THE French Revolution gave the world Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite and the events of the past few days from January 7, from the killings by Muslim extremists of 12 employees of Charlie Hebdo and the killings at a Jewish shop all point to intolerance. The killings reverberate globally and the symbolisms are all beyond political and religious meanings.
Indeed, the twin killings could be France’s 9-11. But moderate Muslims worldwide are standing up saying, “not in my name” and that Islam does not harm and kill.
Interestingly, it was also French philosopher François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, who said: “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, essayist and philosopher known for his defense of civil liberties, including freedom of religion and the right to a fair trial. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform. Many of Voltaire’s works and ideas would influence both the important thinkers of the American Revolution and the French Revolution, an honor he would share alongside other political theorists.
So when 43 world leaders linked arms and set aside speeches but marched in the Unity Rally in France last Sunday, it’s really time for all citizens of the word to come together. The Million March Against Terrorism at the Place de la Nation, Paris speaks so much of the value of freedom of speech, that pens do not kill. Drawings do not maim. And Islam forbids killing.
And political leaders here should not miss the point about critics and criticisms. Just like Pope Francis who started to publicly question some practices of the Church and of the global economy. Would BSA3 consider Pope Francis a critic of his faith? Will Aquino lump him with his critics if the Pope invariably says something frank about the Tacloban rehabilitation and reconstruction? Would BSA3 mind?
The Apostolic Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines from January 15 – 19, 2015 will have for its theme “Mercy and Compassion.” The visit is primarily to comfort Filipinos devastated by the typhoon and the earthquake that hit the Visayas. The Pope is both head of state (the Vatican) and head of the Catholic Church. It would be interesting to know how he would view Tacloban. Having read and followed Pope Francis since the time he took his position, we might just hear him say something about Charlie Hebdo, as well as on freedom of belief, expression and tolerance. Would it be an affront to the host if Pope Francis mentions critics, criticisms and liberty?
As George Bernard Shaw said, “I make a fortune from criticizing the policy of the government, and then hand it over to the government in taxes to keep it going.” That is the link of every critic with democracy for every taxpayer has a right to do so. That is the value of every criticism to an expression whether it is a blasphemy or a praise, for every expression should be allowed. Unless one is part of a propaganda machinery where “critic” labels someone as “BINAYaran” without much proof or dumbing down voters akin to “bobotantes”, freedom of expression is for all.
And in Twitterworld, Rupert Murdoch and J. K. Rowlings are at it when Murdoch twitted, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.” An example of a bigoted and Islamophobic remark. Rowlings responded with, “I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I’ll auto-excommunicate.” This Murdoch tweet elicited a chain of reactions from never stop apologizing on the crusades to the Spanish Inquisition to Murdoch being an Australian and all Rupert community not sharing his views.
Satirical and all, the Philippines is starting this year with the annual procession and fiestas of the Black Nazarene and Sto. Niños. Some people still do not get the Nazarene procession with all the mayhem but that we leave to faith. Indeed, we are quite lucky to also start the year with the visit of Papa Kiko, a name of endearment given the Pope by Filipinos in Rome.
Earthquake came ahead of the visit and so as alarming rate increases from MRT-LRT ride, water, etc. PCOS and Smartmatic are front and center with the quite scandalous three phase of a contract as we prepare for 2016, hoping that the magic of 23% candidate can materialize for the Aquino administration.
After being most pious during the days of the visit, no need for a forecast. We will be back to old ways. How satirical can you be? “Satire is fascinating stuff. It’s deadly serious, and when politics begin to break down, there is a drift towards satire, because it’s the only thing that makes any sense.”