Charlie Hebdo is a French Satirical weekly magazine that basically features cartoons, jokes,reports on current topics. It is very controversial and definitely non-conformist.
Charlie Hebdo defines itself as above all secular and atheist, far left-wing and anti-racism. It steadily makes fun of religion and politics, especially the extreme right.
There is nothing wrong with that. It is, after all, freedom of speech.
Over the years, Charlie Hebdo has been the victim of many law suits and a few terrorist attacks. The attacks were deemed to be the direct result of a series of controversial Muhammad Cartoons published therein.
When, earlier this year, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were attacked, I remember feeling really sad to see what some people are capable in the name of religion and over things that, to me, seem so trivial. Doodles! Can you imagine loosing your life for drawing a cartoon?
After the attacks, worldwide supporters of freedom of expression adopted the phrase “I am Charlie” to show solidarity and honor to those who lost their lives in the violent strike. I remember changing my profile pic on Facebook. I am a huge advocate of Free Speech and as such, felt compelled to join in the protest.
But this week, Charlie Hebdo went too far.
In a cartoon depicting young toddler Aylan (Alan) Kurdi, face down, dead on the beach, next to a Happy Meal McDonald’s ad, Charlie Hebdo has brought freedom of speech back to barbaric times. They have missed the target. They have proven that their poor taste and insensitivity knows no bound. Mocking a child’s death for “the greater good” reflects poorly not only on them, but also on society.
See, Charlie Hebdo, it seems, felt that the only way to really reach people about the refugee crisis, was to create something so shockingly disgusting that it would force people to talk about it.
And talk, they did. Outrage came from everywhere. People, even free speech supporters are criticizing the publication and judging their actions as being “in poor taste, offensive and condemnable.” Legal action is already being taken against the magazine. Freedom of expression didn’t win anything here. In fact, it lost.
I always say that my freedom of speech ends where another human being’s freedom of speech begins. This is a perfect example.
This is NOT freedom of expression, it’s freedom of humiliation, which really, is not a thing. To Charlie Hebdo: If thousands of people don’t get your “satire”, perhaps it’s time to realize you are not doing it right.
Until then, I won’t be Charlie.