There is no transferring blame away from the perpetrators of this crime. 

Moderate muslims are not to blame.

It is not the disastrous invasion of Iraq, even if this gave jihadists a foothold. France, like New Zealand, didn’t support that war.

 

It was not France’s intervention in Mali in 2012. That was a legal intervention, sanctioned by the United Nations Security council. It was an African-led military force against al Qaeda in northern Mali, after an illegal coup toppled a democratically elected president.

The root cause is not poverty in the banlieue (suburbs) of Paris, even if the hopelessness there made for fertile recruitment to jihadism. Jihadist ideology began in the wealthy medical schools and universities of 1940s Egypt, and was later supported by the decadent Royal family of Saudi Arabia who needed an Osama bin Laden, and the extreme purity of the Wahabi clergy (who thought it God’s work to flog a woman for driving), to deflect from their excesses. 

And - this must be crystal clear - Charlie Hebdo, the editorial team, the cartoonists and the staff are not to blame for their own murders. 

The brave and just response to the Paris murders is to stand up for freedom of speech -  no buts, no qualifiers. 

Some will use the slaughter in Paris to whip up anti-Islamic sentiments. Marine Le Pen, France’s far-right leader, has already compared Muslims in France to the German occupation of the 1940s. George Packer of the New Yorker fears ‘today might very well be the day that Marine Le Pen became President of France.’

Her attempt to demonise all of Islam is tactical and ugly. The majority of muslims are peaceful and live comfortably alongside christians, jews and atheists. Anyway, the tactic of terror is to provoke a backlash against all Islam and vindicate their teaching of victimhood.

Le Pen’s views must be rejected.  

But it is also true that an extremist faction of Islam does not want to live in peace and believes that purity can only be realised by killing infidels and moderate muslims.

These ideas and this barbaric strand of Islam must be named and shamed. It is just as important to stand up for the Kurdish muslim woman in combat gear fighting for her right not to wear a hijab, as it is to stand up for the right to wear one on the streets of Sydney and not be attacked.

We must also resist the weak implication in some analysis that the victims, the satirists at Charlie Hebdo, contributed in some way to the crime; that they should have thought twice before offending Islam.

Yesterday, condemning the killing, Grant Robertson said supporting freedom of expression can mean walking ‘a moral tightrope’. Challenged to explain the ‘tightrope’ he stated he was against the slaughter, but didn't identify what made this morally uncomfortable (and on Facebook commented: “Charlie Hebdo has been controversial in its cartoons and depictions, but nothing can ever justify such brutality as we have seen today.”)

To see how disturbing this is, imagine if the entire cast of 7 Days were slaughtered for laughing at extreme Islam - and he had then said “7 Days has been controversial in its comedy but…”

No one doubted Grant would be against killing. It doesn’t take much courage to oppose mass slaughter. What takes courage, and is vitally important, is to stand up for the right to offend people. Full stop.

There is no moral tightrope here. As Phil Quin said, it is a moral boulevard leading to undiluted outrage at slaughter, unqualified support for the right of satirists everywhere to lampoon the pious, powerful and stupid.

It’s easy to fight for views you agree with. Freedom to express views without fear of violence or death is about freedom to express views you don’t agree with. 

Satire is nearly always bruised and bloody in a fight for freedom of speech because its role is to mock and hold the powerful to account. 

Free expression is crucial to progress and civilisation because the foundation of modernity and enlightenment is the ability to express ideas that offend religions and authorities, such as that the earth goes around the sun.

We must stand up to a violent fascist faction of Islam that will kill to destroy the modern separation of church and state, because they preach that for man to rule over man is to usurp the role of God. 

This is not a struggle between Islam and Christianity. It is fight between modern civilisation and barbarism.

 

Comments (72)

by barry on January 09, 2015
barry

Offending the weak is called bullying and the victims are encouraged to stand up for themselves.  I condemn the murders but I feel sure that the perpetrators believed themselves to be doing just that.

Free speech is about offending our leaders and speaking truth to power.  The so-called satire in question was aimed at the poor and downtrodden and is a travesty of free speech.

Je ne suis pas Charlie.

by Serum on January 09, 2015
Serum

Josie, one wonders which publication you read regarding the erroneous claim that Jihadist ideology began in the wealthy medical schools and universities of 1940s Egypt.

