Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reading the debate over Charlie Hebdo

The ongoing debate if Charlie Hebdo is racist seems endless, though it is interesting to read those arguments. I think questioning who are exploiting this situation is more important.

I had been watching the live coverage of the "unity march" in Paris on Al Jazeera English website. I believed most of the people attending were sincere. At the same time, some world and public leaders appeared to be trying to exploit the situation (It was almost surrealistic that Netanyahu and Abbas were marching together). but, because the people there were so diverse and they appeared not to care about someone's agenda, I thought only time would tell if anyone could really control as they wished. Even though there were already many concerns, it was strangely moving. 

It appears that the incident has already started affecting the people's everyday life and perception. And the French government is so quick to decide to deploy the army to Iraq, is strengthening surveillance, and is busy arresting "those who are not Charlie."

Well, I actually don't know how things are going on there, since I'm in Tokyo. Here I can learn different views on identity, religion, freedom of speech, political correctness, etc. So, I don't suggest the debate should be stopped. At this moment I don't have even a copy of the magazine, so I don't judge.

Just additionally. Even if it is true that Charlie Hebdo, an atheist magazine, is criticizing all the institutional religions equally with good intentions, as the magazine and its supporters claim, nowadays many forms of atheism, especially vulgar ones like this, don't function as "intended." The same holds true for Richard Dawkins and his allies. I actually prefer some subtler atheist thinkers to those vulgar ones. When an incident like this happens, all the subtleties get lost.