Charlie Hebdo, some thoughts

Charlie Hebdo, some thoughts

                             I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the massacre at Charlie Hebdo ever since I heard about it.  One piece of clarity is that this incident is not about radical muslims so much as this is about Fundamentalist of any stripe, religious or political or any other ism.  Whether  this is Radical Settlers in Israel or Abortion Clinic Bombers, Anarchists who bomb with explosives rather than bomb with words , Abu Ghraib or Gitmo or any Colonialism, be it us or England or France or or or.

Recently I’ve been reading, a chapter a night, because alles Bob is more than omnes tres partes, The Betrayal of Liliuokalani, last Queen of Hawaii by Helena G. AllenWilliam McKinley was President when Hawaii was taken over in a coup. Just another example of colonialism with a capitol C.   Yes, parenthetically, we enjoyed being in Honolulu and Waikiki because we did not need a passport or to learn another language. Would we have traveled so easily to another country in this day and rage?

Charlie Hebdo can be compared to Larry Flynt and Hustler i. e. “I defend to the death your right to publish as long as I don’t have to read it.”. 

                                             This was not even a Gavrilo Princip who, actually, succeeded in what he wanted.  These were not French Resistance fighters though, and this is very important, in their shattered mind’s eyes, they felt they were doing the Lord’s work.  “With God, or Allah, or Jesus, or Marx on your side.”  To too many persons freedom of speech includes freedom to bomb and kill, as this is the preferred method to express themselves, Unlike Ted Kaczynski or Charlie Manson to name two more literate non-Muslim extremists, there are people who cannot verbalize , or write, or paint, their anguish so they can only reflect it by violence.  What if they had organized a boycott of Charlie Hebdo, pressured newsstands (if such still exist) not to carry it, organized mass rallies and marches, rallies and marches….. No, to use a phrase I’ve heard “that would of been too much like right”

                                                  I don’t claim to understand someone who does these actions not because I do not have firmly held beliefs but because I do not believe that I have the right to claim another person’s life because their views, are, obviously, inferior to mine.  I would rather bomb them with words, shoot them with articles, hurt them with boycotts……When I take a breath from all this self-righteousness I might even want to have a discussion, ala Democracy Unplugged, where we sit and listen to each other, with respect and vigorous, but non-violent, disagreement.

   I suppose this is a personifesto on all of this and I suppose it’s not saying one single thing that others are not saying, some more coherently, some less, some more vitriolic, a few less, some with the fire and fury of youth and some, like me, a rather elderly  whippersnapper. I suppose Charlie Hebdo will retreat from the 24 hour news cycle as other more recent more important-but it should not. We should remember what Barry Goldwater said “Extremism in the defence of Liberty is no vice”  Then do the opposite. 


About bobsmall1

Bob Small has read at Bacchanal, Barnes and Noble, Borders, The Booksource (Swarthmore), The Clark Park Festivals,Community College of Philadelphia Highwire Gallery, The Mad Poets Annual Food Fest Reading, The Middle East Restaurant, Nexus GalleryThe Painted Bride Arts Center, The Philadelphia Ethical Society, Robin's Bookstore The University of Pennsylvania and also in New York City, Trenton, NJ, Washington, DC, and in many Delaware Valley Venues. He is the author of numerous chapbooks, including El Otro Lado (with Maralyn Lois Polak), On watching America Die, Small Steps and Toes (with Lamont B. Steptoe), and The Unapoet. This is his first Reading in over a year. Bob Small was Founder and President of the two decades old Poets and Prophets, which presented Poetry Readings in both Delaware County and Philadelphia. Bob was the Chair of The Delaware County Green Party and was the First Green Party Candidate in Delaware County (2005). He was also a Green Party National Delegate, among other duties. He is the Founder and Facilitator of The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PaBac), which is a Coalition of both Independents and Third Parties., seeking to legislatively improve Pennsylvania's Ballot Access Laws. (Facebook) Bob is also a founding member and Facilitator of Democracy Unplugged, and Delco Debates, which has presented Independent and Third Party Forums in Delaware County since 2004. Facebook) He was formerly involved with Cinema Resistance, and Delco Pledge of Resistance. Bob currently lives in Swarthmore with his wife and their menagerie of animals. He is currently focused on writing a Novel and organizing his Poetry, which he posts on his Blog (Bob Small1). He is retired from most of the above activities, except Delco Debates and Poets and Prophets, which he may return to.
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1 Response to Charlie Hebdo, some thoughts

  1. Don Kennedy says:

    Bob, you put it very well. Thanks. – Don

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