On the 7th January 2015, a fatal and tragic attack took place in the Paris offices of magazine Charlie Hebdo. The extremely sad loss of life must never deter us from personal or media freedom of speech.
by John Pope on January 8, 2015
This is a website about food, it contains to date not a single article that is not in some major way food or drink related, there has never been cause to write one until today.
We rarely concern ourselves with politics, nationalism, religion, or such other matters that seem, completely nonsensically, to be able to inspire extremism, fanaticism and barbarity. We have, at least to my knowledge, not really offended anyone in a major way.
Yes, we take the piss out of vegans from time to time, and it’s true that some of them can be quite militant. We have also been a bit scathing about both Jamie Oliver and Gillian McKeith but I really doubt either of them care.
The fact that we have not to this date offered an opinion on anything contentious does not mean that we should not be able to. We reserve the right to level criticism at, poke fun at, be sarcastic about, and to express our opinions on and towards any individual, group, faith or political entity.
Charlie Hebdo is a controversial publication, and there are many who will decry the content that it produces as racist and ugly. Charlie is far from faultless and at times does seem to go a little far and become hateful, but much of the time what they publish is actually misunderstood by many commentators. Charlie Hebdo often produces dual level satire that it is very easy to miss without a good understanding of the French political situation, as brilliantly explained in a Vox article by Max Fisher.
Regardless of what you think of the views that they express, the staff at Charlie Hebdo and similar publications deserve massive respect for continuing to express themselves and offer their opinions and humour in the face of idiocy and intolerance. It is devastatingly sad that some of these people have now lost their lives standing up for their and our freedom of speech and thought.
We all have certain inalienable rights, the right to freedom of belief and of thought, and the ability to express those beliefs and thoughts is key amongst them. Anybody who tries to take those away through whatever means, including intimidation and terrorism, is in my humble opinion the worst kind of person imaginable.
These rights and freedoms can not and must not be eroded, we can not and must not allow the actions of any kind of extremist to intimidate us as public or our media into changing the way that we live our lives, or the way that we report, comment and satirise. (Hello Sony)
If you are not mentally capable of understanding that others may have a different opinion to yourself, or of understanding humour, of being tolerant, then I pity you and suggest that you avoid all forms of media except those strictly censored and sanctioned by the leaders of whatever idiocy it is that you blindly follow.