Institutional Jihad war ideology and its allied institution of Dhimmitude have existed for over a thousand years across Asia, Africa, Europe and were conceived by Muslim jurists from the eighth to the ninth centuries onwards. Emerging from a Jihad war of conquest the principles of “protection” and “toleration” integral to the system of Dhimmitude are opposed to the values expressed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stress the equality of all human beings and the inalienability of their rights.

Refer http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=20902

 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

To see how disturbing this is, imagine if the entire cast of 7 Days were slaughtered for laughing at extreme Islam - and he had then said “7 Days has been controversial in its comedy but…”

Let's put some context around that analogy. Now imagine that the muslim population of New Zealand was around 10%, mostly young poor urban immigrants with a high unemployment rate. Imagine that there were terror cells trying to radicalise that population. Imagine that there were ongoing racist attacks and frequent bombings of mosques, and a neo-nazi party in Parliament increasing in popularity and campaigning on anti-muslim platform. Now imagine that the 7 Days guys decide to keep making the same joke over and over again, designed to upset and offend muslims as deeply as possible. 

Now you start to see the moral tightrope. Free speech means the right to offend, and it means supporting people's right to speak even if you don't agree what they say. So you gotta support the right of the 7 Days guys to make their joke. But you also gotta acknowledge, given the context, that the 7 Days guys would be doing something really fucking dangerous with potentially dire far-reaching consequences for no real point other than to prove that they could. 

by Alan Johnstone on January 10, 2015
Alan Johnstone

"Free speech is about offending our leaders and speaking truth to power.  The so-called satire in question was aimed at the poor and downtrodden and is a travesty of free speech."

I'm staggered at this comment; religious people are "poor and downtrodden", really?

CH is a (very left wing) publication which attacks the establishment.

And just so we're crystal clear "Barry", were these people in anyway to blame for their own deaths ?

by barry on January 10, 2015
barry

Alan,

No, the perpetrators were to blame for the deaths.  However I can't identify with Charlie because I think they are bullies and are partly responsible for the climate of hatred in France.  They seemed to have made a deliberate attempt to goad someone into attacking them.

I can identify with the Nigerian victims of Boko Haram, the Yazidis, Christians and Moslems of Iraq and Syria who are victims of IS, the victims of the Sydney siege and last night's supermarket hostages in Paris.  I can identify with the Gazans suffering from the blockade and periodically attacked by Israel. I can identify with poor moslems in France putting up with a continual barrage of attacks (some in the media, some physical) based on their ethnicity and/or religion. These are the innocent victims.

And yes - the moslems of France are predominantly the poor and downtrodden. they are the ones without power. 

I don't know what you hold dear, but if I continually print articles criticising it, you are going to feel aggrieved and powerless.  Who knows, you might snap one day and come gunning for me.

by Wayne Mapp on January 10, 2015
Wayne Mapp

Barry,

In my view in your second comment you have come dangerously close to excusing the massacre. 

Being born in poverty is no excuse for these actions. And I would have Judaism has been under as more attack in France than "poor moslems". 

I do note that these sort of politically motivated events do not occur in the US to nearly the same extent as they do in Europe, and I think the reason is the US is much better at inculcating a belief in its citizens that you can't be at war with your own country. We may wonder at times at what seems to be excessive level of patriotism in the US, but one of its outcome is the powerful integrating effect it has on the huge number of immigrants. Many of them are also in the US forces, which seem to be deeply respected in the US, and much more a part of US national life than in most other western nations. I guess one of the legacies of being a superpower.

Of course the US has a different set of problems around school yard and workplace massacres and such like by deranged and alienated people (but poverty does not seem to be much of a factor in such events).

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@ Danyl,

Now you start to see the moral tightrope. Free speech means the right to offend, and it means supporting people's right to speak even if you don't agree what they say. So you gotta support the right of the 7 Days guys to make their joke. But you also gotta acknowledge, given the context, that the 7 Days guys would be doing something really fucking dangerous with potentially dire far-reaching consequences for no real point other than to prove that they could. 

