Thursday, January 29, 2015

Editorial, "The World Bows in Reverence" - in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 January 2015, Vol. 11, Part 1, No. 1 issue


to the intrepid French Martyrs – the Editor, cartoonists, press staff and Ahmed (the Muslim policeman), the twelve apostles for liberty – who laid down their lives in the dastardly terrorist attack on 7 January 2015 by two religious fanatic gunmen in Paris, supposedly belonging to the dreaded terrorist organization, al-Qaeda. More than three million people including 40 world leaders led by the French President, Fran├žois Hollande, and including the leaders of both the warring states – Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Mohammed Abbas of Palestinian Authority – paid glowing tributes in Paris to the memory of these martyrs, particularly the fearless editor ‘Charb’ and other cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo - many of them atheist leftists, who persevered in their struggle for liberty amidst all death threats. The fanatics forgot to note that any religion and any community culture has to keep pace with changing times and cannot and should not stick to its old rigid customs, traditions, etc. which have become a big fetter and burden for its progress as also to the rest of humanity. Some people do think Mohammed might have been progressive in some respects but was also regressive in other respects, like in hating polytheism, in concentrating on jihads, and his treatment of Jews, kafirs, etc. So, some reformers/critics may begin with and persist in criticism or even mockery of this prophet himself. Anyway, depiction of Mohammed’s figure was not an offence, let alone a sacrilege, even in early Islamic times as a number of paintings of that period, officially encouraged and exhibited, show. So, if some journals make a mockery of Mohammed – especially if they are by non-Muslims – there is no need for Muslim orthodox to be so irate and jerky. They should learn to take it all as a part of the process for securing and enjoying more and more freedom of speech and human rights in present times that includes freedom to offend even. In extreme cases of hate-speech/arts, they can take resort to statutory provisions in the laws of the land [in which they reside] for stringent/needed action against persons committing such offences rather than resort to wild shouting and ruthless killings. We join the millions in the world paying tributes to the Charlie Hebdo martyrs and vow to fight for freedom of speech and expression.  §§§