Blaming the victim

Blaming the victimA few days ago, French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo was fire-bombed. The decent part of French society condemned the terrorist attack and offered its help. Even Prime Minister François Fillon, who is politically diametrically opposed to the journal, had some nice words of support.

The picture should be very clear: we have on the one side a legitimate press organization doing its job, freely expressing opinions and thoughts. On the other hand, we have despicable terrorists who are trying to silence people through violence and fear. I for one stand with the press, against the terrorists. Sounds easy, right?

Well, apparently not. Some people got confused as to who the bad guys were. In an astounding move, a blogger at Time Magazine had these words for the journal:

do you still think the price you paid for printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring […]

not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy.

How can someone who poses as a journalist even say that? What's this guy's problem? What are we supposed to do? Let the terrorists tell us how we should live and what we're allowed to say or not say? I usually avoid swearing on these pages, but the only thing I feel like saying is: "fuck you, Bruce Crumley, you are a disgrace to your profession."

I really can't stand this revolting habit of blaming the victim. In the same way that a woman has a right to dress any way she wants without legitimizing one bit a rapist's horrendous crime, a journalist has a right to publish any opinion he holds without legitimizing any form of violence against him.

Let's also not lose sight of what Charlie Hebdo was making fun of. The "attack" (graphic and verbal, which is different from physical violence by the way) was blasphemy, which is a victimless crime. It is a foundation of our societies that we respect people more than ideas. The ideas that people should submit to a tyrant in the sky, that you can never get out of his grip under penalty of death, that little girls should be mutilated lest they later enjoy sex, or that women are worth less than men, those ideas are revolting and deserve no respect. What they deserve is precisely what Charlie Hebdo delivered: ridicule and spite.

Speaking of which:

Archived comments

  • sipke said on Friday, November 11, 2011

    What you say is perfectly common sense, and it's maddening how many people think, like the journalist you mentioned. I hope the whole world will read this post, especially the people who would agree with the journalist.
  • Ludovic said on Friday, November 11, 2011

    I'm not quite sure that blasphemy is indeed a victimless crime (this demands a lengthy debate!), but overall yes, I totally agree.