|Demonstration for the victims in Bologna, Italy (source: Wikipedia)|
The horrific murders of journalists and artists at Charlie Hebdo and the later dramatic events that caused further deaths have shaken the world. Yesterday on TV, it was a marvelous sight to see so many people walk in the streets to manifest solidarity with the victims and show attachment to the sacred principle of freedom of expression. The scale of demonstrations reminded me of the events around Princess Diana's death.
Among the many things that were said online and off, one remarkable quote from Voltaire stands out and was often re-tweeted:
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."I have never read Charlie Hebdo, their kind of humor - the little I have seen of it - doesn't make me laugh. Actually, extremism in any area of the arts has always made me very uncomfortable. So what Voltaire says here is exactly the way I feel.
But there's another Voltaire quote that, I believe, adds an interesting twist though (to my knowledge) it has never been re-tweeted anywhere:
"What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature."
Who is ready to pardon the terrorists? I know I'm not. Sure, they were "in error" and theirs was a "folly". But, in my view, they have stopped belonging to humanity. Their acts have pushed them beyond the human condition, beyond the "first law of nature". Therefore tolerance cannot apply to them...Your views?
Post-scriptum: My mother who's 101 years old suffered from bouts of anxiety, watching all this "hatred" on television, as she put it. Particularly after Charlie Hebdo came out this Wednesday with its new cover. As the Pope so rightly said (from the Philippines where he is traveling): one should not deride other people's religion. How true.