Letters & Opinion

Je ne suis pas Charlie!

By  Earl Bousquet
By Earl Bousquet

A good friend recently posted to me a piece of a post he pulled down from somewhere on Cloud Nine. It was a long chain, posted to many persons responding to something I said on TV this past Monday night.

In response to a reporter’s question about whether I felt Press Freedom was threatened globally by the slaughter that took place in Paris at the offices of the French satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’, I roundly condemned the murder of fellow citizens by extremists also born in France and said it simply could not be justified.

That being said, I explained how my interpretation of ‘Press Freedom’ differs from the regular, pointing out that I always insist that with every ‘freedom’ must come an equal ‘responsibility’. I said I didn’t think the cartoonists and editorial decision makers at ‘Charlie Hebdo’ had a right to feel free to ‘pappyshow’ the God of any religion without any care or expectation of those offended feeling equally right to respond equally hard.

I said their office having already been attacked by the extremists back in 2006 resulting in permanent police protection being sought and assigned, those being protected to express their freedom to insult were also being stubbornly provocative in continuing to express that ‘right’ and ‘freedom’ with even more insulting force.

I argued that the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ people are of a similar breed of the equally fanatic and extremist lunatic fringe that had already attacked them before — and yet again, with such deadly force. I regarded the victims as representing an element of European and American (Western) interpretation of ‘Press Freedom’ that means you can say anything anytime about anyone and don’t have to care about how they feel or expect them to respond. You are simply expected to expect that, if you stamp on someone else’s foot, the offended person should simply see that as the offender’s way of expressing his or her right to offend you — and you are not supposed to feel the pain, far less react to it.

I argued that in my book of rules, we have to be as fervent about being responsible as about being free.

Of course, those who posted the comments sent me by my friend didn’t see or hear all I said. The only sentence that caught their eyes was: “I know of no Caribbean journalist who wants to die for Press Freedom.” I said our historical, traditional, religious, cultural and other related mores in the Caribbean are still such that we place a higher premium on life than others, especially from other distant civilizations. I said that as majority Christians, most Caribbean people so value living that we simply don’t ever want to die. I quoted Peter Tosh singing the telling Caribbean truth that: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

I said too that if those who preach hate against Muslims are to believe the things they preach to us about Islam, they should also have figured-out that people willing to die (just to go to heaven, as they claim) will not think twice if and when they felt the time had come for the long-awaited trip of their lifetime.

I suspect those posting to the clouds didn’t say so, but some had a problem with what I said. Thing is, in all the posted mail I read, none even tried to prove me wrong or right, none offered any interpretation of what I had posted, none said anything at all… The posters were only posting responses to each other like a conversation meant never to end, none adding or subtracting, none dividing or seeking to multiply either constructively or otherwise. The post just went on and on, with the same people saying the same things, on an on, over and over again, as if to outdo each other in a conversation without end.

Then on Thursday, two days after my previous article about “The day Leslie Pierre died” was published here this week, I read an online story that another veteran Caribbean media icon had died. This time it was Trinidadian journalist Raul Pantin. Raul was one of the persons detained for several days in the Trinidad & Tobago parliament building after Yasin Abu Bakr and the Jamaat al Muslimeen had taken the country over by force of arms. He lived to write a book about it in which he expressed all the regrets and admitted he’s been driven into alcoholism thereafter to drown his permanent related stresses. He admitted he never knew what he would have done if ever he met Abu Bakr. But he lived on for 27 years after and died at 71, never once feeling he should pick up a gun or a bomb to exact his revenge on Muslims or Islam.

Nobody believed in Free Press and Freedom of Speech more than Raul, who chose to live to defend those rights and freedoms responsible enough to live his life out and die in his sleep.

Raul Pantin and Leslie Pierre left forever in the middle of the worldwide effort to turn us all into what those at Charlie Hebdo represent. Between their peaceful deaths, the ingrate survivors not only repeated their insults to the Muslim Prophet Muhammed. They also said they spat on the millions of new-found supporters holding placards around the world proclaiming ‘I am Charlie!’

Not me! I want to live long to continue to do my work freely and responsibly, which is why I declare right here, for everyone to see and hear, that ‘Je ne suis pas Charlie!’

