Preach respect and sensitivity

Preach respect and sensitivity
French soldiers stand guard in front of the entrance of a synagogue in Lille, northern France, on January 13, 2015. Seventeen people were slaughtered in the attacks that began with a jihadist assault on the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine last Wednesday and ended in a bloody hostage drama at a Jewish supermarket two days later

Mr Craig Ower and those who followed the "Je suis Charlie" march are not aware of how wrong they are ("Free speech is not the problem, extremists are"; last Saturday).

The West talks about free speech to lull itself into thinking it is being more socially advanced than others, so everything is done on the pretext of human rights and freedom of speech. Therefore, it is not surprising that they link the Charlie Hebdo massacre with an assault on free speech when it had nothing to do with freedom of speech.

First of all, absolute freedom and absolute free speech do not exist anywhere in the world.

No one can just park himself outside Mr Ower's house and scream profanity against his wife (or mother) without consequence.

To say that Charlie Hebdo is about satire makes no sense. If Charlie Hebdo were funny, people would laugh and it would be a successful magazine.

Nobody says you cannot mock or even poke fun at religion, but if what you publish is wilfully calculated to hurt, offend and insult, you are basically out looking for trouble.

This is not to say that one has the right to go shoot someone if one were put off.

The West should question its own misconception of freedom of speech and preach respect for the sensitivity of others instead of endorsing such wrongs.

There is a saying that "if all of us are absolutely free, then none of us would be free".

Huang Zhushan

This article was first published on May 19, 2015.
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