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Terror does not kill freedom


Bear with me – I need to make this statement.

The terror attack on a  french satirical magazine, killing 10 of its cartoonists and journalists, is an attack on Freedom of Speech. Only morons are afraid of words and images. Who in his right mind kills journalists unless he is afraid of the truth?

Wars are fought to gain power, for money, for religion. But religious wars are also just a fight for power. The Crusaders in the Western past, and the Jihadists in the Eastern present, there is no difference. Totally convinced of their own beliefs, the beliefs of other people must be repressed at any cost. What else is this but madness?

Terror goes beyond war. Warring factions are both defending their beliefs, however twisted their beliefs are. Terror on the other hand is waged on innocent people. It is meant to put fear in the hearts of the citizen with a long-term goal of establishing some form or repressive regime – even in democratic countries, repression can be achieved. People can be herded like sheep if you keep the truth from them. In Western (Christian) civilization, it was the period of Enlightenment that rid us of the repression of religion. In some islamic countries, this step still needs to be made. The Crusaders are no more (despite the statements of islamic fanatics) – and now Muslims need to raise their voice and fight these people who justify their actions by calling upon Allah but are in fact without faith. Terror does not need a God.

What is the best weapon against terror and false beliefs? The truth! You can live in freedom only if you have access to the truth, and are able to fight falsehoods with proof to the contrary. Do not let yourself be scared away by terror. The terrorist has already lost if you stand up for your freedom and for the truth.



  1. hubert phava

    Watching just now the news and i totally agree your thoughts…
    You say “Wars are fought to gain power, for money, for religion. But religious wars are also just a fight for power.”.
    Ok. But I think *Ignorance* is the vehicle used by terrorists (or who is behind them) to propagate their stupid ideas.
    Holding people into ignorance is a very good method to control people’s minds.

    …stupid morons….


  2. p431i7o

    Yes. I’m with you on this.
    Freedom is only reachable if you know the truth.
    It is the most value thing that humanity have achieved, and we can’t afford to lose it.

  3. Niki Kovacs

    Thanks for your wise words, Eric. I’ve spent the whole day in a state of shock and on the verge of tears. I’ve been a regular reader of Charlie Hebdo for the last 20 years or so, Cabu, Wolinski and Charb are high figures in my personal Pantheon, and I can’t believe what happened, I just want to cry.

  4. Jen

    I wish I had a good answer about the rise of fundamentalism (both evangelical Christian and Islamic.) It seems like both sides are getting more and more strident (and dangerous) in response to the other.

    Like yesterday, someone (suspected “domestic terrorist”) exploded an IED outside of an NAACP building in Colorado.

    I worry that such incidents are only going to move governments (both here and in Europe) further to the right. Last thing we need are more extremes. (And I’m talking the scary, xenophobic, nationalist rights, not your conservatives.)

  5. gauchao

    Eric, I ask your permission to reproduce the first sentence from your New Year wishes, exactly one week ago: “May it be a year where religion is not abused as a reason for killing people indiscriminately.” I have no words to describe my feelings. Silence and respect for the victims…

  6. zbreaker

    I add my voice to those above. As stated by Eric, truth & freedom are the essential elements we must all embrace as a global community to rise above this madness.

  7. Robby

    A really sad day

  8. Vidvuds

    Actually, the event has two parts – one – very sad because of the act of terrorism taking away so much lives, and the other – causal – “free” press of the West extremely often confuses freedom of speech with creation of moral hazard hiding behind the principle. French have to invent some other way how to deal with their own hatred of Christian and Muslim faith, but it can’t be the way of making any faith ridiculous (even in USSR it was not the way how to deal with the problem). We can go to too far with such kind of “freedom of speech” questioning even the very sense of existence of western nations and states.
    The same Enlightenment you mention, Eric, has it roots in crusades, colonization wars, genocide, corruption and plain speculations and market riggings (some times called trade), not forgetting the flowering business of money changers. Reduction of the power of the church was just side effect because sovereigns desperately needed money for their wars and lavish lifestyles and they wished not to share the power to rule and suppress its own people.
    Everything has some shade of grey, noting is plain white and black.

  9. Niki Kovacs

    @Vidvuds: free press is free press. No need for commas here. Your line of argumentation reminds me of those folks who, after a rape, claim that the girl “wanted it because she wore a miniskirt”. It’s exactly this kind of moralistic attitude that Charlie Hebdo was fighting.

  10. gauchao

    @Vidvuds: Victims are not guilty! People have been killed for making jokes and publishing cartoons! Come on… no excuses for criminal acts.

  11. Loka

    If you make jokes about black people, Jew, nationalities, it’s called racist.

    If you make jokes about religions and faith, it’s called “Freedom of speech”.


  12. Vidvuds

    No one says victims are responsible on their own for being at the wrong place in wrong time. The is no question. As well, there is no excuses for criminal acts.

    The question is – what led to the tragedy and the simple answer – pure hatred and total ignorance of other people feelings on subject. If you’d like – there is another westerm buzz word – “tolerance”. What you say is “we will not tolerate your intolerance”. Why not to live in peace, having just little respect to each other?