15 Comments

  1. You have fed our intellectual appetites with golden columns : This one is is a real gem too especially at this particular juncture within our global “community”. This raises the Pulitzer bar for exquisite journalistic articulation.
    It is wisely understood that rights and responsibility ( that must supersede, curtail, inhibit said right as it approaches the frontier of encroaching /impinging/violating the rights of others. The Golden Rule is embedded with the wisdom of Solomon.
    Chamberlain followed Pilates example of political expediency: Both political leaders appeased the obvious belligerency of those who violated the rights of their non violent victims (Poland and Jesus).
    Judea was UNDER Roman law (Pagan worship of many Gods). Therefore, Jesus would be comedy central at Roman supper clubs. Pilates calculated symbolic washing of hands did not free him from defending Jesus’ acknowledgement of his Godliness (he did not believe it). But as a smart Roman aristocrat who understood the value of the coliseum with its gladiator games and gory mutilations as mass entertainment to placate the savage instincts of unruly citizens; he jettison Jesus’ rights in favor of appeasing the rabid pharisees.
    I am more sympathetic to Chamberlain plight of appeasement: The Armistice was a porous document that enabled the Wehrmact to enhance and restock its arsenal to become the most modern and advanced military of the world.
    The British exchequer like its dilapidated war machine was on life support -after WW1. No one was eager for another round of large scale slaughter that had decimated millions of soldiers in WW 1.
    I buy the proposition that Chamberlain was buying time (via appeasement) in order to prepare at home and to circle the wagons (USA and allies) for the mechanized “hyenas”.
    Your comprehensive pulitzer prize article is most relevant in these precarious times-LEST WE FORGET !

  2. Earl,

    You presented a sound argument, and of course none can challenge your remarks except to make himself a fool. As I read your article, I just knew you would mention Pope Francis’ honest statement, but alas you must have written this article before this Pope said, “you insult my mother, and your answer will be a punch in the mouth”

    This Pope is simply a breath of fresh air, and he has obtained my admiration and respect. Here’s what he said in the video:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/paris-magazine-attack/pope-francis-freedom-speech-one-cannot-make-fun-faith-n286631

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  3. Earl,

    I regret to inform you that the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, David Cameron does not ascribe to your approach to FREE SPEECH and I would add you may be considered a “press passivist” by Cameron, who states Pope Francis is NOT INFALLIBLE, while stating Pontiff of Rome is wrong.

    While reading the international events this morning I came across this:

    David Cameron has suggested the Pope was wrong to say people who mocked Islam and other religions could “expect a punch”, with the PM insisting no one in a free society has the right to “wreak vengeance” on individuals who insult religion.

    Pope Francis caused controversy last week when he said “provocateurs” such as the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who mocked religion should expect a response akin to a punch – comments seen as coming close to justifying the terrorist attacks in France. But in an interview with the US channel CBS, to be broadcast today, the PM said the right to cause offence was part of a free society.

    In his interview with Face the Nation, recorded during his visit to Washington last week, Mr Cameron said: “I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone’s religion. I’m a Christian; if someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don’t have a right to wreak vengeance on them.

    “We have to accept that newspapers, magazines, can publish things that are offensive to some, as long as it’s within the law. That is what we should defend.”

  4. Earl:

    I meant to ask, should one subdue the pursuit of Truth with logical reasoning and empirical evidence, to appease the “Bliss of Ignorance” ??

    For example, I believe a parent should not expose his child to dangerous conditions that can cause harm psychologically and physically to the child. In some societies it is the crime of “Endangering the welfare of a child”, punishable with imprisonment, however according to the Christian dogma, God sent his little boy Jesus to be beaten and tortured to death by Roman Soldiers, prompting the question, “Why you did not come and get beaten-up and tortured yourself, God ? too afraid son you sent your only begotten white son? I know the answer is “A MYSTERY” none can understand, except me, that is. Would a normal parent do such an horrendous thing ? Of course NOT ! Yet God is accused of child abuse by Christians; an argument I completely reject as a fabrication – now there ! Religion and Politics.

    There are times in writing in this blog errors or omissions may happen. Would the VOICE OF SAINT LUCIA install the ability to make corrections of deletions in this new format, which is excellent except for the inability to make corrections ?

  5. SOM It is amazing coincidence that you came to mind when I ” stepped”into a very rare public situation.and your above query about logic deferring to ignorant bliss: Allow me to explain_
    I embarked on a public bus after making a purchase of ink cartridges from Staplea- just before their closing time. As I paid my fare and moved forward – I felt my shoe BARELY grazing the shoe of some person seated in the first across from the drivr. It was very cold and I wore my scarf high up to cover nostrils and mouth. I said SORRY for the really trivial brushing of shoes.
    Almost immediately, I was scolded rather harshly and LOUDLY. I turned and said but I said I am sorry. (Clearly her feet stuck out way into the center walkway. She protested loudly that I did not say sorry. I returned that I did BUT that she did not hear me.
    All her loudness was in the best rural Jamaican patois outside of The Blue Mountains. To end my further deliberations in the impromptu situation I calmly stated within her earshot one of SOM’s assertions ” We black people just don’t know how to love ourselves”.

