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Is Tolerance a One-Way Street?

Is Tolerance a One-Way Street?

Date Published: 
Monday, 16 January, 2017
Summary: 
  • When just about every other magazine in the free world fails to uphold the values of free speech and the right to caricature and offend, who could expect a group of cartoonists and writers who have already paid such a high price to keep holding the line of such freedoms single-handed?

  • Most of the people who said they cared about the right to say what they wanted when they wanted, were willing to walk the walk -- to walk through Paris with a pencil in the air. Or they were willing to talk the talk, proclaiming "Je Suis Charlie." But almost no one really meant it.

  • If President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel had really believed in standing up for freedom of expression, then instead of walking arm-in-arm through Paris together with such an inappropriate figure as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, they would have held up covers of Charlie Hebdo and said: "This is what a free society looks like and this is what we back: everyone, political leaders, gods, prophets, the lot can be satirised, and if you do not like it then you should hop off to whatever unenlightened hell-hole you dream of."

  • The entire world press has internalised what happened at Charlie Hebdo and instead of standing united, has decided never to risk something like that ever happening to them again.

  • For the last two years, we have learned for certain that any such tolerance is a one-way street. This new submission to Islamist terrorism is possibly why, in 2016, when an athlete with no involvement in politics, religion or satire was caught doing something that might have been seen as less than fully respectful of Islam, there was no one around to defend him.