Being Charlie 6

Charlie Hebdo SolidarityLots of politicians and civilians from many European countries and outside its bordering did not like the humour of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and found it too offensive. Most of the people would not actually have engaging in the sort of deliberately offensive humour that that newspaper specializes in. They would not buy nor read it. Some of its writings where considered oof the sort non-grown ups would create. “Épater la bourgeoisie,” sticking a finger in the eye of authority, ridiculing other people’s religious beliefs, it where the things which were allowed to be printed and to be sold, because our Western society believes in the freedom of speech and the freedom of consumerism. Those who did not want to know about Charlie Hebdo did not have to buy or not have to support it. Everybody was also always kept free to react with words to the publications of that magazine. Those who did not like the insulting language knew better, but knew also the harmlessness of such words and drawings which only captured and reached a few.

With the attack last Wednesday and the days afterwards those Muslim fundamentalists showed that our they do not understand that our society values arguments and counter-arguments. We are convinced that the freedom of speech is important and that provocateurs and those who glibly his are figures who also serve useful public roles. Provocateurs and ridiculers expose the stupidity of those who have a thick neck, think more of themselves and of those who might have ideas which are not so smart as they would like to think. Such reactionary minds are also good in laying open the weaknesses of our society and bringing the fundamentalists in the open.

To keep a free society it is important to allow the multiple viewpoints to exist next to each other, having pro’s and con’s have their say or their gall. Those who are firm in their ideas and beliefs, they are worth to be heard and who are having a good standpoint, should not be afraid of what they are saying and of how others react on it. In case writers, criticcasters, satirists, expose those who are incapable of laughing at themselves, those who do not like it, should better proof they have it on the right end, not by violence which gives the impression they are like young kids who can not defend themselves and start screaming and kicking.

It is not bad, we want to maintain standards of civility and respect, while at the same time allowing room for those creative and challenging folks ,who are uninhibited by good manners and taste. By allowing those who do not seem to have a more respectful way of expressing themselves, we can show that we are the once who have the freedom and want to give others freedom. But naturally we too should have to draw a line somewhere. That is why so many had to come on the streets and have to react openly, to show the world that such sort of violence, which is permitted by some fundamentalist religious people, can not be tolerated in a civilised society. All who would like to come to live and work in Europe, should come to understand that every person may have the right to come living here, when they shall not become parasites of our society, shall not oblige others to take over their ideas, but shall allow the other citizens the right to have their own opinions, their own religion and their own say.

Those who prefer another way of living than the majority wants in these regions should know that they are not bounded to stay here. Everybody is free to live in these regions or to leave our countries. Those wanting to stay in our regions should know that the majority has certain desires which should be respected by the minority, whilst they also have to show respect for the minority. It works both ways. Living in a free world shall have different opinions standing opposite each other and shall create different minds handling the situations very deffernetly, with the possibility to have on its way satirists and ridiculers exposing the weakness and vanity of all the groups involved in our society. Charlie Hebdo was such a mouthpiece. They punctured the self-puffery of the successful. They levelled social inequality by bringing the mighty low. It can be said:

When they are effective they help us address our foibles communally, since laughter is one of the ultimate bonding experiences.

In thinking about provocateurs and insulters, we want to maintain standards of civility and respect while at the same time allowing room for those creative and challenging folks who are uninhibited by good manners and taste. David Brooks warns that if we would like to try to pull off this delicate balance with law, speech codes and banned speakers, we’ll end up with crude censorship and a strangled conversation. It’s almost always wrong to try to suppress speech, erect speech codes and disinvite speakers.

Healthy societies, in other words, don’t suppress speech, but they do grant different standing to different sorts of people. Wise and considerate scholars are heard with high respect. Satirists are heard with bemused semirespect. Racists and anti-Semites are heard through a filter of opprobrium and disrespect. People who want to be heard attentively have to earn it through their conduct.

The massacre at Charlie Hebdo should be an occasion to end speech codes. And it should remind us to be legally tolerant toward offensive voices, even as we are socially discriminating.

