There are things I value more than money and material possessions. One of those things is freedom of expression and its fruit called satire. I always appreciated satire because it exposes you to other perspectives ranging from critical to insulting. Also sometimes satire is good for a laugh or chuckle.
Growing up in the Netherlands I have learnt to accept many things as they are. Sometimes they are simply part of life, thus unavoidable. Sometimes people disagree or tell you something you were not aware of before. Satire often makes the normal abnormal and conventions absurdities.
In the end presenting a given topic from another angle can effectively give more insight in the topic itself. Sure there are people who state they have been hurt and insulted. Usually these people are fanatics from religious communities, extremists of all kinds, weakling politicians and generally intolerant people.
Thing is, to make topics open for discussion and research the unspoken has to be addressed. I recently had a discussion about two general approaches to making the unspoken spoken of:
- Do not mention or address it: let the people directly involved or responsible be and they can address problems among themselves at the risk of major cover ups.
- Directly mention and address it: let the people directly involved or responsible know what you think and address the topic at the risk of exaggerating or not properly addressing the issue.
I prefer the directly mentioning and addressing topics when possible and suitable for the situation. I personally refer to the first approach as the “silence game” and you wait for someone to break the silence. Say hello to political correctness.
In the Charlie Hebdo situation there is another factor though. Particularly in Europe there are double standards to freedom of expression with exceptions for X but no exceptions for Y. Freedom of expression diminishes when censorship exceptions are made.
Je ne suis pas Charlie. Je comprends Charlie et je crois que la liberté de l’expression est plus important que la silence.
I am not (with) Charlie. I understand Charlie and I believe that the freedom of expression is more important than silence.