13 January 2015

Freedom of speech in Paris? In Europe?

Some people are calling for the resignation of BBC reporter Tim Willcox because of a comment he made to a Jewish woman whom he was interviewing on air during the rally for freedom of speech and national unity in Paris on Sunday.

His did indeed cut across the woman when she was answering a question he had put to her and made a comment that was somewhat irrelevant. In that comment he referred first to 'Israel's policy' and then equated Israel with 'Jewish hands'.

The kosher grocery store in Paris clearly was a specific target just as the office of Charlie Hebdo was. Those murdered in the grocery store were killed simply because they were perceived to be Jewish while those murdered in the Charlie Hebdo offices were killed because of the perception that they had mocked Islam, as indeed some of them had, just as they had mocked Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish customers were murdered simply for being what they were, while the cartoonists and journalists were killed because of the perception of what they were doing.

None of these murders can be justified in any way. They were utterly evil acts.

Charlie Hebdo regularly mocked Judaism and Christianity, to the extent of being vilely blasphemous, as you can see on the blog of Fr Ray Blake, a priest of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton in the south of England, though in doing so it wasn't breaking French law.

But there is a certain irony in the fact that some want a journalist to be fired because he was exercising his right to freedom of speech during a march in support of freedom of speech.

Mr Willcox wasn't engaged in a studio interview but reporting 'live', when it is so easy to make an awkwardly expressed comment or question. But every issue and every item in Charlie Hebdo is planned and premeditated. 

I wonder how many who have been saying Je suis Charlie are aware that they are supporting blasphemy.

Yes! Freedom of Speech during a march in support of Freedom of Speech!

Meanwhile, last May, BBC Radio Devon sacked veteran DJ David Lowe because of a 'racist' word on a recording made in 1932 that he broadcast in his weekly 'golden oldies' programme. The station would not allow him to make an on-air apology for what was a genuine mistake. At the time the recording was made the word in question was not perceived to be racist, though it is now.

I don't think that there are any plans yet in the UK to destroy all copies of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice or of Dickens's Oliver Twist, or to forbid stage or TV productions of the former or of the musical version of the latter, Oliver!, despite the unattractive Jewish character central to each work.

Rocco Buttiglione [Wikipedia]

Rocco Buttiglione, an Italian politician, was rejected in 2004 as a commissioner of the European Union because of his views on homosexuality. 'I may think that homosexuality is a sin, and this has no effect on politics, unless I say that homosexuality is a crime,' said the Italian as he pledged to nonetheless defend the rights of gays.

Yes, indeed, 'Freedom of Speech'!

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