    Oh my, did I get the middle age – quite obese- salty female on her perceived high Horse
    These are the core statements she made at the mention of her apparent black heritage:
    1- Me no Black I am white
    My people and dem is scots -Irish
    A quick generalization to Jamaica AS a plural society . Then some fantastic connection of Jamaica with following the Queen of England.
    ALL this from one whose tan complexion is darker -in the dead of winter -than the local sandy complexioned folks of Choiseul.
    I averted my gaze, sealed my mouth and thought “SOM is missing this”
    Nonetheless, as I rode on I realized she had previously engaged the driver and two other male riders in random conversation . The bus had less than a
    dozen riders. ALL black on a route that spanned Caribbean and African American neighborhoods.
    I knew I had to deescalate rapidly- what with cell phone recording abilities and a driver who could radio police intervention for any subjective disturbance.
    In my quiet retreat to the rear of the bus I thought of possible rebuttals from SOM for what that female said out loud-about her self/cultural image in her attempt to disassociate with my obvious heritage.
    Furthermore, her declaration of being white and not black was like a RIGHT to chastise -if not flog (verbally) me even after disclosing that I had said sorry -albeit muffled by my wrap around scarf. Sometimes you got to let Ignorance slide as dictated by time and place n’est pas?

  6. Dassault Mirage:

    I am happy that you got out of this incident with your life, not kidding. Many of our people who I refer to as products of white supremacy/Negroes having been afflicted with the scourge of self-hatred through the worship of dead white men are quick to kill other Africans. This psychological malady has been brought about by the after-effects of slavery and mis-education, coupled with the perpetually implied message of inferiority imparted in the message of the Caucasian God-image.

    This Caucasian image of God is the most destructive weapon against people of African ancestry. Since God is perfect, and the standard of perfection is communicated in the image of a naked Caucasian, when a person of African Ancestry internalizes this lethal poison, he is told subliminally that he is not perfect, inferior to Caucasians because the perfect one, God has pale skin, and “good hair”, while you black have bad, nappy hair and your skin is not pale like the perfect one.

    The psychological damage occurs very early in childhood. I will refer you to this video of the self-hatred implanted into the minds of our children by this evil practice of white male worship given to us during slavery, resulting in fratricide, bleaching of the skin, and plastic surgery. Somethings in this video is very disturbing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl2O6Nomdos

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  7. Dassault Mirage:

    In that video Dr. Naim Akbar addresses the typical Negro’s justification of white man worship, it’s a common practice of the Negro, and one idiot tried just that with me and I quote the Negro, “but you, on the other hand, has nothing good to say about Jesus. You have allowed the paintings of the Renaissance to form your opinion of him; you have ridiculed and belittled him, on these blogs, at every opportunity.” Did you hear what Dr. Akbar said regarding these confused Negroes ?

    If these Negroes were open to learning, and Truth they would never worship a Naked White man as their God, and in the case of Negroes like Peter Josie and a Rick John Wayne believing they are Romans, while stating the beautiful Chocolate-black woman is “uglier”.

    I can state unequivocally, the reason Stephenson King, and Richard Frederick have been treated so badly is because of these self-hating Negroes on this 238 miles squared plantation of the Pirates in Buckingham Palace. They have replaced King with the ignorant imbecile Allen Chastanet, who tells these idiots that the American Civil war was fought with England over taxes.

    It is best to avoid too much intelligent talk with such lunatics who believe the Romans killed God on Good Friday and buried him under some big stones for three days – boog fooh, mem ! they may appear normal until your engage them in substantive dialogue. After offering your apology and it was ignored, this should have raised a red flag. Take a look at what I am trying to say in this video; the woman has to be a relative of the Negress you encountered in your travel. You will hear the reason Ricky John Wayne changed his name from Carasco to Onassis.
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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHfRmrY5smw

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  8. “If these Negroes were open to learning, and Truth they would never worship a Naked White man as their God….”

