offends not only the fundamentalists but even those who are mainstream believers. Every cartoonist and magazine publishing such work has to decide where to draw the line – at what point it goes too far. Charlie Hebdo offended a lot of people, especially nonFrench people, especially Muslim people, that’s for sure. But offending the sensibilities of the devout is not reason to shut them down and certainly it is not reason to kill the authors. I myself could not participate in that craft and my sensibilities stray toward the tame. But I absolutely believe in the right to such expression. It may not change a fundamentalist viewpoint, it may do nothing more than provoke outrage among all readers, but it does encourage discourse. And that’s priceless.


  7. Sandy says:

    Those are both interesting articles. It’s important to recognize that Charlie Hebdo has used satire against many groups and people – Catholics, Jews, Muslims etc. They aren’t simply anti-Muslim. Satire and some comedy can be offensive. Ideally it results in conversation, awareness, debate and even change. But conservative Muslims take great offense at anything that seems to mock their religion. Think back to Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Does any satire justify murder? Of course not. One part of me thinks satirests should carry on and not give in to fear or extremism. Another part of me wonders if it wouldn’t be better to not satirize fundamentalists who are so offended, they will kill people. In the end it’s unlikely that fundamentalists will be changed by the satire.


  8. TopsyTurvy says:

    Both interesting articles, Nina. I think the first is closer to what I was saying. The second, while I agree with his areas of discomfort I still find he’s fallen into the trap of generalizing to “Muslims” and not separating the chaff from the wheat.


  9. Nina Camic says:

    …and further into the debate, you can raise the argument that Charlie went too far. Especially for non-French sensibilities. Here’s a good take on it from the English world:


  10. Nina Camic says:

    To help sort through the complex issues surrounding Charlie and the rise of fundamentalism in France, I suggest this article. You may not agree with his strong left leanings of the author, but I think his historic analysis of what happened in Europe in the post colonial era and the role of this magazine in the fight for equality and a secular state is fairly accurate:


  11. TopsyTurvy says:

    I don’t know that I see most political cartoons as bullying. I think there is a line there somewhere, even if it isn’t a hard, fast one. But with the jihadists, you have to realize when you’re making fun of them you may be laying your life on the line. They have no sense of humor and no mercy.


  12. Nina Camic says:

    Which would you like to see Bex — restrictions on the cartoons or freedom to bully in school? Do you remember the KKK march in Skokie (a Jewish suburb of Chicago)? Without a doubt a hurtful and offensive statement. We let them march.


  13. Bex says:

    Have to agree Anna, and I have a whole conversation to start soon about just what is the difference between freedom of speech to write mocking cartoons, and “bullying” for which we punish schoolchildren in this country? It’s disturbing that it’s OK for journalists to be able to say anything about some one or group, but it’s not OK to say similar things, say, online, about someone. Hypocrisy is the word that comes to my mind, and I think this is a serious subject that we as humans should address.


  14. Annanotbob3 says:

    I don’t know if I believe in the existence of ‘evil ones’. Drones are killing civilians, often children, in our name (US and UK) which doesn’t make us great. It’s a horrible world we live in. xxxx


  15. Bex says:

    Yes… and this is my way of “being there” with them… in a small but heartfelt way.


  16. Nice to see like minded people expressing their views by putting their bodies where their mouths are!


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