So they were asking for it? Is this the same as a teen girl, asking for it, when she walks  drunk down Queen St at 2.00am wearing provocative clothing?


by Josie Pagani on January 10, 2015
Josie Pagani

@Danyl

What you're saying is that the staff at Charlie Hedbo in some way provoked their own murder - by offending Islam. So what if they offended? They hurt nobody. That's what the issue is about - the right to offend is the same as the right to say the earth goes round the sun. What they were doing (whether you find it funny or not, offensive or not) was standing up for something that is crucial for any civilized society - the right to offend the pious, the powerful and the pompous. Once you start making conditions around that, you are rejecting that principle and lining up with the dark ages. 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

So they were asking for it? Is this the same as a teen girl, asking for it, when she walks  drunk down Queen St at 2.00am wearing provocative clothing?

I don't think so, because there's no moral causality there. If I walked down Queen Street at 2.00 am yelling racist insults in people's faces - because free speech means the right to be offensive and I had a right to do so - and someone punched me, would that make me a hero for free speech? Would you have an obligation to repeat my racist insults to show that you weren't afraid? 

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

If I walked down Queen Street at 2.00 am yelling racist insults in people's faces - because free speech means the right to be offensive and I had a right to do so - and someone punched me, would that make me a hero for free speech? 

If a fatwa was issued against walking down Queen St offering insults to Islam, and then I did do exactly that. Then, yes I would be a hero for free speech.


by Charlie on January 10, 2015
Charlie

Excellent post Josie!

Seems you have more balls than Grant R  :-)

 

 

by Lee Churchman on January 10, 2015
Lee Churchman

We must stand up to a violent fascist faction of Islam that will kill to destroy the modern separation of church and state, because they preach that for man to rule over man is to usurp the role of God. 

How about some perspective, Josie.

The threat to civilisation from this latest bunch of crazies is about the same as the threat from radical groups like the Baader Meinhof gang in the 1970s, with whom the present lot share many non-accidental similarities (including ideological similarities with a larger, non-violent section of society). That is to say the threat is almost entirely imaginary. Many more French citizens will die in car accidents or from domestic violence this year than from urban terrorism.

If we took a realistic view of the threat of terrorism, the terrorists wouldn't bother.

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

What you're saying is that the staff at Charlie Hedbo in some way provoked their own murder - by offending Islam. So what if they offended? They hurt nobody.


What I'm saying is that the issues around free speech here are way more complicated than you think they are. Let me put it another way. 

Years ago, during the Danish cartoon debates I saw a muslim guy in a discussion forum explain that to him, seeing images that mocked his prophet were as upsetting and viscerally offensive as drawings of explicit child pornography. That seemed ridiculous to me then, and I said so at the time. I still think that's ridiculous, but what I understand now that I'm a bit older is that the depth and power of his emotions were very real. How would I feel if I were a member of a persecuted religious minority and someone was publishing something that shocked me as deeply as child pornography, but was targeted specifically at offending me? Pretty damn angry. 

And that raises an interesting point. Child pornography - even involving cartoons - is illegal in New Zealand. So despite all the rhetoric we've heard about free speech being non-negotiable, being absolute, and meaning the right to offend, and offensive images being the crux of western democracy, we do ban some images, just like Islamic countries do, because we simply consider them too offensive. Their publication is deemed harmful to the community - kind of like publishing race-baiting Islamophobic images in a country torn by racial violence. 

So if you really want to make a stand for absolute free speech in the spirit of Charlie Hedbo you could publish an explicit cartoon depicting child pornography on your site. It would be incredibly upsetting and offensive, but apparently that's the most important quality speech can have and not doing so would let the terrorists win. 

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@ Danyl,

So if you really want to make a stand for absolute free speech in the spirit of Charlie Hedbo you could publish an explicit cartoon depicting child pornography on your site. It would be incredibly upsetting and offensive, but apparently that's the most important quality speech can have and not doing so would let the terrorists win. 

Bollocks! Child porn is illegal because someone is hurt, physically and pyscologically, namely the child coerced into performing for the pornographer. If I say Mohummad isn't a prophet someones feelings are hurt but they can respond in a rational manner by refuting my arguments. Your analogy is really lame and inaccurate.




by Lee Churchman on January 10, 2015
Lee Churchman

Bollocks! Child porn is illegal because someone is hurt, physically and pyscologically,

Not necessarily. Hire a computer whiz and create some virtual child porn. Better still, create a game in which you rape realistically depicted children (they make these in Japan).

