Thursday, January 21, 2016

Free speech

Lot's of fuss about free speech being generated again following the latest cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine; various commentators are "shocked" and "offended" accusing the cartoonists of mocking the young Syrian boy who drowned on a Greek beach earlier in the year, terms like "monsters" and "racists" are being thrown around. The cover (shown above) depicts a man chasing a Woman (with outstretched hands) with a caption that says something like, "what would little Aylan become if he'd grown up" and then a sub-heading suggesting that "he'd be groping Women's buttocks in Germany".

I find this reaction baffling; are these people dim? Can they not see the irony and satire designed into this image, can they not see that it's the media being mocked here, not the young boy. What this cover makes me think about is the shear manipulation and generalization that goes on from one day to the next in our press, images and headlines used to elicit sympathy one minute and outrage the next, in this case from precisely the same crisis. But, this is exactly what free speech is all about, sticking it to the man using satirical images and words, provoking debate and making you examine your own opinions; unashamed, unreserved and unhindered, free!

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