Yesterday we all agreed in condemning the horrific attack to Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, which killed the editor of the magazine, nine of its cartoonists and journalists and two policemen. Immediately all the social media channels raise on solidarity with the journalists, expressing with creativity their rejection to the massacre and standing for freedom of expression.
Media, international organisations and political leaders also rendered homage to the French magazine, its editors and cartoonists. Thousands of people filled the streets raising their pens with anger, sadness and indignation. Everybody was right. We reacted without detailed analysis, without deep reflection, because it was not necessary. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and has to be defended, together with all human rights, to ensure that the world we live in could one day be peaceful and free.
Today, we should all agree in condemning the wave of xenophobia and hate speech that followed the attack. We live in a complex world. That’s something we should all know at this stage. It is dangerous to generalize and to assimilate, as it is dangerous to simplify complex issues like terrorism or religious. Yesterday’s attack is completely unjustifiable not because it was carried out by religious fanatics but because freedom of speech and the life of innocent people are precious.
Image by @iGaddo
Today it is important to remember that in the Middle East there are also artists and journalists who suffer censorship and threats, and who are in danger to do their job. Today is even more important to remember that most victims of Muslim fanaticism are Muslim. We should remember that the same day when 12 innocent people were murdered in Paris, more than 30 innocent people lost their lives in Yemen due a terrorist attack too. And at the same time FBI is investigating in Colorado Springs a possible domestic terrorist attack against colored people. All these lives have the same value but not the same media coverage. Most of the media covering the Charlie Hebdo attack didn’t even mention that one of the policemen killed by the assailants was a Muslim.
Today we should remember that extreme right wings political parties are rising dangerously in Europe. In several countries they have been able to influence media narrative on citizenship and on EU itself. They were able to affect national policies and to hinder the process of inclusion for new citizens’ (immigrants) and marginalized citizens (Roma). Extreme right wing groups are a threat for peace in Europe, where peace is not only absence of conflict but the condition where citizens’ are equally endowed of rights, as alerts the SCI project Citizens beyond Walls.
We cannot ignore either Antonio Samarás’ comment (Greek Prime Minister) saying “There has been a slaughter in Paris and some people here [in reference to Syriza, the left-wing political party] is inviting more illegal immigrants”. A comment which is clearly promoting hate speech.
In France, while every institution is dressing mourning, the leader of France’s right-wing Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen, has announced she would hold a referendum to reintroduce the death penalty if she wins France’s 2017 presidential election.
We should keep in mind too that just the same day in Spain, The National Court was accusing and citing Facu Diaz, the screenwriter and director of Tuerka News (a satirical TV program) of a possible crime of humiliation for victims of terrorism because of this video where PP – the ruling party – is equated with ETA and criticized for its corruption.
And just few days before, the Article 135 of the Spanish constitution was changed of the overnight and without consulting the people. Angela Merkel should be satisfied (as pointed by negratinta) because from now on and by law, the Spanish state has to precede payment of the debt to the social, educational, health investment. I don’t see freedom of speech being defended here.
Wouldn’t hurt either to remember the lies of the western Governments, the hypocrisy of our institutions, the invasion of Iraq and other atrocities. Today is important to remember that hate speech, racism and xenophobia can also kill.