Saturday, January 10, 2015

Don't say the I word

Gerard Henderson in today's Australian comments on ABC's coverage of the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris.
ABC must confront the inconvenient truth about Islamic terrorism SO Paris is the most recent city to experience a dose of what Monash University academic and former ABC Radio National presenter Waleed Aly has termed a ­“perpetual irritant”. However, to everyday Parisians, the murder of Charlie Hebdo staff and two ­policemen was by no means an ­“irritant”.
The latest attack by an Islamist group on a democratic society again pointed out the difference in approach to such events taken by most members of the general public and some members of the intelligentsia. To the former, jihadist inspired murder is just jihadist inspired murder. To some commentators, on the other hand, murderers have complicated ­intentions along with motives that appear other than what they are. Still others decline to call a jihadist a jihadist.
On early Thursday morning news broke in Australia on the latest terrorist attack in France. In Sydney, ABC Radio 702 issued the following tweet: “Waking up and learning of the overnight violence in Paris? Here’s some of the history of Charlie Hebdo.” To which one tweeter responded: “Overnight violence? How about calling it an ‘Islamist terrorist attack’? That’s what it is.”

Follow the link to read the rest.

Also in the Oz today a great piece by Brendon O'Neill:
Western freedom of speech was under attack long before the Paris killings 
THE global cry of “Je suis Charlie” in response to the bloody massacre of satirists and cartoonists in Paris has been heartening.
From Paris’s Place de la Republique to London’s Trafalgar Square to the streets of San Francisco, thousands of people have gathered in silence, holding up pens, in memory of the 12 people killed in the brutal assault on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The pens symbolise the freedom to write, to draw, to express in print what lurks in one’s mind. An attendee at the gathering in London spoke for many when he stated simply: “I’m here to support freedom of speech.”
Yet while these quietly angry gatherings have spoken to a deep well of human solidarity, they also feel a little too late.
For the ideal of freedom of speech has been under assault for years in the West, battered by law and by mobs and by super-sensitive cliques of offence-takers, everywhere from France to Britain, Scandinavia, the US and Australia.
And it has been in part this ­silent war on free speech, and particularly the institutionalisation of the crazy idea that it is bad to offend people’s sensibilities, that has encouraged Islamists to think they have the right to stamp out Mohammed-reviling material.

Follow the link to read the rest.

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