The case of two wrongs PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 January 2015 11:44



“Two wrongs  do not make a right.”  This has been a truism for a long, long time and yet sadly it seems that so many of us still have not learned the wisdom that it seeks to remind us of.

The Charlie Hebdo weekly  is well-known in France as  a leftist, satirical publication which takes digs at those topics which the weekly sees as the “sacred cow topics” of present-day society – religion, politics, culture. It has had its share of controversy over the years. It was shut down for a short time when it published an issue which made fun of the death of Charles de Gaulle, then president of France.

That the magazine thinks it can make fun of certain  topics and notable personalities  is an expression of the freedom of expression. “I do not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it.” This is a hoary expression that most of us have come across at one time or another. Making fun of what some people consider as deserving of respect surely is controversial. But that is what freedom of expression is all about. Nevertheless  what has happened should make us think about responsible use  of that freedom.

I am a Catholic and I would be extremely distressed if people who do not believe as I do will make irreverent statements about the Virgin Mary, for instance. However, no amount of  distress can justify my taking a gun and mowing down as many people as have distressed me. Those who abuse the freedom of expression should be prosecuted,  but within the law.

What message or messages have been sent to the world by what  happened at the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices?  Perhaps Muslims sense the Islamophobia shown by non-Muslims towards them. But by doing what they did at the Charlie Hebdo offices the two Muslim brothers involved in the attack have deepened Islamophobia in millions of non-Muslims, even those who had no bias against Muslims in the past.

The two brothers carried out the act and they are responsible for their action. I can understand that as Muslims they felt insulted and their religion ridiculed.  But as  often is the case, if the brother had simply turned the other cheek the ridicule would have been simply on the magazine itself.

However I  also hold responsible for the current situation and how the majority of people now look at Muslims, all those who poisoned the minds of these brothers to take the action they did.

It is the responsibility  of  people who are still able to think clearly to teach the younger generation that to use violence in pursuit of a good can never bring about that good. Also, that freedom is a privilege and should be carefully nurtured  and exercised.