Wise words from Voltaire

I wonder how those outside of France - or even outsiders (like me!) inside France - are viewing this week's events in and around Paris. I have - not very eloqently - set out some of my conflicting views over at the Teapot in this post "I am Charlie - or am I?" Other people have made other observations elsewhere: I was interested in Angus's opinion that in his part of La France Profonde "it's not so much the terrorism as the fact that the killing of journalists and the massacre in the Jewish supermarket have awakened folk memories of a dark place that has been visited before. A fear of something precious being lost, of history repeating itself." I think that I want to pin my colours to the mast and simply tell people that I don't think these events are anything to do with immigration, or with religion, but simply that religion has become an excuse for extremists to carry out their own agenda, which is to do with power and control. Just like I don't believe that religion really played a part in the Troubles in Northern Ireland - was the IRA really a mouthpiece for the true, believing Catholics? - I don't believe that these extremist activists are speaking for those who follow the Prophet's teachings. 

The planned commemorative-and-show-of-solidarity vigil/march in Paris looks likely to attract over 1 million people; here in St Just there is a vigil planned at 12h as well. I haven't gone to church, because I feel it's important that we, as UK citizens living in France, show our solidarity with the pain of the French people, over what is seen as an attack on free speech. I think that really my reaction to this is best summed up in the words attributed to Voltaire:

I think that some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were offensive - to Muslims, to Christians, to black people. I certainly didn't find many of the ones I have seen amusing. I would hesitate to call them humourous, or satirical. But. They have a right to publish them without fear of being gunned down.

I think I will leave this post as it is, and write another post about planned food. It doesn't seem right to tack it onto this.


  1. Well written. I feel that satyrists can be very rude, but if people don't like it, they should deal with it in the proper way, sue them or something, not massacre them. X

  2. Well said Doormouse.
    I don't like the whole "us and them" mentality that's brewing against Muslims.
    My midwife happens to be Muslim and she's had several ladies switch from her care after Paris and Australia. It's ridiculous!

  3. I agree with you Dormouse. As someone said at Meeting this morning, with freedom of speech comes responsibility and we should try not to offend.

  4. Thank you for this. I agree wholeheartedly with your stance, and would defend it also! These are dark days, and need wise leadership. You have given some here x


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