    “This Caucasian image of God is the most destructive weapon against people of African ancestry.”
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    You idiot; maybe someone who reads with an open mind should inform you that Christianity was an African religion way before it became a European religion. Christianity in Africa dates back to the 1st century AD; some three centuries before Constantine made it the official religion of the white man. So to continue describing it as a ‘White Man Religion’ which was imposed upon black people is not entirely true; it only serves to highlight your ignorance. But then again your brain is so fogged up with Muhammad’s teachings, that you (through your fogged up lenses) won’t be able to decipher; for you see everything in terms of Islam vs Christianity; with Islam being the superior.
    The topic could be the Bois d’ Orange Bridge, you’ll take a swipe at Christianity.
    The topic could be VAT, you’ll take a swipe at Christianity.
    The topic could be tourism, you’ll take a swiipe at Christianity.
    The topic could be an accident along the Bexon Highway, you’ll take a swipe at Christianity, etc., etc.
    Muhammad has you just where he wants you: A faithful brainwash Jihadist..

    If you are capable of putting down the Quran for a minute, here is something else to read:
    ACT 8: 26-38 .Here it describe the baptism of an African eunuch shortly after the death of Christ. It further tells of how the eunuch returned to diffuse the Christian teachings in his native land shortly after the Resurrection and prior to the arrival of the Apostle Matthew.

    All of this happened some 1,700 years before the advent of slavery. Yes, there were Christians in Africa that long before slavery.

  9. Tom Tom – Y U let SOM mess with your head so. If you be good christian, just turn the other cheek. CALLING man idiot, and sounding like a jackass with a load of bibles.

    1. GEORGE, I have been sparring with SOM for about three years now; we have clashed on just about every subject under the sun; but whenever he crosses the line and demeans Christianity, which is very often, I do the same to his Islamic religion; just for the fun of it.
      So if I happen to offend you, a Muslim, I’d kindly ask you to stop reading my comments; skip them altogether; because you are starting to sound like a bigger jackass than me.

  10. Moi non plus, je ne suis pas Charlie!

    In order to make peace with my conflicting positions with regards to “je suis Charlie” I had to put myself in the shoes of a 7-year old and ask little self: If I were asked to choose between having my parents, grand-parents, brothers, sisters and everyone that I loved and who loved me around for as long as I lived and “freedom of speech” what would I choose?

    138 children were slaughtered in Pakistan what was their crime?

    Hundreds-young children are being rounded up in Nigeria and other African countries and burned to death, etc, etc. Who did they provoke?

    50 heads of State showed up in France. Why are they not in Nigeria or Pakistan offering their condolences?

    My freedom of speech is spelled PEACE.

    1. The numbers raised in your comments, should be a wake-up call to Black Africans on this planet. It clearly demonstrates, how the lives of people, other than Caucasians, are devalued by Negroes and Caucasians alike. When 138 babies, children, 150 Indian teachers and children were murdered while attending school, where was “je suis Charlie” ? what has happened to ‘BRING BACK OUR GIRLS” ? They have been long forgotten – they are not Charlie. Two-hundred Convent Girls abducted by a gang of criminal thugs, being raped in the name of Allah, and these hypocrites “je suis Charlie” has done nothing. I ask you, if these were Caucasian/so-called white children, would this be allowed to happen ? I will not mention the violence perpetrated by the L.R.A. Lord’s Resistance Army of Kony in Africa.

      What is even more shameful is the president of Nigeria Johnathan was the first to run to France with tears and condolences, while thousands of Black lives are taken in the Central African Republic, controlled by France. Freedom of Speech is only legitimate when it conforms to White Supremacy. In Europe persons are imprisoned if they say, the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis is exaggerated; it is called, “Denying the Holocaust”. In the USA, Black people are imprisoned for speech deemed, “Inciting to Riot” and the list is endless.

      So as usual let people capable of thinking, learn from the messages in this story. BLACK LIVES DOES NOT MATTER !1

  11. George Galloway MP has spoken out against Charlie Hebdo

    “So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.

    “These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human beings on this earth and there are limits.

    “There are limits. There limits to free speech and free expression especially in France.”

    Galloway described the newspaper’s purpose as “to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered. It is a racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag.”

    “Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo,” he declared.

  12. I agree wholeheartedly with you Earl…no need to get involved in the bullshit.
    That whole thing has been a war between the two sides for maybe since before the Crusades.
    Sooner or later this whole damned thing will get spun out of control and the further we are from the whole can of rubbish the better. And please remember they ALL, whatever religion enslaved us at one time or another.Take Sudan as a modern case study.
    AND a short comment to commentator number one Assault mirage:
    Jesus…if he ever lived….did so much good & what did he get for it?
    He got his sorry arse hung on a cross…he is still dead for all that good
    and his philosophies are made mere lip service
    So yeah me as well as you had better stay far from all that rot.

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