On Charlie Hebdo and free speech
Michael Kane writes: Re. “Rundle: Charlie Hebdo, terrorism and the distortion of popular memory” (yesterday). An extremely sophisticated analysis by Guy Rundle of an event thats takes all of us into new territory, wherever we stand on the Western political spectrum. We now have a targeted attack on the enlightenment and international secularism. As we all know, cartoonists (particularly of the variety shot in Paris) have never been the favourites of politicians or religious leaders of whatever creed. However the unanimity of western leaders (including many conservatives whose secularist values appear questionable in the past) is both hopeful and also a challenge to the “progressive” elements in the West.
Indeed the “progressives” now need, with more candour than the recent past, to expose the totalitarian rump of Islam and attack them by whatever lawful means. The same progressives have rightly assailed Christians and Jews over the decades who were equally anti-secularist . At present this is a priority for all decent people. These guys are mad and their religious fascism resembles the worst element of the German brownshirts or the young robots of the Chinese cultural revolution. They are people of the dead and arrant anti- multiculturalists.
It is also important that moderate Muslims, who understand and live within a society based on secularist values, now make a really strong stand on this mania; it might even help us isolate those who remain on the anti-secularist Christian and Jewish fringes — not dissimilar types to those who perpetrated this attack on a civilisation that is better than most.
Jacqueline Lesage writes: Bravo to Guy Rundle for his comments on the reaction to the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. As a subscriber of Charlie Hebdo since its early days, I fully endorse his comments and can confirm that yes, they would poke fun at the mass hysteria.
Death penalties and foreign intervention
John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: Australia must act on Bali Nine” (yesterday). Crikey says the Australian government should move heaven & earth to save the lives of Australian citizens convicted of trafficking commercial quantities of heroin in a country that observes the death penalty for doing so. In support of its position, Crikey didn’t advance an argument challenging the merits of the death penalty, but instead sought to play the race card to advance its position, whilst offering not a shred of hard evidence to support it.
On my reading, Crikey seems to be trying to have an each-way bet on this issue, which will surely only ensure that no-one will pay any attention to its views. It certainly won’t be of any help to the Bali Nine. It would be interesting to poll Crikey readers to find out what percentage share its concern on the application of the death penalty for commercial drug dealers in countries where that is the law. Crikey might be surprised with the result; but then might we all.
Lis Stanger writes: Once again it is apparent that while Australia does not have the death penalty there appears little appetite by governments, of various persuasions, to push for the same to be applied to our citizens who are subject to the same while in other countries, just as there was no push by our government to return David Hicks to our shores. I do wonder who they are consulting for advice in this matter. The legal fraternity? Their conscience? Or their religious beliefs?