jeudi, février 02, 2006


Today, one of the emails in my inbox contained a moderately funny clip about Jesus. Yep. Jesus Christ, the great Jesus Christ (prove to me that you're divine change my water into wine). It was a caricature of Christ with some weirdo dressed up as Jesus singing Gloria Gaynor's famous "I Will Survive" while dancing through the streets of Hollywood dressed solely in his loincloth and a crown of thorns - until he gets run over by a passing coach. Not exaggeratedly funny. But I can see the humour and the gayish Jeezus was quite sweet. That's all.

Now the fact that the particular attachment was sent to me by someone who professes the Muslim faith would not have changed the humour of the clip one little bit. Neither was I offended in any way. Then I opened the papers and continued to read about the ruckus being caused by the Islamic states regarding the cartoon portraying Mohammed (I could move move move any mountain) with a bomb in his turban. And I wondered... can these people honestly believe in God? I've always professed that the key to life is humour and that the Supreme Deity posseses the heaviest dose of all.

Humour or not, the absolute failure to understand such concepts as freedom of expression continues to baffle me. It tends to provoke an angry reaction in the most tolerant of us for it is an affront on tolerance itself. Let them close the embassies, let them shut down relations with a different world to their own - if such is their choice so be it, sad as it may be. But heaven forbid them telling us what to do in our own land. Heaven forbid that we should lose our sense of humour to transform into a culture so different from our own.

"He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh." That is what is written in the book. We have learnt to laugh long ago. We had to live through times when a fanatic church oppressed our humour and some, like the Puritans, took it to an extreme. But we have lived our revolution and paid the price for this mental emancipation. Thanks to this price we have such gems as "Jesus Christ Superstar, The Life of Brian, and more"... and it will not stop there.

And then one final question... what the flying flip where the Muslim Fundamentalists reading a Danish daily for? I mean... some taste puhleasssse!

Extract of the article in France Soir yesterday (from the Guardian):

It is necessary to crush once again the infamous thing, as Voltaire liked to say. This religious intolerance that accepts no mockery, no satire, no ridicule. We citizens of secular and democratic societies are summoned to condemn a dozen caricatures judged offensive to Islam. Summoned by who? By the Muslim Brotherhood, by Syria, the Islamic Jihad, the interior ministers of Arab countries, the Islamic Conferences - all paragons of tolerance, humanism and democracy.

So, we must apologise to them because the freedom of expression they refuse, day after day, to each of their citizens, faithful or militant, is exercised in a society that is not subject to their iron rule. It's the world upside down. No, we will never apologise for being free to speak, to think and to believe.

Because these self-proclaimed doctors of law have made this a point of principle, we have to be firm. They can claim whatever they like but we have the right to caricature Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Yahve and all forms of theism. It's called freedom of expression in a secular country ...
For centuries the Catholic church was little better than this fanaticism. But the French Revolution solved that, rendering to God that which came from him and to Caesar what was due to him.

photo: Scene from "The Life of Brian" - the Stoning of the Blasphemer

2 commentaires:

the jacobin a dit…

That was a beautifully worded blog, and I'm completely with you insofar as protecting the freedom of expression is concerned.

By the way, did you write this before or after learning that the editor of France Soir (who reprinted the cartoons) had been fired from his job?

Jacques René Zammit a dit…
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