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Dying for your Principles

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If you are not willing to die for something, then you aren’t living for anything.

shooting-mainMany sometimes forget that satirists and comedians care for more than just a laugh. Satire isn’t merely a tool for humour but a tool of perspective. Even the largest giant can fall to ridicule. In this regard, comedians are our giant slayers. When many are often too scared or uninterested to bring the actions of those we fear into disrepute, comedians do so in such a way that we laugh.

Even the direst scenarios can be made to look funny. Not because we’re disrespectful but because we are refusing to let those seeking to defeat our very spirit, win. Comedians and satirists belittle evil so we can gain the courage to fight it.

Stephane Charbonnier, the now late Editor of Paris Magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was condemned for his portrayal of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. He was threatened by the Islamic world and urged to stop his satire of a culture he has no part in.

He has been condemned, some even say justly killed, for his response to urgings: “I’d rather die standing than live kneeling.”

Many say he had it coming and this is what depresses me. Here is a man who saw a religion which is being used to justify murder, rape and pillage. He saw a religion so sensitive that it has become arrogant enough to believe the world should abide by its laws. He is a man who realised that Europe is not an Islamic Sharia society. It is a land, despite condemned for past colonialism, of progress.

Liberty started in Europe. The Rule of Law, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of the Rights of Man. All of these – virtues that the civilised world owe thanks to for the lives we live today – were founded in Europe.

Now a religion of hate on a different continent says that Europe is not allowed their freedom. They are apparently subject to Islamic law as much as the slave societies underneath Islamic State.

What’s worst of all – many are putting up with it. Those who speak out against the invasion of Arab ideology are deemed racist while communities pop up around Europe enforcing Sharia law within sovereign states.

When a cartoonist decides to show the world that we are no slaves to a religion we don’t follow – he is begged to keep silent. Don’t upset the Muslims. You’ll get killed. You’re being stupid. You can’t blame them for killing you.

What happened to us?

There used to be an age where we fought for something. Where principle won out over fear. There used to be an age that if a citizen of a country was threatened by terrorists, that country would do everything in its power to protect what was right.

There used to be a time where revolutionaries fought back their colonial oppressors. Where serfs toppled Kings. There used to be an age where logic, reason and morality won out over fear that you might offend someone.

Stephane Charbonnier died standing. Him and the others working at Charlie Hebdo might have been massacred and sent to the floor but they stood higher than any of us. They died fighting for something.

Our freedom. Our freedom to not be dictated to by fundamentalists a continent away.

This doesn’t only affect Europe – but the world. We’ve come to a cross roads where we need to decide if we would rather live as slaves to ‘politeness’ or shout our defiance against evil. These terrorists won’t stop here. There’s no point honouring some of their ideas. They will demand full obedience.

I for one believe freedom of speech is more important than a few people’s feelings.

Hopefully now, the world will see – there is no use negotiating with terrorists. You either fight for your rights or die a slave.

It is time Europe and the world starts fighting.


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