Je Suis Charlie – Where Murder and Humor Have Met

Satire, like that of Charlie Hebdo, has always been a sword that cannot be seen.

It was about a month ago now that three gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, and killed twelve people.

The magazine was known for its biting satire and has several times depicted Mohamed in a mocking fashion. It is considered a damnable sin in Islam to make any sort of picture of their Prophet.

Isis hates Je Suis CharlieThe office of Charlie had been firebombed in 2011. The editor and staff had been often been sent death threats. On January 7th those threats were made real.

Satire has always been a sword that cannot be seen. Wielding it has often brought pain and death upon those using it. The Turkish humor magazine Girgir and others like it (Turkey surprisingly has a wealth of humor magazines) has often been hassled and threatened by government forces when it dared go too far with its ribbing of the State.

The British magazine Private Eye got sued and nearly destroyed by publisher Robert Maxwell (Rupert Murdoch’s twin separated at birth) when it said he looked like a criminal (which he was).

Somehow, miraculously, the sharp edged Eulenspiegel took birth in and survived in the repressive Communist East Germany and now thrives in the reunited land.

The same could not be said for the brave and bold Simplicissimus which was started in 1896 in Bavaria but was fined by Kaiser Wilhelm in 1898 and the publisher had to spend 5 years in exile in Switzerland. It was reborn several times and finally expired in 1967.

Now we have a religion that has factions therein which does not tolerate anything said against it. This is not new. Christianity in the time of the Inquisition was the same. When religion dominates the minds of too many then those minds cannot stand any form of questioning. Religion so often takes itself too seriously.

These men who did this cannot stand any form of lightness or levity. Their minds and spirits can only understand darkness and a living inner death. That is why they can so easily deal that same death out to those who don’t agree with them.

It later turned out that one of the policemen killed in the attack was himself a Moslem. They have killed one of their own in cold blood without the slightest remorse.

Anyone who has ever written satire knows that it is not easy.

Roger Freed