Skip to main content

Duty of uniting and freedom of dividing

Stories and News No. 1218

Once upon a time a story that, in order to understand it better, I need to tell it from the very beginning. To do so, I need a starting point that makes the opening words exhaustive and facilitating any subsequent thought that is reasonable. Once upon a time, therefore, the first chapter, which happened in September 2012, when the French weekly Charlie Hebdo - in conjunction with the release of the controversial film Innocenze of Muslims - published some cartoons portraying and mocking the prophet Mohammed. The drawings had great spread, and obviously protests and threats were everywhere. In France and throughout, many stood up for the freedom of satire and in vehement defense of the right of cartoonists to mock anyone, but the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius criticized the timing of the magazine, accusing the latter to throw fuel into the fire. Despite my support for freedom of expression in all forms, I found myself in agreement with the minister. I wrote about it on this site, also underlining the fact that sometimes the target to be "satirically"humiliated seems to be chosen not to affirm courage or personal creative freedom, but rather because the hotter the target is, the greater the return in matter of popularity. Anyway, you are on the side of the fence where many are just waiting to laugh at what is sacred for others. Three years later, here is the second chapter, which took place on January 7, 2015, when there was the attack on the magazine's headquarters in which twelve people died, ten of whom were part of the editorial staff. Without speaking about the details of the tragedy, let’s recall that the perpetrators of the massacre were the brothers Saïd Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, Franco-Algerian citizens of Gennevilliers, and that the attack was claimed by the terrorist group Al-Qāʿida in the Arabian Peninsula, which the killers themselves claimed to be affiliated to. On January 11 the "Je suis Charlie" manifestation was staged in Paris, which has also been imitated in the rest of Europe. Needless to say, the slogan went viral on the internet, including avatars, memes and anything else that is exploited to feel united for something right. Not against, but united for. That is, I still hope today, not against one billion and eight hundred million people, who, with the two - I repeat - two murderers have in common only the fact that they have faith in the same religion. Furthermore, in as many different ways, since each of us puts into practice what they believe differently. United, I repeat. Because feeling and more than ever being truly united, finding common points, building bridges and not walls between people, especially the most distant, is undoubtedly the main purpose that must never be lost sight of. It is the true heart of the common horizon, which we should all have in front of us every day like a compass. Never acting in reverse, fueling divisions, conflicts and separations as the writer Marco Politi rightly pointed out yesterday. I fully agree with the latter's analysis, addressed in this case to the third chapter of this story. I am referring to the murder of Samuel Paty on October 16 - eight and five years after the publication of the notorious cartoons and the attack on the magazine's headquarters respectively - by Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Muslim refugee of Russian origin. Chechen origin. As many will know, Paty was a teacher who had shown the aforementioned controversial images to his students while leading a course on freedom of expression. What many local newspapers, however, do not talk about are all the facts that probably led to the barbaric murder of the professor. It seems there had already been episodes of intolerance to his attempts to make people reflect on such a delicate and urgent issue. According to what we read in the newspapers these days, what matters, which emerges and survives on the surface, leaving out any in-depth analysis that could give vigor and substance to any consideration, is the brutality and more than ever the method of killing - beheading - and that the killer shouted Allah akbar. I imagine the words of the imploring reporter writing the article on the dramatic event: "Did he say that? Tell me he did it, please, let me write it down, I have a family to feed…" In the same way, Islamist claims (not Islamic, which means something else) play to the advantage of the popularity of the article. This does not mean direct responsibility, that is, concrete planning and organization of the attack, but only a kind of macabre quality stamp, in the form of inspiration to kill, period. Without achieving much, the minimum result is to nurture dissent between populations from one hemisphere to another. Never uniting, giving life to ideal paved roads of mutual understanding and listening. On Sunday 18 October there were demonstrations throughout France to remember and celebrate the dead teacher, and on the 21st Macron's government decided to transform Paty's funeral into a national homage, identifying him as the face of the French republic, and pointing the finger at enemies, calling them barbarians. At the same time, despite the fact that the self-confessed criminal of the atrocious murder is one and only one, once again the train of easy and comfortable generalizations (to say the least) of “radical” Islam and of the “moderate” one, which should condemn the attacks (in reality it happens every time), and so on babbling about things that are little known or completely ignored. And what are Charlie Hebdo's guys doing? They never fail to “defend” their freedom of expression and satire. In fact, on October 28 they choose the president of Turkey for their cover in the act of lifting the skirt of a woman with a veil, exposing her backside. The missile hits the target, because by reply, on the other side of the monitor the "meek" Erdogan was waiting for nothing else and in turn launched his arrows towards the magazine and the French government too. Within a few hours, we arrive at the fourth chapter of this unfortunate story: a man entered the cathedral of Notre-Dame de l'Assomption in Nice and killed three people. The media is talking again everywhere about the beheading of one of the two murdered women and that the man seems to have shouted the fateful, as expected, Allah akbar. It was confirmed by the mayor of Nice, who even brings up Islamofascism. The story - just for now, poor us - ends here. Everyone is free, as well as to express and unleash their satirical streak against anyone, to draw conclusions on the facts. For my part, I leave here a simple thought that makes its way through the many that cross me: terrorist attacks, of any kind, inspiration or real creation, are made to divide, never unite. And, if they give the opposite impression, History with a capital letter - including the one that goes from 2012 to today - teaches us that that apparent “becoming one” in the more or less virtual squares is nothing more than the further stiffening of “one part of the world against the other”, in short the ancient and ever present “us” vs “them”. Our best response to such terrible manifestations of human inhumanity consists, in my humble opinion, always and everywhere in a single gesture: insisting furthermore, which rhymes not surprisingly with resisting, in the construction of an alliance between diversity, focusing more and more on the infinity of colorful and multiform pieces that unite us, compared to the negligible details that divide us...

Subscribe to Newsletter

My new book: A morte i razzisti (Death to racists)

Comments