    You guys are living in rosy clouds. Currently there is no such thing as “free press” – everything is skewed and twisted and minced according the needs of the owners or editors preferences.

    To gauchao: what subjects according to your democratic mind can be or deserve to be publicly ridiculed and mixed with dung? Is there anything that could be spared from “creativity of the free press”?

    Actually, reading western press it is clear well enough that the word “morality” during the last 20 years became just 8 letter word without any modern meaning.

  13. Hygor Hernane

    Great words Eric

  14. alienbob

    Loka, I personally think it should be safe and allowed to make fun of everything, but you need to be careful not to offend people without reason.

    You cannot compare black people, jews, nationalities with religion. The former is real people, the latter is only a thought construct,a morality. My morals are not the same as yours, but we can change them if we are given good arguments. If I am black that cannot be changed.

    And then, even when people are offended by jokes or written text or pictures, that still does not justify killing, maiming and oppressing. We all live under a nation’s law. If you act against the law, you can expect to face criminal charges. There are lots of ways in which people can feel offended while there is nothing criminal about the offense. It’s all a matter of your personal morality.

    Freedom of speech is something very important, because it is one of the first freedoms which is taken away by repressive regimes.
    Voltaire (also french) is often quoted as having said ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.

  15. Niki Kovacs

    Newspapers like Charlie Hebdo would be impossible in most countries of the world, even in my native Austria, which has an incredibly stupid law against blasphemy. This is one of the reasons I love living in France, the near absence of all forms of puritanism. Our mayor (a retired surgeon) is proud to have the complete collection of Charlie Hebdo in his library, back to the first magazine published in 1970. I’ve been a regular reader of Charlie Hebdo for decades, and Cabu and Wolinski are my heroes. Nearly every week, they publish crude cartoons that are to the point and often viciously funny.

    By the way, the famous sentence by Voltaire has never actually been said by him. One of his biographers invented it posthumously for him, but he never actually spoke nor wrote these words. Unfortunately, the sentence is often misquoted by far-right journalists in France to justify their own nonsense.

  16. terry

    please dont make me laugh with freedom of expression.
    that only applies to ideas people agree with because most people have no idea who Voltaire is.

    The US-NATO bombed yugoslvia in 1999 to the benefit fo their KLA proxy (a terrorists group the CIA had called the biggest and best armed terror group inthe world) and in doing taht 4month bombing campaign, they bombed the state TV building (like CBC/BBC) killing 16 journalists and staff.
    Do you know why?
    Because according to the army PR, they were doing propaganda agaisnt NATO (can you image that? being bombed by someone for months and not liking it? how inconsiderate) and they had to be shut down.
    And in perfect blame the victim scenario put the blame not on them for murdering them but on the victims for being there when tney knew they were targets.
    I repeat, they intentionally targeted journalists because THEY DID NOT AGREE WITH WHAT THEY WERE SAYING.

    THAT was the excuse.

    Now you tell me how those murders are different?
    I mean besides the fact that the ‘free press’ repeated the reasons and not once cried foul.

    So please, dont make laugh about freedom of expression.
    Murdering journalists for having different opinions has been done 15yrs ago and no one had a problems.
    Why start now?
    Because you agree with the cartoons?

    Like I said, the same people now who are yelling out memes and slogans had no problems with the murder of dissenting opinions because the Voltaires famous:
    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    As for Charlie, the same politicians there and abroad who 8 yrs ago blamed Charlie for fawning the flames of violence are now lauding them.
    And considering that France has carried a full on judicial vendetta against comic Dieudonne because jews are insulted and have passed laws in that effect, its even more nauseating hearing them talk about the right to express yourself.
    In France, you are allowed to make muslims feel insulted but not jews (like everywhere else).
    As for christians, the gov in France openly supports the heavily bankrolled ukrainian topless activists who have in the past chainsawed a wooden cross in front of a church as well as going into a church and relieving themselves on the altar. Instead of being arrested, the leader of the group was chosen to the be 2013’s version of Marianne, the symbol of the republic, on teh new stamps.
    Tear down a cross, piss in the church and you are the new SYMBOL of France.

    The more you go into this, the more you feel like throwing up.

    And while its not nice to say bad thigns about the dead, its even worse when you go over the top to praise someone you blamed for the same thing 8yrs ago.
    But politics and the media is all about hypocrisy/

  17. rvdboom

    Loka :
    Being black, jewish (as a population) and things like that is about what you are.
    Religions, communism, etc. is about what you think and believe in.
    In a free country, you should be able to make jokes about any thinking or belief.
    If the jokes offend you, no one forces you to read the papers.

    There’s absolutly no reason to consider, for someone who doesn’t believe in religion, that they deserve a higher level of respect than any other model of thought. So in a free country, you should have the absolute right to ridicule them. That does not mean that it must be exercised all the time, just that people who wish to mock religion must have the right to do so. Whether you decide, as a person, to read these papers or not, because they make you laugh or on the contrary because you find them offensive or stupid, is a personal choice and should never be decided by a law or any social constraint.
    As Clegg said yesterday and many others around the world, there is no “right not to be offended” in a democracy. This is something all believers in a religion have to learn to cope with, just as french christians were forced to at the end of the 19th century and begining of the 20th.
    Again, if the jokes offend you, no one forces you to read the papers.