Soon there will be sufficient computer power to make VR sexual assaults of children possible. Nobody will be obviously harmed in the making of such software. Should it be sold openly?

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@ Lee, 

No it shouldn't be sold openly. We must grab our AK47's, visit publishers premises and execute them.

 

 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

Bollocks! Child porn is illegal because someone is hurt, physically and pyscologically, namely the child coerced into performing for the pornographer. If I say Mohummad isn't a prophet someones feelings are hurt but they can respond in a rational manner by refuting my arguments. Your analogy is really lame and inaccurate.

If you read what I actually wrote you'll see that I specified a cartoon. Y'know - like the Hedbo cartoons. Cartoons depicting child pornography are illegal even though no one is harmed or coerced into making them. Partly because they're deemed offensive, partly because they might PROVOKE people into committing crimes against children. 

But according to Josie's post, publishers of offensive images CANNOT morally be accountable for crimes provoked by them, and free speech is such an absolute good that ALL images should be publishable no matter how offensive. Well, if you believe those things then you shouldn't have a problem with publishing cartoons depicting child abuse, and the fact that they're banned means you have a moral obligation to defy that ban, otherwise all of western civilisation is at threat. Or have I missed something here? 

.

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

I have no problem with bans on publications provided they were imposed by the parliment the nation elected. However if I break the ban I don't expect to be executed, rather tried and convicted. What I object to is a group deciding that because Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or wherever, ban depictions of Mohummad, then that should be the law here or in France. Further more that if the NZ or France won't react a similar law then deadly violence is a suitable option. In the most part the Western world has treated the muslim ban on depictions of Mohummad with respect and not published such images. But there will always be a few who don't respect convention, CH/Whale Oil etc... so what the're dicks, but shouldn't be murdered for it. Rather Muslim communities who feel offended should avail themselves of whatever protection libel laws offer. This is not enough for some who want special laws to protect Islam and muslims. I find that offensive and feel its important to push back. Because if we are not all equal under the law then western civilisation is under treat. Maybe not from a minority of muslims but if a minority of the wealthy decide "Hey I'm better than that guy" then it's welcome back to a feudal society.

 

 

 

 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

if we are not all equal under the law then western civilisation is under treat. Maybe not from a minority of muslims but if a minority of the wealthy decide "Hey I'm better than that guy" then it's welcome back to a feudal society.

Yeah, what would our society look like if the rich thought they were better than us and got treated differently by the justice system? Imagine!

I have no problem with bans on publications provided they were imposed by the parliment the nation elected. 

The problem there is that the law is supposed to protect people from 'the tyranny of the majority.' If New Zealand somehow voted for a far-right government that banned people from speaking Maori, would that be a just outcome? That's kind of what's happening in France, where the law against 'religious symbols in public spaces' is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who choose to wear hijab. The French commitment to civil liberties seems less amazing when it's taking those away from a religious minority, but supporting them when they're used to persecute that same minority. 

by william blake on January 10, 2015
william blake

The crime was not about free speech it was aimed at provoking anti Moslem sentiment resulting in a more fertile environment for recruiting jihadists. 

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

It's not the hijab (headscarf) that's banned. It's the face covering niqab. I can't say I'm cut up about that. Ours is an open society and covering the face ain't right. I also think it's about as misogynistic as you can get. 

Still I'm not going to take to the road with a machine gun to right this wrong.

And should a far right wing party ever seek to ban maori in NZ I promise to argue and resist their ideas till the end.

by Alan Johnstone on January 10, 2015
Alan Johnstone

@ Daryl  "The problem there is that the law is supposed to protect people from 'the tyranny of the majority."

The law was there to protect the staff at Charlie, their right to depict a historical figure from 1,400 years ago in any damm well way they please is absolute. If we lose this, or don't defend it, we toss in the bin the entire european enlightenment.

