Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The sledgehammer, the rapier or the firebomb?

Spinoza at Rational Islam? today raises the issue of free speech with reference to the fire-bombing of the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Some of the cartoons can be found here - courtesy of the Pub Philosopher; I have to admit that I don't find them particularly funny and the style is one I consider horribly vulgar but that is, of course, not the issue. Meanwhile Longrider has also entered the fray at Orphans of Liberty with a well-considered post on the subject.

Here in the less intellectual environment of the Tavern, our musings have taken a more melodic turn...

To make fun of the Prophet takes men who are bold
And quite unaccustomed to fear;
The latest example is Charlie Hebdo
And its issue concerning sharia.

Of political satire and scurrilous news
The magazine's made a career
But cartoons of Mohammed and critical views
Of Islamists have now cost it dear.

On Twitter and Facebook the faithful complain
Saying editor Charb went too far;
And of course France's free speech allows them a way
To explain just why 'Je ne veux pas...'

Though Monsieur Charbonnier's not one to hide
When it comes to a verbal fracas,
It was not with debate his opponents replied
But with petrol alight in a jar.

There is always a risk when you want to make fun
Of religions that people hold dear,
But who's to decide if a cartoon or pun
Is high satire or merely a sneer?

Whoever it is who is taking a stand
There is one thing that has to be clear;
The unwritten sign of a civilized land
Is the freedom to speak without fear.

For those who were not raised on the strains of Abdul Abulbul Amir (I must get round to a post of Pa Peachum's favourites one day), the tune can be found here:

1 comment:

  1. I'm absolutely and totally offended about this unmentionable attack on our prophet peace be upon him and the virgins. Prepare for constant bombardment of comments at this site.