Beneath the worldwide outrage of the massacre of staff at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, is an unspoken truth rarely spoken in the bourgeois circles of mass media and the centrist establishment: that all religions are by their very nature repressive and based on fear and ignorance. For decades tolerance of religions has been fatally conflated with respect for equality and ethnicity. It’s time now to say loud and clear that they have no connection and that in the evolution of humankind the most reactionary force we have all had to contend with over centuries is religion – all religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc – whether in the Middle East, in India, in Northern Ireland, or anywhere where barbarism has shown itself.
And to those who say not every religion is reactionary, we say: to justify one religion is to justify all and to differing degrees they have one thing in common – an absurdity that insults our common intelligence.
And so we dedicate this article to those courageous staff at Charlie Hebdo – a magazine that is unequivocally secular, anti-racist, anti-establishment and the epitome of irreverence. In solidarity we also include a copy – above – of one of Charlie Hebdo’s front pages.
Meanwhile all around the world there have been huge demonstrations by people appalled by this barbaric act – in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Berlin, Rome, London, New York, Montreal, and many, many other cities.
Clearly, the best way to show respect for those at Charlie who lost their lives (see photo below) in the cause of truth is by continuing to use the one weapon that fanatics fear the most – ridicule. Ridicule not just of religion but of all those in power, whatever their political badge, who seek to maintain their dominance over the poor and dispossessed.
Je suis Charlie
I am Charlie.
We are all Charlie.
See also article by Nick Cohen on the hypocrisy of bourgeois thought.