 



by Grant Robertson on January 10, 2015
Grant Robertson

Josie

I am mystified as to why you are continuing to wilfully misrepresent and ignore what I said.  In terms of your specific claim that I did not say what made me “morally uncomfortable”, that is incorrect. I responded to you directly in a tweet that this was not a reference to Charlie Hebdo, (blasphemy is no big deal to me) but a comment about how I sometimes feel when defending freedom of expression.  It was also a reaction to some of the things I was seeing on my Twitter feed, including from moderate Muslims, who were struggling with their reaction. What you choose to not say is that my original tweet went on to say that extremist responses (murder) are never the answer.

What I was getting at by referring to a ‘moral tightrope’ is not about whether someone has the right to express themselves in a manner that might offend, but rather that in the course of defending freedom of expression (which I strongly believe in) it can from time to time pose, for me, moral challenges. When, for example, I defended the rights of people to hold and express some negative views about the place of gay people in society in the marriage equality debate, it caused me to think of the person I went to university with who killed himself in part because of exactly those kinds of statements.   But, in my speech in the Third Reading on that Bill you will hear me say that people were and are entitled to hold those views.

I guess you are saying that you are able to accept any form of expression without it causing you any pause at all.   For me, I sometimes find myself thinking of the person who might be grossly offended or negatively affected by a statement, and what that might mean for the world we live in. But that does not mean I am backing off the importance of the freedom to express those statements. 

The point you seem determined to misconstrue, despite me clearly saying it in the Twitter conversation, is that I start from the premise that we should defend freedom of expression and therefore cross the “tightrope”.  And I was equally clear throughout that no level of offence taken can ever justify violence or murder in response. The response to being offended by words or drawings is to find and create your own to respond- not to say people have no right to say them and not to resort to violence, brutality and murder.

 The bottom line here, and was the main body of the Simon Jenkins article in my Facebook post, is that we must mourn those who have died, and we must never let those extremists who would perpetrate these horrific acts limit our freedoms.  This, of course, includes the freedom to express, to satirise as Charlie Hebdo has and will, and more broadly to freely go about our daily lives.  I also think we have some responsibility to consider the consequences of freedom of expression and how it might affect others.  To me there is no contradiction or lack of courage in that position, just an attempt to think about how we might all live together on this planet.

 In any case, after a beer in the sun, I am going to watch South Park tonight- and I might wince at the odd joke, but I will laugh like hell at the others. 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

their right to depict a historical figure from 1,400 years ago in any damm well way they please is absolute. If we lose this, or don't defend it, we toss in the bin the entire european enlightenment.

Right. So do you also agree that people have an absolute right to publish cartoons depicting child pornography, and that failure to do to means tossing the enlightenment into the bin? Because you either believe in absolute free speech or you don't. You can't believe in absolute free speech for some stuff but not for others - it's a logical tautology. 

by william blake on January 10, 2015
william blake

We must celebrate and support Moslem communities and not be duped by terrorist criminals. 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

It's not the hijab (headscarf) that's banned. It's the face covering niqab.

You're wrong. It's the scarf. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_scarf_controversy_in_France

Or any other google search on the subject. 

by Alan Johnstone on January 10, 2015
Alan Johnstone

"Right. So do you also agree that people have an absolute right to publish cartoons depicting child pornography, and that failure to do to means tossing the enlightenment into the bin? "

No, of course not because drawings of child pornography can incite harm against actual real living people.  A drawing of a 1,400 year old historical figure doesn't.

If your going to respond that that it incites harm against 1.4 billion living muslims,  then you're drawing a very long bow.  

by Alan Johnstone on January 10, 2015
Alan Johnstone

and my comment on the enlightenment also related to the fact that undertaking any critical historical research into the early days of islam or it's founder is strongly discouraged 

by Josie Pagani on January 10, 2015
Josie Pagani

@Danyl @grantrobertson

Child pornography is illegal and actually hurts people (children). Satire is not illegal and no matter how offfended people are, actually hurts no-one, nor is it intended to cower or intimidate anyone - like Nazi propoganda or homophobic rants. Nor has satire in living memory been responsible for a genoide. Therefore your equivalence beteern substantively harmful expression - and giving offence is flawed. 

Giving offfence does not actually hurt or intimidate anyone. It offends. 

So again Grant, I ask  - what is the 'moral tightrope' you were navigating in the Charlie Hebdo case, and if you were not intending to apply there was one here, why mention the 'tightrope' in a Charlie Hebdo tweet?

