It’s not woolly, but it needs saying

No wool here. But as an ex- and sometime hack, and as a blogger who therefore still works in the public domain the minute I press ‘publish’, I have to make some comment on the events of the last week in France. Not much, just this:

up yours

This cartoon, by Dave Brown, was on the cover of the Independent on Thursday morning. There’s a great interview with him – and also the Guardian’s Steve Bell – on the Indy‘s website.

I’ve had a succession of arguments since Wednesday morning, but I’m with Voltaire. Well, allegedly Voltaire (it was reported speech, let’s be accurate): I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

And this is from the author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre, via Comics Alliance:


Quite. And channelling my equally stroppy ancestors, ‘ tous aux barricades’. Freedom must be defended, even by the smallest voices, otherwise – well, that doesn’t bear thinking about. We all know how it ends: in death and darkness.


10 thoughts on “It’s not woolly, but it needs saying

    1. kate Post author

      Thanks so much – and that’s a good montage. There are infinitely more good people than bad people around, and looking at some of the extraordinary footage from today’s march in Paris is very heartening…

      1. thetinfoilhatsociety

        The problem was, and is, that the good people don’t stand up and demand that their religion not be denigrated in the eyes of the world by radicals. I agree with Murdoch on this one statement. It’s great that a Muslim saved a bunch of Jewish people during the grocery store massacre, but why did no one go to the police beforehand? I KNOW there were people in the neighborhood who knew something was up. You can’t plan something like this, and make statements like those that were made before all this started, without people knowing about it. The exact plan may have been a secret, but their intentions most certainly were not. Until peaceful Muslims stand up and shout down their radical counterparts, and until peaceful clerics do the same, there will be no peace. I have Muslim friends, the same as I have Pagan friends and Jewish friends and Christian friends and atheist friends, and it disturbs me that my Muslim friends have been utterly silent on this topic.

        1. kate Post author

          I had a long think about this one, and it prompted me to ask some direct questions. Let me say right now that some of my Muslim friends have condemned it from the get-go – being appalled and disgusted, and one quoted the Koran in direct support of his condemnation, citing what had been said about avoiding extremes of religion by the man himself. Some were in Sunday’s march in Paris.

          The resulting discussions also reminded me, sadly, of what I was told about the position of some of my grandparents’ Jewish contemporaries in 1930s France, who apparently kept their heads down to avoid ‘trouble’. Unfortunately, if there’s one thing that the history of the last century teaches us, it’s that keeping your heads below the parapet achieves precisely nothing. Nothing. Except it plays into the hands of extremists – on all sides.

    1. kate Post author

      Yo… pass me a placard. Sometimes our resolve is tested, and we do have to consider hate crime – and how we define it – but the underlying principle is absolutely there.


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