Charlie Hebdo, freedom of expression?

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Chapter 2: Bill of rights 16. Freedom of expression.

(2) The right does not extend to (A) Propaganda for war (B) incitement of imminent violence (C) advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

How close did Charlie Hebdo’s work come to infringing on those exceptions?

Not to justify the atrocity, however was it truly ok?

“If our cause is a mighty one, and surly peace on earth these days is the great issue, and if we are opposing the powers of destruction, of annihilation, and working on the side of life, then surely we must use our greatest weapon – the forces of love that are in each one of us. To stand on the side of life we must give up our own lives.” – Dorothy Day 

A symbolic death of the individual egoic self for the greater universal Self dwelling in All? A literal death, killing others in the the process, is surly a reinforcement of the egoic self? And a dehumanizing negation of the forces of love that dwell in All?

What terrorists so clearly miss is that, as Malcolm Gladwell illustrates in his book David and Goliath, when people survive terrorism, such as German bombings of London in WW2, they are liberated from the fear of terror, and become intensely more courageous to brave the battle.

My question remains, can we use our pencils to heal the divide? Undergoing a egoic death. Or do we continue using our brilliant intellects and wits to divisive ends in the name of free expression? 

Ultimately taking responsibility for the harm done against us, grants us the possibility to change the situation. Seeing the pencil in ones own eye, as it were …

© Carlos Manuel Saraiva. 2015

Image © 2015


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