JE SUIS CHARLIE, by Tussah Heera
First published on Tussah Heera’s Blog, January 14, 2015
I’ve decided to spare a moment to talk about how much the events in the past week have saddened me, as well as renewed my convictions. Artists have paid the price of death just for exercising a basic human right – freedom of speech.
In the wake of these tragedies, it became apparent that much of the world still doesn’t understand a simple fact of life: people have rights, but ideas don’t. This is why speaking against religion is NOT akin to racism, sexism, or homophobia. Both religion and politics are man-created (and sadly, man-defended) ideologies, and are nothing to do with the fundamental identities of people themselves. One can’t help being one’s gender, sexual orientation, or race, but one chooses (or is indoctrinated into) one’s religious or political views. When a person has embodied their faith as a part of who they are, they need to remember that not everyone has done or will do the same. They can’t force people to, either. Diversity of thought is the beauty of humanity. If you think your ideology is so fragile it can’t withstand some drawings or a few critical words, the problem is probably not the drawings or the words.
Ultimately, those who deem Charlie Hebdo “offensive” for satirizing religion come across like a kid throwing a tantrum because his real friend called his imaginary friend stupid. Those who deem it “racist” don’t understand the word (or satire, for that matter), and draw attention away from the true injustices faced by actual living, breathing people. At the very worst, those who condemn this brutal attack, yet somehow view it as a “consequence” of CH’s artistic actions, suppress and negate the necessity of free speech by means of outright hypocrisy and toxic victim-blaming.
CH’s first publication after the attack, which came out today, is pure gold – an emotional act of defiance in the face of barbaric intolerance. Below is my own cartoon, as I stand in solidarity with them and the countless innocent people over the world persecuted by religion, among them blogger Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia, as well as thousands of massacred civilians in Nigeria.
If offended, just know that Rene Magritte’s painting of a pipe is not really a pipe, and that this, for the same reasons, is really not Muhammad.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Magritte. Vive la liberté d’expression.
Ceci n’est pas Muhammad, by Tussah Heera
TO READ IN PDF (pp. 20, 21): HCH-3-MARZO-2015