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

No, of course not because drawings of child pornography can incite harm against actual real living people.  A drawing of a 1,400 year old historical figure doesn't.

But actual real living people are dying in France, right now over this. Now, I believe - and I think you'll agree - that the radical islamic terrorists bear the moral responsibility for that. But someone publishing cartoons of child pornography could make the same identical argument. The person attacking the child is morally responsible - not the person publishing the images. 

And we're still left with the problem that we're lecturing muslims about free speech, and how it means the absolute right to be offensive and publish anything without censorship, when we do actually censor ourselves and prevent things we find highly offensive from being published. 

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

Child pornography is illegal and actually hurts people (children)

Okay. So why does a cartoon depicting child pornography hurt people? Is it because it is so offensive it's upsetting and psychological traumatizing to look at? Y'know, the way muslims tell us that cartoons depicting their prophet are? Or is it because it can provoke people to commit actual crimes, even though you've specifically said that people aren't responsible for crimes provoked by publishing something 

by Ewan Morris on January 10, 2015
Ewan Morris

Satire is not illegal and no matter how offfended people are, actually hurts no-one, nor is it intended to cower or intimidate anyone - like Nazi propoganda or homophobic rants. Nor has satire in living memory been responsible for a genoide.

Nazi propagnda included material its purveyors would have regarded as satire.

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@Danyl,

I accept the scarf is banned in France.

I'm still surprised you favour the return of blasphemy laws. And on the spurious grounds that as we ban child porn so we should ban depictions of Allah. Does this mean all religion is placed beyond the scope of criticism? Or just Islam?  

by Ben Wilson on January 10, 2015
Ben Wilson

>So again Grant, I ask  - what is the 'moral tightrope' you were navigating in the Charlie Hebdo case

 It looked like Grant answered that in the paragraph beginning with:

>What I was getting at by referring to a ‘moral tightrope’ is

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

I'm still surprised you favour the return of blasphemy laws. And on the spurious grounds that as we ban child porn so we should ban depictions of Allah. Does this mean all religion is placed beyond the scope of criticism? Or just Islam?  

I don't actually think blasphemy should be illegal. I'm making the points that (a) Josie doesn't really know what she's talking about, (b) That we shouldn't be lecturing muslims on how absolute free speech is the cornerstone of our civilisation, because we don't actually have absolute free speech. I used an extreme example, but free speech in our society is compromised in dozens of ways, most of which are pretty sensible. (c) That the stuff published by CH was stupid and offensive. Now, I say stupid offensive things every day, and I don't think I should be killed for that, or censored from being offensive and stupid. But the political context around race and Islam in France made what they were doing really dangerous. Plenty of people said that at the time. The Hollande government said that CH were 'pouring kerosene on the fire'. The Obama government asked them to stop. They didn't, and it's worked out really badly for them and a lot of people have died. So I have a problem with people saying that those guys are heroes for free speech, and that everyone should republish their cartoons to prove our commitment to this western principle of absolute free speech that we don't actually subscribe to. 


by Alan Johnstone on January 10, 2015
Alan Johnstone

Daryl,

Of course Freedom of speech has limits. Schenck vs United States in 1919 is a good example of where they lie. We have free speech as far as it harms no one, freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theatre. 

Simulated child porn leads to direct harm to children, the studies are definitive on this point.  Children are real, actual, provable living things, God (almost certainly) isn't. You simply can't equate them. It's like asking what's more important, unicorns or breathing ?

Protection is only extended to real damage to real provable things. Western society is built on this point.

 

by Lee Churchman on January 10, 2015
Lee Churchman

@NickGibbs

No it shouldn't be sold openly. We must grab our AK47's, visit publishers premises and execute them.

You didn't really address the issue, which is that it is easy to find examples of expression that are legally banned in NZ despite their being no proof that they cause actual harm. Instead we have people tying themselves in knots trying to prove that violent pornography is censored because it causes real world social harm (an argument that is risible given rates of sexual offending pre and post internet).

If you're looking for a French example, the case of Dieudonné M'bala M'bala and the "Quenelle" gesture is an obvious one. He's a deeply offensive man and a holocaust denier, but there appears to be no evidence that his rantings have actually caused anyone actual harm. Yet he's been banned for inciting racial hatred. 

