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Charlie Hebdo And The Hypocrisy Of The West Through Salman Rushdie

Thu, 22 Jan 2015 Source: Mohammed, Inusah

If there is any incident in recent times that has gotten my head throbbing and spinning like a ball, then it is this Charlie Hebdo issue. The rotational motion of my head has less to do with the incident itself and more to do with the concomitant issue of free-speech and the glaring hypocrisy in addressing it.

One of the interesting comments made on this whole Charlie Hebdo issue was by Salman Rushdie. In a speech delivered at the University of Vermont, he hinted that “the moment somebody says, ‘Yes I believe in free speech, but’ — I stop listening. ‘I believe in free speech, but people should behave themselves. I believe in free speech, but we shouldn’t upset anybody. I believe in free speech, but let’s not go too far.’ The moment you limit free speech, it’s not free speech,” he said. “You can dislike Charlie Hebdo, you know, not all their drawings were funny. But the fact that you dislike them has nothing to do with their right to speak. The fact that you dislike them certainly doesn’t in any way excuse their murder.”

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in the year 1947. For twenty seven years he lived in a fit of tranquility with his people in his country and beyond peacefully until his freedom of speech affected someone else’s freedom to breathe fresh air. He wrote a book in the year 1988, The Satanic Verses, tarnishing and maligning the glorious image of Prophet Mohammed. Muslims worldwide showed outright condemnation to the book by venting their spleens on the streets through massive protest marches. The Spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared a fatwa on him; which means he should not be allowed to breathe the next second when seen. Out of spite of the resentment shown by the Muslim world to his repugnant work of art, the Western world in their characteristic hypocritical style and fashion quickly backed him, garnished and embellished him with colorful awards and rewards.

Notable amongst these were the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Cultural Humanism by the Harvard University, his appointment as Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France in January 1999 and Knighthood for his services to literature by Queen Elizabeth.

Interestingly, in 2003, a mystery - detective book was released. The book, The Da Vinci code written by novelist Dan Brown highlights the love affair between Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene which lead to present day Merovingian Kings of France tracing their genealogical bloodline from that relationship. It also highlights how the entire morphology of Christianity was shaped and formed by the Council of Nicaea courting paganistic underpinnings.

The book ruffled the nerves of the West and more specifically the Christian world. Moreso when the author stated that “all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”

The reaction to the book was if not interesting, intriguing.

This is what Jimmy Wales’ Wikipedia states about the statements made about the book: “Stephen Fry has referred to Brown's writings as "complete loose stool-water" and "arse gravy of the worst kind". Stephen King likened Dan Brown's work to "Jokes for the John", calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese". The New York Times, while reviewing the movie based on the book, called the book "Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence”. The New Yorker reviewer Anthony Lane refers to it as "unmitigated junk" and decries "the crumbling coarseness of the style". Linguist Geoffrey Pullum and others posted several entries critical of Dan Brown's writing, at Language Log, calling Brown one of the "worst prose stylists in the history of literature" and saying Brown's "writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad". Roger Ebert described it as a "potboiler written with little grace and style", although he said it did "supply an intriguing plot". In his review of the film National Treasure , whose plot also involves ancient conspiracies and treasure hunts, he wrote: "I should read a potboiler like The Da Vinci Code every once in a while, just to remind myself that life is too short to read books like The Da Vinci Code.”

The one that baffled me the most was from no other than the hypocrite called Salman Rushdie. Salman Rushdie said during a lecture, "Do not start me on 'The Da Vinci Code'. A novel so bad that it gives bad novels a bad name." What rank hypocrisy! What is so bad about the Novel? Is it because it is against the Christian world and not the Muslim World? Against Islam, “freedom of speech is absolute”, against Christianity, “bad novel.”

As a surrogate of the West, he is just exhibiting the innate character enmeshed in their skins. Hypocrisy! It is this Hypocrisy that makes the West justify the Charlie Hebdo cartoons yet condemn the movie Passion of Christ. It is this same hypocrisy that saw the wrongful termination of Maurice Sine (a former Cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo) for what they term Anti-Semitic publications yet shower all sorts of adorations on other cartoonists who pick on Muslims as their victims. This same hypocrisy saw the courts banning all Public gatherings to see the French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala’s show just because of his views on Jews and the Holocaust he describes as “memorial pornography.” The ban was spearheaded by the French Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

The world will never be safe if such double-standardness continue. The world seems to have forgotten Reverend Jim Jones. Jim-Jones single-handedly led a nine hundred plus people to their deaths in the name of Christianity in what is now known as the Guyana: Crime of the century.

My Facebook post on 20th January, 2015 at exactly 7:52 quoting Dr. Is-haq Akintola bears it all.

“HYPOCRISY OF THE WEST: “To the West, Menachem Begin who later became Israeli Prime Minister was a notorious terrorist in Britain. George Washington, father of American Independence, was a saint even though he led Americans to ambush British soldiers in the struggle for independence in1776. Americans were heroes for raiding Tripoli in 1986. Israel was God-sent when it attacked Iraqi nuclear reactors in 1981. The annulment of election results in Algeria in 1991 was 'democracy at its best."

Inusah Mohammed

NB: The writer is a National Service Person at the Graphic Communications Group Ltd.

Columnist: Mohammed, Inusah