Cover image from the latest issue of Charlie Hedbo by Charb
The French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has reacted just as it should to the fatal nonsense over Muhammad’s depiction in a nonsense video by a Coptic kook. It has commissioned a new Muhammad cartoon and put it on its cover.
The drawing is of an elderly looking man in a wheelchair, presumably Muhammad, being pushed by an Orthodox Jewish man, under the headline “Intouchables 2” and a dialogue bubble saying “Faut pas se moquer” or “You musn’t mock.” Inside, there’s a cartoon of the prophet holding a pig’s head, and another of him assuming the prayer position naked, giving the pose sexual overtones (and, just to be sure offense is properly taken, there’s a Star of David tattooed to his butt).
Charlie Hebdo was one of the few publications to re-print the Danish cartoons a few months after they originally appeared in 2005.
As soon as the magazine hit the stands, French schools and embassies in 20 countries were shut in fear of Muslim retaliation, according to this morning’s Die Zeit.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has condemned the provocative publication, and anything else that further stirs the pot. But that, to make an analogy with another issue of recent contention, is like condemning women for wearing short skirts to a frat party. This is not about Charlie Hebdo. It’s about the mortally idiotic religionists who believe violence is the proper reaction to offense.
By common international assent, including that of the governments of most predominantly Muslim countries, rioting, vandalism and murder are not acceptable responses to any religious or philosophical outrage. And even those nations with anti-blasphemy laws must now, if they have not yet, come to terms with the nature of the Internet and its web.
Laws differ, as do mores and individual tolerances for sex, gore and mockery, and every one with a connection is now a broadcaster. This level of reaction to the way other people behave is like throwing a tantrum over men not wearing hats anymore. You can be disappointed, you can try to bring back the bowler, but you cannot start shouting and punching about it or you will be made fun of, be punched back, and possibly be put away.
I hope others follow Charlie Hebdo‘s lead.