When taken by emotion, like with these attacks in France we should be careful not to judge others reactions as cowardly, like Marc Cooper, a journalism professor at University of Southern California at Annenberg, had called not running the pictures by the New York Times “absolute cowardice”.

In this world of social media executive editor of The New York Times Dean Baquet  fired back and shamefully also used bad words, lowering himself to a degree.

M Cooper's question to NYT conc Charlie HebdoUSC professor Marc Cooper said also:

These MSM managers act is if they are running insurance companies, not news organizations.”

Cooper may forget that even when he thinks there is no good reason to not publish the pictures and may find Baquet’s argument underwhelming, he should remember that every editor should have the freedom to balance their ideas of editing choice. When Cooper considers that he  know that his 4,000 followers on puts him de facto in a position of arrogance vis a vis the humble editor of the paper of record, this gives us an idea how to measure the quality and position of that professor.

“Understand you disagree,”

Baquet quipped and all living in the West should go for the possibility to treat a matter differently.

“But there was a thoughtful discussion to be had. Next time I promise we will have it. But I bristle at arguments like those of fauchier who think it was a question of courage. It was not.

he continues before thanking for the chance to exorcise his demons now.

The New York Times later issued its own comment.

“Dean responded passionately to an arrogant comment that seemed intended to provoke,”

said a representative.

“In the end, these are very difficult decisions and Dean made this one with great care, understanding that there would be people who disagreed – many of them reasonable and civil, some less so.”

Also some New York Times readers disagreed with their newspaper’s way of handling the attack coverage.

Evan Levine of New York City wrote:

“I just wanted to register my extreme disappointment at what can only be described as a dereliction of leadership and responsibility by the New York Times in deciding not to publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons after today’s massacre.”

And he was not the only one who expressed his dissatisfaction.

Jeff Jarvis of City University of New York wrote:

“If you’re the paper of record, if you’re the highest exemplar of American journalism, if you expect others to stand by your journalists when they are threatened, if you respect your audience to make up its own mind, then dammit stand by Charlie Hebdo and inform your public. Run the cartoons.”

Though many have presented the cartoon where it all started and where it was all about this Wednesday, the executive editor, Martin Baron, told the Post’s media reporter Paul Farhi that the paper doesn’t publish material

“that is pointedly, deliberately, or needlessly offensive to members of religious groups.”

Several American news organizations have been reluctant to publish any of the Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons lest they give offence. Associated Press even cropped the image photo of Charbonnier holding the newspaper — taken several months after the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s offices in 2011, leaving only Charbonnier’s face and the publication’s flag visible, because the rest was considered controversial.

A second photo of the editor, showing his face and the full cartoon image, has been scrubbed from the AP’s archives. It was taken by a French service, SIPA, a partner agency that feeds images to the AP for distribution to its clients around the world. CNN, the New York Daily News and Britain’s Telegraph, among others, carried the second photo but blurred the depiction of Muhammad in the cartoon.

“We’ve taken the view that we don’t want to publish hate speech or spectacles that offend, provoke or intimidate, or anything that desecrates religious symbols or angers people along religious or ethnic lines,”

said Santiago Lyon, a vice president of the AP and its director of photography.

“We don’t feel that’s useful.”

The public should know that news organizations regularly edit images they deem too harsh or offensive, despite their newsworthiness, such as accident scenes, war casualties or nude photos. Every newspaper, magazine, editor or television station should direct itself to a certain public and should come to know what their public would allow, like or not like. They also should investigate the relevance of the extra value  stills or moving pictures can give. It is much easier to go on the cheap tour getting more public by shocking or bringing spectacular pictures or details where some may be interested in, just to indulge themselves in the terror of others. In case it would not give anything extra is it not better to leave it out instead of shocking? Few news outlets, for example, published grisly images of the beheadings of Americans held by Islamic State militants, or the hacked nude photos of Hollywood celebrities, though video and photos of both circulated on the Internet. Those who really want to see such pictures  can find them so let them look for them if they want. But each editor should have the own freedom to chose either to show something or to leave it be written in words or to leave it unspoken.

