November 22, 2017

Freedom of respect

The terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo is a cause for concern for people of all religions. The world wide press is mainly focused on the terrorist attack on the twelve journalists, but the media should not forget what happened in the aftermath when these terrorists committed an act of violence and anti-semitism in a Kosher supermarket, or the growing anti-semitism generally in France.

Since the attack, threats against Jews in France have doubled. Since 2006 there have been reports of kidnapping, torture, and murder inflicted on the Jewish population of France. This is the worst anti-Semitism has been in France since World War II.

This being said, Charlie Hebdo is a publication that pushes the limits of freedom of speech. Although the publication is often offensive and causes tensions with many religious groups, they are merely exercising their right to freedom of the press. Other groups disagree and believe that the publication is taking their freedom of press too far and creating a friction in regards to the freedom of religion.

The tension between these freedom beliefs is palpable in France.  On one hand, the culture allows for publications such as Charlie Hebdo to promote freedom of press and speech. On the other hand, taking the freedom of the press to an extreme is inciting religious zealots such as the extremist Muslims who then promote anti-Semitism and cause terror in the name of religious freedom. Therefore, groups such as the Jews are suffering and under terrible attacks.

I hope that this event is a call to action to society to understand what we as a society need to do to maintain the freedoms of speech and press. Specifically, I want the community of Wellesley, as well as other communities in the world, to take this opportunity to recognize the freedoms that we are given to express ourselves, but also the right to respect others.

(Celia Golod ’17, Photo Editor)

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