Statement on Charlie Hebdo

January 10, 2015

It is always sad to witness the murder of journalists. Killing the messenger is never a solution if you don’t like the message.

The murder of 10 Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists by Islamic extremists was a violent hate crime with no justification.

The perpetrators of this outrage seek to clothe themselves in the garb of Islam and claimed to carry out the murders in the cause of defending the Prophet.

They failed in that aim.

Instead, all that the murderers have achieved is to strengthen the resolve of Western powers to prosecute their own war on the people of Aghanistan, Syria and Iraq.

Intensifying the US-led bombing raids (in which Australia is a willing participant) against Da’esh or pouring more Western military aid into the hands of illegitimate governments in Yemen and the Arabian peninsula, will not reduce the threat of further attacks like that against the French satirical magazine.

Only three things are certain as a result of the Charlie Hebdo incident:

1. Western governments will use it as an excuse to continue prosecuting the so-called “War on Terror”, which, by all reasonable accounts is an abject failure and the major cause of increased terrorist attacks inside Western nations

2. Despite all the moralistic outrage gushing from the pages of Western newspapers and dripping from the lips of Western politicians our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly and our freedom of thought will be further curtailed by the so-called guardians of liberty.

3. The hypocrisy of those in the West now calling for the re-publication of some of Charlie Hebdo’s more racist and vilifying cartoon front pages will know no boundaries; but they will pretend it doesn’t exist.

Charlie Hebdo was no saint. But satire alone is not a defence for racism and misogyny

Charlie Hebdo was no saint. But satire alone is not a defence for racism and misogyny

I will attempt to explain these three points quickly and then link to some of the better commentary on the issue.

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Dopey Dawkins gives atheists a bad name

October 28, 2014

I’ve been a Level 7 Atheist for as long as I can remember; the idea of “god” always seemed strange to me. I was fascinated by science as a boy growing up in early 60s England. I loved “outer space” and stories about the undersea world. My first brutal encounter with “the Scriptures” was at Prince Edward’s Infants in Sheffield. I drew a picture story of taking a “rocket ship” into space to meet up with God; it seemed logical to me – a child of Sputnik – that if Heaven was where the Bible said it was, somewhere “up there”, we should be able to visit the place.

My teacher, the twitchy Miss Gamble, took great umbrage at my insolence and ignorance. I was hauled to the front of the class and given “the slipper” across my buttocks. I had, it seems, offended both Church and State with my childish views of materialism and space travel.

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