Nobody is suggesting that religion should be immune from criticism – hell, I'm a pretty dedicated antitheist myself – but if you're going to criticise it, you should make sure to follow the Wheaton rule while you do.

by Lee Churchman on January 10, 2015
Lee Churchman

Simulated child porn leads to direct harm to children, the studies are definitive on this point.

Like all other forms of pornography, there has been a massive increase in the availability of child pornography due to the internet. Yet there's been no tidal wave of child abuse just as there has been no tidal wave of sexual offending. I'm old enough to remember antipornography activists claiming that studies showed with absolute certainty that making pornography more available would lead to big increases in sex crime. I actually believed them too – shame on me.

Like a lot in the social sciences, those things end up saying what people want them to say.

by Danyl Mclauchlan on January 10, 2015
Danyl Mclauchlan

Simulated child porn leads to direct harm to children, the studies are definitive on this point.  Children are real, actual, provable living things, God (almost certainly) isn't.

And as we've seen in Europe, publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad leads to direct harm of lots and lots of real, actual, provable living things, ie the people that are murdered by terrorists as a result. So if people shouldn't publish simulated child porn because it incites paedophiles to cause harm, surely people also shouldn't publish Muhammad cartoons that incite radical islamists to cause harm? 

by barry on January 10, 2015
barry

Wayne,

There is a difference between understanding and condoning.  You have to understand the reasons behind the attack.  It is not good enough to just write them off as barbarians.

I definitely don't condone the murders. Not least because they do nothing to solve the problems. In fact the jihadists and the anit-immigrant far right are natural allies in that they hope actions like this will drive people further apart.  I would attempt to bring them together.

The problem is that moderate moslems are offended by the content in the magazine.  They feel powerless, so when they see someone taking action (even criminal, violent actions like this) they feel conflicted.  They generally don't want their family members involved, but young men can be attracted by it.  It serves as a recruiting tool ( for both extremist sides).

It doesn't make sense to support someone I disagree with because they are attacked.  I would defend them against the attack and I applaud the moslem policeman who lost his life while trying to do so.  But the magazine content is still offensive.

Free speech has to be moderated by tolerance.  Yes, make fun of politicians and rich businessmen (even the Catholic church) as they are strong.  Don't abuse and offend the weak.

by Nick Gibbs on January 10, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@Danyl,

And as we've seen in Europe, publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad leads to direct harm of lots and lots of real, actual, provable living things, ie the people that are murdered by terrorists as a result. So if people shouldn't publish simulated child porn because it incites paedophiles to cause harm, surely people also shouldn't publish Muhammad cartoons that incite radical islamists to cause harm? 

I like your thinking. Green Party policy has always offended me. All I need to do now is demonstrate that such policy leads to murder, violence and civil unrest. If someone whacks the Green leadership who formulate this nonsense that should convince the nation to ban all Green Party propaganda. To enact my plan what I really need is a patsy, an intellectual slow coach to do the deed and take the fall. 

Hmmm... Danyl, what are you up to next week... I have a proposition for you. One involving 72 beatiful virgins.

by Peggy Klimenko on January 10, 2015
Peggy Klimenko

@ Josie Pagani: "It was not France’s intervention in Mali in 2012. That was a legal intervention, sanctioned by the United Nations Security council. It was an African-led military force against al Qaeda in northern Mali, after an illegal coup toppled a democratically elected president."

Just so we're clear in this matter, French forces were deployed as part of an African-led initiative to assist the Mali army - which had carried out said illegal coup - in its fight against Islamists. See this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Mali_conflict#Battle_of_Konna_and_...

And to clarify things further, the Mali coup was illegal, and the Ukraine coup was not?

by Lee Churchman on January 10, 2015
Lee Churchman

I like your thinking. Green Party policy has always offended me. All I need to do now is demonstrate that such policy leads to murder, violence and civil unrest

Good luck with that. I mean, you seriously think this is an argument? And people wonder why the right aren't taken seriously.

by Peggy Klimenko on January 11, 2015
Peggy Klimenko

But I digress....

"Jihadist ideology began in the wealthy medical schools and universities of 1940s Egypt..."

