Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, what does it mean? Let’s be real here, we do not have complete freedom of speech and less liberty where freedom of expression is concerned. Anything that crosses into Hate Speech is illegal. So too is shooting a bunch of people, but that could be argued to be a form of expression, an expression of anger, it doesn’t make it right. I do not condone the attacks on the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, but at the same time I don’t condone lambasting people’s religious beliefs through satirical cartoon. Why such images disturb me is because it is reminiscent of the same caricatures used to depict Jewish people in Nazi Germany leading up to the Second World War. If such images were not right then they are not right now. To me, this crosses into Hate Speech. This is just my opinion but I think it is wrong to set out to intentionally offend people. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Political Correctness either, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. As a writer, I approach my writing without fear of reprisal, or of offending people, but at the same time there are things I will not write. I believe part of a writer’s job is to say the unsaid, so I will say this in closing. If you are going to go around punching tigers in the face don’t be surprised if they tear you to pieces and bite your face off. The only way to conquer Hate is through Love, aggression only fuels further aggression and all we are doing is breeding the next generation of extremist.
T J Therien