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“Je suis Charlie” Dies A Quick Death.

(image courtesy the New Yorker magazine.)

(image courtesy the New Yorker magazine.)

Well, that didn’t take long. After the groundswell of support for the writers and artists at Charlie Hebdo last week, things have returned to “normal.”

Two men entered the French satirical magazine offices killing twelve people (including two police officers) as well as wounding eleven others. The attacks were in response to cartoons that the magazine had run which “offended” the two men.

The vast majority of the world stood up and said “we aren’t going to accept this. We aren’t going to allow the expression of ideas and words to be suppressed.”

It was a “feel good” moment which quickly died on the vine.

PARIS France ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism, announcing Wednesday that 54 people had been arrested for those offenses since terror attacks left 20 dead in Paris last week, including three gunmen.

The order came as Charlie Hebdo’s defiant new issue sold out before dawn around Paris, with scuffles at kiosks over dwindling copies of the satirical newspaper that fronted the Prophet Muhammad anew on its cover.

France has been tightening security and searching for accomplices since the terror attacks began, but none of the 54 people have been linked to the attacks. That’s raising questions about whether President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government is impinging on the very freedom of speech that it so vigorously defends when it comes to Charlie Hebdo.

In its message to prosecutors and judges, the ministry said it was issuing the order to protect freedom of expression from comments that could incite violence or hatred. It said no one should be allowed to use their religion to justify hate speech.

We are certainly against the spreading of terroristic messages, but we also realize that in the name of “terrorism” and “hate speech,” ideas can and do get caught in the backlash. For example, a person saying that homosexuality is wrong based on their religious beliefs would fall under “hate speech.” A statement such as “Jesus was the Son of God and Mohammed was a false prophet” would be considered “hate speech” simply because someone is “offended.”

We even wonder about the wisdom of banning talk of Hitler and the Nazis as many European countries have done. While some morons have taken to saying things like “Hitler was right” or “the Holocaust never happened,” instead of banning or prohibiting such ridiculous ideas, a better way is to allow the speech and expose the morons for what they are.

The idea that people should be arrested for “offending” someone is ridiculous and France is not the only place where it is taking place:

A former UK Independence Party candidate faced jail today for emailing racist slurs to a mosque and posting a photograph of a pig’s head on Facebook.

Ex-Marine Ian Couch, 54, sent the offensive messages in a drunken rage after becoming angry at TV reports of the beheading of journalist James Foley by ISIS militants.

Couch, a former counter terrorism operative, also posted racial slurs on Facebook alongside a picture of a pig’s head he kept in his fridge.

Police seized the head when they raided his home in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, and Couch claimed he had bought it for his dogs.

The court heard Couch made anti-Muslim comments such as ‘your religion is a disgrace’, ‘how many heads do you have as a trophy’ and ‘the sooner we destroy Islam the better’.

And among his posts on Facebook was one that said: ‘Isn’t it funny that they can cut off women and children’s heads but can’t touch a pig’s?’

Couch also sent an email in a drunken rage to a mosque. While we don’t advocate drinking and typing it is never a good idea to do so. If Couch’s email contained a threat, we could understand his prosecution. Maybe. Instead, Couch was convicted because his email was “offensive.”

However, lead magistrate Marisa Johnson rejected any freedom of expression defence and slammed Couch for attempting to defend the “indefensible”.

She said: “We find the email was offensive – we are offended by it and it had the intention of causing offence and distress to the people who received it.

“You are in a very serious situation, particularly at these volatile and serious times.

“We consider it a hate crime and are looking at a custodial sentence with a six-week starting point.

“We can’t tolerate this kind of behaviour from anyone which is likely to make matters worse for people in the community.”

Couch was convicted because the email was “offensive.”

This means that while most of the world condemned the attacks on the offices of a magazine for publishing what was “offensive” to some, the English government decided not to kill someone, but instead strip them of their freedom by throwing them in jail. While the “punishements” / outcomes are different, the rational on which the outcomes are based is the same – someone was “offended.”

After less than a week, “Je suis Charlie” the myth of “Je suis Charlie” is dead and gone.

NOTE: We have seen sarcastic comments by people concerning the cartoon at the top of the post saying the cartoon was racist because most of the image was white. Commenters were therefore “offended.”



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