Serum has pointed out above that this is incorrect. Whatever the Holy Qur'an may say about it, jihad, as described in the link, has a deep history: the people of Europe are well aware of it. The Viennese haven't forgotten that the Ottoman armies were finally stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

"The majority of muslims are peaceful and live comfortably alongside christians, jews and atheists."

You may remember the furore over the Danish cartoons in 2005 and 2006. There were riots throughout the Muslim world at the time; while some of those protesters were undoubtedly Islamists, most were not. The furious reaction to these cartoons, and to other instances of perceived insults to Islam, suggests that the views which drove the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo are probably widely-held in Muslim communities, even if few Muslims would actually go so far as to execute journalists. For instance, have a look at this:

http://i.imgur.com/BOP61aE.png

" Anyway, the tactic of terror is to provoke a backlash against all Islam and vindicate their teaching of victimhood."

I doubt that this is true. In the case of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the gunmen are reported as having shouted that they were "avenging the prophet". A much more plausible motive is that of intimidation. Terrorists aren't interested in "provoking a backlash against all Islam", because they believe that Islam is already under attack: this is, after all, why they're fighting. This latest attack much more closely resembles a facet of jihad as described in Serum's link above.

"We must stand up to a violent fascist faction of Islam that will kill to destroy the modern separation of church and state, because they preach that for man to rule over man is to usurp the role of God."

This doesn't apply only to Islamists: it's a state of affairs to which most Muslims aspire. We need to remember it.

I see the murders at Charlie Hebdo as an assault on freedom of speech, and to be deplored in the strongest possible terms. The whole point of satire is to ridicule and poke fun at the icons and institutions of society. If some - possibly many - people aren't offended, the satirists aren't doing their job properly. Satire isn't bullying, either: it's a part of that freedom of speech so many of us value in our democratic societies, and we should all defend it to the utmost.

by Peggy Klimenko on January 11, 2015
Peggy Klimenko

Maybe this will work?

http://i.imgur.com/BOP61aE.png

by Nick Gibbs on January 11, 2015
Nick Gibbs

@Lee,

Good luck with that. I mean, you seriously think this is an argument? And people wonder why the right aren't taken seriously.

No it's not a serious argument. Its satire. Call it tasteless if you like - but not serious.

by Ross on January 11, 2015
Ross

"If I walked down Queen Street at 2.00 am yelling racist insults in people's faces - because free speech means the right to be offensive and I had a right to do so - and someone punched me, would that make me a hero for free speech? Would you have an obligation to repeat my racist insults to show that you weren't afraid?"

First, the offender would be charged and possibly jailed. So, your right to speak would not be curtailed, but theirs would be.

Second, in the case of cartoons being re-published, you haven't bothered to look at the context. Some people would be unaware of the history of the cartoons or their content - so newspapers and other publishers are well within their rights - in fact, some would say they have an obligation - to publish them again.

Third, you didn't address the rape analogy. Presumably a young woman who repeatedly dresses provocatively and repeatedly gets drunk isn't asking to be raped...and you would not try to blame her in any way.

by Ross on January 11, 2015
Ross

And as we've seen in Europe, publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad leads to direct harm of lots and lots of real, actual, provable living things, ie the people that are murdered by terrorists as a result. So if people shouldn't publish simulated child porn because it incites paedophiles to cause harm, surely people also shouldn't publish Muhammad cartoons that incite radical islamists to cause harm? 

You've completely missed the point, Danyl. You're comparing something that is illegal and physically harmful - child porn - with something that is neither. Indeed you seem to be suggesting that if your blog offends anyone, they have a right to use violence against you. I didn't realise you were so open minded.

by Ross on January 11, 2015
Ross

So again Grant, I ask  - what is the 'moral tightrope' you were navigating in the Charlie Hebdo case?

Did he say there was a moral tightrope in this case? You quoted him above saying that freedom of expression involves walking a moral tightrope. That is a general statement of truth. In other words, he was saying that free speech has its limits.

by Ross on January 11, 2015
Ross

publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad leads to direct harm of lots and lots of real, actual, provable living things, ie the people that are murdered by terrorists as a result.

That's false. A handful of terrorists have harmed a handful of people. What about the terrorists who attacked a Jewish supermarket in France this week? How did the supermarket bring the attack upon itself? Were its fruit and vegetables over-priced?

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