“One of Charb’s last cartoons, published in this week’s issue, seemed an eerie premonition.
“Still no attacks in France,” an extremist fighter says. “Wait – we have until the end of January to present our New Year’s wishes.”” (CBS News Website)
“Freedom of the press”, I am beginning to suspect, is only a term circulating and understandable among the powerful.
The press might have perhaps taken for granted that the religion they are mocking, is a religion of a people long oppressed by Western powers. We know from our fellow Filipinos who have been Overseas Contract Workers in the Middle East back in the 80s, how Western policies kept many Arab peoples uneducated. That is why, up to now, they hire workers from Asia.
Western countries took the oil first before building the people. The sole concern was economic gain, but not solidarity with other people. We know the countless deaths caused by this.
Just so, in a time, when the Catholic Church is already engaging in ecumenical dialogues with other religions, secularist ideals continue to create a rift. For a newspaper to continually ridicule the religion of a people long suffering I think is shortsighted and not living to one of the French ideals – Fraternite. Today, together with Je sui Charlie is a cry for Liberte. But where has that liberte taken many people? France as a powerful nation, isn’t much liked everywhere. Like the US.
In as much as we would not like to use the oppressed-oppressor model, our calculations for the depth of hatred from many in the Arab world and other third-world countries have for the West (for America, for Europe), will forever remain inadequate. Powerful countries have often stepped into the lands of others with a sense of superiority, that they have no means of seeing the hurt and hatred they have generated among other peoples: people who felt disrespected and slighted in their own land.
But given the nature of the attack, France may bite bait that would start a spiral of violence in Europe. They house one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. The French society is also a contraceptive society. It renders itself sterile – you know where that leads. For now, homegrown terrorism of such scale on French soil already shatters beliefs. The terrorist, according to witnesses, after all, spoke perfect French.
What ISIS has shown us so far is that it is terribly easy to get Religious Extremists and sympathizers from secular societies. But given this gloomy possibility we still hope for the best.
Let us pray for those who have died, for peace, for the killers, and for our generation and the next to use the freedom we enjoy responsibly.
As a point of reflection, let me quote Jack Donnelly in his book Universal Human Rights: In Theory and Practice (2003),
“…the contemporary society of states is more a practical than a purposive association. Its rules seek more to facilitate states’ realization of their own purposes than to realize any particular shared substantive purposes. To use a distinction that has become popular within the “English School” of international studies…the underlying conception of international society is “pluralist” rather than “solidarist.” (Donnelly, 66)