I’m not French. I don’t live in France. I’m German and live in Thailand. According to lots of my colleagues here I am ‘not affected by the incident in France’. While it is true that I didn’t had to suffer I believe we all are affected by the terrible massacre that took place in France and that left 12 people dead.
Luckily newspapers in Germany thought the same:
It affects all of us because Freedom Of Speech has been attacked. Those terrorists tried to send a message. “Do something that we don’t like and we’ll kill you.” – This, obviously, can not happen. We, as a civilization, can not let idiots dictate what we say & express.
This does not mean that I agree with any cartoon that Charlie Hebdo published – but they had the right to do so. They probably even put lots of thoughts and work into it. After all cartoonists are there to exaggerate and make us think. That’s what they, and lots of other cartoonists did and will continue doing.
I just read an article by Jeff Jarvis in which he explains that ‘Freedom Of Speech’ is not an “American thing”. I agree. Here in Southeast Asia I also quite often hear the argument that ‘people aren’t ready for freedom of expression’ and that ‘they need to be told what to do’. In fact lots of countries here don’t value Freedom of Expression of their citizens and jail people for expressing their opinions openly.
What happened in France however was completely different. The cartoonists did not break any law. They simply said something that the terrorists didn’t want to hear. So they’ve been killed.
I’m puzzled not only by the fact that this massacre happened but also by the short sightedness of those terrorists. That’s similar to what I thought about the Sydney Siege a few weeks back. It does not make any sense on the long run. Do you, the terrorists, really think the world will watch such a massacre and then say ‘oh ok, they killed some of us so we better stop with the cartoons or critical articles’? That is, obviously, not what is going to happen.
Due to the attack more people than ever will read such critical satire cartoons. You, terrorists, helped to give satire magazines and cartoons a bigger voice now. The people will not stand back and let someone take their Freedom of Speech away. In order to come back to what I stated above: Freedom Of Speech is nothing that can be controlled or that can be attributed to a single country. Freedom Of Speech is something completely natural and something that everybody is entitled to. And there is no force, as brutal as it may be, that can take that away from us.