‘J’ai etait Charlie’ when the barbarians tried to silence it.
Not because I agreed with everything that was published there but because I believe that it’s unacceptable to try to kill somebody – unless that somebody tries to murder you, of course.
Having said that I must confess that I find it harder and harder to understand what’s going on in Charlie’s mind.
“Charlie doit être là où les autres n’osent pas aller. Pour cette couverture, je voulais dépasser telle ou telle religion et toucher à des choses plus fondamentales. (…) En affirmant les choses clairement, ça fait réfléchir. Il faut bousculer un peu les gens, sinon ils restent sur leurs rails”
(Charlie must go where others do not dare to. For that I’m willing to leave behind specific religious ideas and reach deeper levels. … By speaking frankly (about a subject) one can convince the others to take the matter into consideration. Sometime you need to jolt people (outside their comfort zone) otherwise they’ll stay put on their tracks).
OK, I can agree with that. Even if I think that some of the ‘jolts’ are distasteful, to say the least, the principle is correct.
But there is a small problem here. If the jolt is too powerful the target will not get just outside its comfort zone – and into the ‘thinking mode’ – but directly into a full-fledged rage. A state of mind which rejects reason and sends the brain into a frenzy, looking for arguments with which to annihilate the original message.
This, for instance, might be considered rude but it’s impersonal enough to prod some individuals into considering whether following blindly into someone’s steps – just because that someone pretends to have God’s blessing – might be a wise thing to do.
In fact this message works precisely because it offers food for thought. Each of the viewers might interpret it according to their own ‘Weltanschauung’ but the ultimate responsibility for the interpretation lies with the viewer, not with the cartoonist.
This is why I can’t agree with the cartoon about Aylan.
There is no option there. The message is clear. Aylan would have grown up to be a sex-molester, no doubt about that – at least in the eyes of the cartoonist.
And this just isn’t fair.
Because killing hope is a lot worse than actual murder.
Yes, we need to take great care about how we help the migrants to find a place among us. No doubt about that.
The point being that corralling them into a ghetto won’t solve anything. On the contrary.
“When it comes to assimilating new arrivals, Europe could learn a thing or two from America, which has a better record in this regard. It is not “culturally imperialist” to teach migrants that they must respect both the law and local norms such as tolerance and sexual equality. And it is essential to make it as easy as possible for them to work. This serves an economic purpose: young foreign workers more than pay their way and can help solve the problem of an ageing Europe. It also serves a cultural one: immigrants who work assimilate far more quickly than those who are forced to sit around in ghettos. In the long run most children of migrants will adopt core European values, but the short run matters too.” (The Economist, Migrant Men and European Women, Jan 16th, 2016)