The relapse of my cold came the same day as the news of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and it probably doesn’t help that Eric & I are circulating winter sickness back and forth in our marital bed in our room that the heat never quite adequately reaches. And window insulation, it does so much.
I consider myself for the most part to be staunchly on the Left, politically. And it’s disturbed me a bit to see some of my online friends who identify as progressive try and shame those of us who have taken up #jesuischarlie (or even #jesuisahmed) as a slogan, saying free speech is not important, that censorship is acceptable, that the victims brought it on themselves. Things you would more stereotypically think of as views held by…well.reactionaries. It’s interesting that some of these people have admired cartoonists who have taken satirical jabs at Jesus or Christianity (as Charlie Hebdo also had a long standing tradition of doing.)
I see artist friends of mine who are Muslim also express solidarity with Charlie, condemn the killings, condemn religious extremism in general. I know being artistic and subversive has caused some of these artists to run afoul of fundamentalists in other parts of the world.
I myself belong to a spiritual order in which we believe in the right to write, draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, & build as one will. But it would be equally absurd for me to fall back on that as a reason all should support those principles, because “it’s in what I believe.” Sure beats killing each other or living like ticking time bombs unable to express anything though.
Sometimes you just need to take some steps back from this funhouse mirror of society known as the internet…while simultaneously being Charlie and sending an editor that pro-Palestinian artwork they requested. Because hey…that beats trying to make your personal ethics tow whatever line someone else is declaring they should be.