  18. Loka

    Please, “Freedom Of Speech” is just as it says, freedom of speech.

    When you divide “Freedom Of Speech” to only hold for things you find morally correct, like not making jokes of black, white, jewish, is not any longer a “Freedom Of Speech”.

    When it is ok to insult millions of muslim, but not ok to insult jews (behold, you are called a antisemitic), we have a big double moral standard problems.

    Said that, killing innocent people is never ok, and I give my condolences to the French people. I hope the two terrorists will be caught and rot in a prison for the rest of their life.

  19. alienbob

    Loka, you are not an anti-semite if you make jokes about Jews! Nor are you a racist if you make jokes about black people. Making jokes is absolutely not equal to discrimination or hostility.

    If I make a joke of someone else and that person feels offended, than that is too bad, and usually it says something about the other’s false morality. People should learn to ignore (tolerate) that which does not harm them and which they hold in disregard. You have your beliefs, and I have mine. There is no need for them to clash.

    What if a girl is raped and the excuse of the rapist is “she wore slutty clothes so she herself is to blame, not me”? This happens a lot with muslim men and western women, here in Europe but also in Eastern (muslim) countries. Learn to tolerate that which does not match your morality or beliefs – the other is entitled to a life with freedom of choice as well.

    If I visit your country, I will try to blend in and not go against your way of life. That menas, my wife must cover her head or even her whole body in certain countries I would visit. On the other hand, when *you* visit *my* country I expect of you that you exhibit the same respect towards my culture and beliefs. unfortunately, that is where the balance tips, when I see examples of intolerance toward my culture, my beliefs, my civilization, coming from immigrants. That is why I talked about enlightemnent earlier. You need to educate the youth so that they can grow up to be responsible citizens, but if you don’t have free access to truth and facts (like in lots of post-communist and islamic states), your education will be skewed and you will not be able to operate respectfully in a mixed culture.

  20. rvdboom

    Loka, Charlie Hebdo was making jokes on judaïc believers. And on catholics. Because they were fundamentally anti-religion and anti-military.
    In all cases, opinions and acts were mocked, not people because of what they are and can’t do anything about.
    So there are no “double-standard” here. People like Charlie Hebdo are the kind to make jokes about anything they considered stupid.
    And actually, when you look at their drawing of Mohamed, it was basically showing him being desperate because the guys who pretended to love him and killed for him were perfect idiots. It was definitely not a joke on Mohamed but on all islamic integrists.

  21. rvdboom

    Terry, you have the perfect right to consider with disgust some double-standard of some politicians.
    But you’re missing the point : Charlie Hebdo was mocking the Israël policies and the judaïc integrists as much as the islamic ones. But they always kept true to the policy of mocking ideas, not persons.
    Dieudonné, whom I liked 20 years ago, has slowly slipped from humour to being openly aggressive to jewish people as a whole, not just integrists, and deliver revisionnists speeches. He has stopped making jokes about ideas and acts and became just anti-semitic.
    Whether you like it or not, this situation is definitely about free speech : the simple fact that the politicians have to defend the guys they were not very confortable with just one month ago is the very proof of it. They may have not liked what Charlie said, but they have to defend their right to say it.

  22. Niki Kovacs

    @rvdboom: I couldn’t have said it better.

  23. Didier Spaier

    Eric, I appreciated your statement.

    I value freedom, and I think that there’s no freedom without freedom of speech and a free press.

    I have read that Mark Rutt will be in Paris later today and appreciate that he shows his solidarity on behalf of the Dutch people.

    About religion: alas, all have been used as an instrument of domination.

    That said, I am of Jewish descent and remember that not so long ago it was common to hear “Jews killed Jesus”. Let’s not do the same and attribute a crime committed by two fanatics to all Muslims.

    As a side note, my wife is of Muslim descent and I never heard an anti Jew word coming from anyone of her family.

    As another side note, I am very sad that too often people of Jewish descent be considered as Israelis, but I digress.

    Cheers, Didier

  24. Janis

    Hi Eric,

    the best analysis of the situation comes for ex-spies:

    while I not like what’s written there very much, I agree with the author.

  25. Janis

    freedom of speech? What you say on this?

  26. alienbob

    Janis, that has nothing to do with freedom of speech and everything with educating kids who lost their moral compass.

    France has historically been proud of its secular and republican society.
    I will say here that a country should cultivate its own mores. And to all who refuse to agree to that: this is still a democracy – let your representatives work for you.

  27. Didier Spaier

    Janis, I 100% agree with Eric. If you speak French you could be interested to watch the video sequence “Auschwitz: Comment en parler à nos enfants ?”, broadcasted on “Canal +” yesterday. You’ll need Flash, that part begins 2 min after the movie starts. Here is the link:

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