In case a newspaper, radio or television channel their managing editors for standards do find it not appropriate to show something for whatever matter, like this paper doesn’t publish material “deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities” we should respect that choice.

That is a matter of freedom of press as well.


Preceding articles:

Being Charlie 2

Being Charlie 3

Being Charlie 4

Being Charlie 5


Tracking the Aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo Attack

News organizations wrestle with whether to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons after attack

New York Times editor in fiery Facebook attack on critic of Charlie Hebdo stance

I Am Not Charlie Hebdo

Journalism Professor Confronts New York Times Editor About Decision Not to Publish Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

A Close Call on Publication of Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’


  • J’accuse Charlie (
    The pages of Charlie Hebdo have been filled throughout the years with anti-Islam images. The images are so offensive that this site cannot reproduce them to show as examples. Yet, the French government granted them full ‘freedom’ to continue with their hateful publishing agenda.
    A menacing letter mailed to Haaretz shows that it’s not only Islamic extremists who seek to blunt press freedom with violence.+

    Why I am not Charlie
    That one of those murdered happened to be a Jewish ‘cartoonist’ gave call to the zionists to pull their anti-Semite card and raise the false flag to the top of the pole as can be seen Here: #JeSuisJuif Hashtag Spreads After Paris Terror

    France is going to give Charlie Hebdo a million Euros to "support free speech" for a magazine that was on the verge of failure because nobody bought it, offended Christians and Jews, but fired one of their writers for anti-Semitism! Image by Latuff

  • Charlie Hebdo: Not exactly a model of freedom of speech (
  • Charlie Hebdo: Not exactly a model of freedom of speech (
    Diana Johnstone wrote the following yesterday concluding her extended report from Paris:
    Charlie Hebdo was not in reality a model of freedom of speech.  It has ended up, like so much of the “human rights left”, defending U.S.-led wars against “dictators”.
    Charlie Hebdo was an extreme example of what is wrong with the “politically correct” line of the current French left.The irony is that the murderous attack by the apparently Islamist killers has suddenly sanctified this fading expression of extended adolescent revolt, which was losing its popular appeal, into the eternal banner of a Free Press and Liberty of Expression.
  • Free speech must be upheld, even when it is provocative (
    Freedom of speech is at the forefront of global debate after the tragedy of the slain cartoonists, editors, police, workers and others at the office of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. Another gunman related to the Charlie Hebdo attack took hostages at a Kosher supermarket due to his professed anti-Semitism. That hostage situation also ended with the loss of lives. There can be no qualifications in the condemnation of this kind of assault on freedom of expression. The cartoonists put their lives on the line for over a decade to put substance to the freedom to criticize and offend, the lifeblood of a free society.
  • French Jews on edge after 4 killed in Paris siege (
    “We have warned that the menace of rising anti-Semitism threatens French society at large,” Simone Rodan-Benazquen, director of the Paris office of the American Jewish Committee, said. “The Charlie Hebdo massacre makes clear that the war against France’s democratic values is in high gear.”
  • Experts: France Attack Part of Cultural Disconnect (
    The attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday was not the first such clash between the European media and militant Islamists.
  • Ominous Sign! Netanyahu In France, Calls On All Jews In Europe to Flock to Israel! [VIDEO] (
    “To all the Jews of France, all the Jews of Europe, I would like to say that Israel is not just the place in whose direction you pray, the state of Israel is your home,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a televised statement.
  • Netanyahu to French Jews: ‘Come home to Israel from terrible European anti-Semitism’ (
    Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has invited Jews from France and the rest of Europe to immigrate to the state of Israel, referring to what he sees as a “rising tide of anti-Semitism” there. The statement comes in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
  • Muslims in Saskatchewan condemn attacks in France (
    Muslims in Saskatchewan are speaking out against the attacks in Paris, France.The Islamic Association of Saskatchewan said it is outraged and absolutely condemns the senseless murders of the journalists at Charlie-Hebdo.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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